Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

June 4, 2013

Volunteering Abroad Woman proves age knows no bounds

Sydney Kling spent the early part of her retirement like many others do — volunteering. She just did it in South Africa.

Kling spoke to members of the Effingham community Monday on her experience in the Peace Corps from 2001 through 2003.“I dearly, dearly love to talk about my experiences,” she said as she opened up her speech at Helen Matthes Library. “I could talk all the way from 10 minutes to 20 hours.”At the age of 67, Kling arrived in Siayabuswa Township in early July 2001 after getting her children's blessing. The idea of joining the Peace Corps actually appealed to her decades earlier in 1963, but by that time she had married and had children. So, she shelved her dream.When Kling rekindled the dream decades later, she was convinced her age would be a strike against her.“They won't take me, I'm too old,” she remembers thinking. “It (being an older volunteer) was unique back then.”To her surprise, the organization sent her the application and started her on the nine-month paperwork process.When asked where she wanted to go, the retired nurse didn't care. She just wanted to go “someplace exciting.”Kling turned down an opportunity to teach breastfeeding to new mothers in China.“I can't think of anything more boring,” she confided, so her next option was working toward education and prevention of HIV and AIDS in South Africa, which she accepted.“For me as a nurse, it's just another disorder,” she said of HIV and AIDS. “It's just another problem ... I can learn.”Kling found South Africa quite different from her expectations — lions were a rare sight, and the terrain was dry.She was able to observe coming-of-age rituals for boys and girls, and while they were unconventional through American eyes, she saw the unique beauty in the traditions.But while there were many parties celebrating sexuality, there was little education on sex and sexually transmitted diseases, and Kling had to correct common misconceptions on occasion.To educate natives, Kling started a support group, beginning with less uncomfortable topics, such as diabetes and hypertension, communicable diseases, diet and high blood pressure before later introducing STDs, HIV and AIDS.More than 50 people attended all of the eight lectures, held outside and in schools, garages and hospitals.Kling documented her experiences in a journal that she then published as a book titled “Inside Outside,” and handed out copies to all in attendance. The library also received a copy and will put the book in circulation.Proceeds from the book have gone back to the community Kling served in. She has since visited twice, but says her 2008 trip was her last.Library information desk assistant Joanna Davies also served in the Peace Corps, shortly after Kling's two years were up.She said the library staff had originally asked her to speak, but then located Kling and her interesting story as an older volunteer.“A lot of retired people are going into the Peace Corps these days,” Davies said. "People would be surprised.”Peggy Brayfield of Charleston related to Kling's experience. A senior herself, she said she had served in the same area in 2004, but had to return home after spraining her ankle, and was never able to make it back to South Africa.

Nicole Dominique can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, or at nicole.dominique@effinghamdailynews.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • N1312P17015C.TIF Two cents on minimum wage increase TONY HUFFMANDaily NewsA ballot measure that will give Illinois voters the opportunity to vote on a nonbinding referendum, which could lead to a $10 minimum hourly wage statewide, has brought ire by some and adoration by others.Local business advocate

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Church Briefs Centenary UMCCentenary United Methodist Church, Effingham, will host the following activities:• Sunday, July 27: Connection Time, 10 a.m.; Lavender Ridge Worship, 2 p.m.; Youth Group, 6 p.m.• Monday, July 28: Quilters, 9 a.m.• Tuesday, July 29: Brook

    July 25, 2014

  • Late-winter deer season extinct in area counties

    Hunters in Cumberland and Fayette counties may need to seek treatment for their late-winter deer fever.

    July 24, 2014

  • Late-winter deer season extinct in area counties TONY HUFFMANDaily NewsHunters in Cumberland and Fayette counties may need to seek treatment for their late-winter deer fever.Due to a strategic decrease in deer populations throughout the state, the late-winter, antlerless-only hunting season will be

    July 24, 2014

  • 7-23 crossroads walker.jpg Walking for life

    A group of nine Crossroads Walkers braved temperatures approaching 90 degrees Tuesday to walk from Greenville to Effingham as part of a cross-country walk designed to call attention to the pro-life movement..

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Concealed-Carry-Clothing-Suit-Jacket-400.jpg Concealed carry objections addressed

    In an effort to offer reasoning behind denials for concealed carry permits, Illinois State Police is assisting the Concealed Carry License Review Board in implementing additional measures to regulate the permit process.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Concealed carry objections addressed

    In an effort to offer reasoning behind denials for concealed carry permits, Illinois State Police is assisting the Concealed Carry License Review Board in implementing additional measures to regulate the permit process.

    July 22, 2014

  • Jay Miller faces more charges after alleged jailhouse attack

    An Altamont man already facing a minimum of 15 years in prison for contributing to the heroin overdose death of an Effingham woman in February could be facing even more prison time after allegedly attacking another inmate in the Effingham County Jail visitation room this past weekend.

    July 21, 2014

  • MIller, Jay C 021314.jpg Jay Miller attacks trial witness

    An Effingham County Jail inmate is facing additional charges after allegedly assaulting another inmate.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Vehicle overturns in accident on I-70

    An accident on Interstate 70 sent one driver over a guardrail and down an embankment near Altamont.

    July 20, 2014

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.