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Seattle Pacific University
Autumn 2007 | Volume 30, Number 2 | Features

Allison Hosley ’98

page 2 of 3


Allison Hosley '98
Allison Hosley '98

China, Honduras, Iraq, Darfur:
A Global Adventure

Hosley’s love for the people she serves impresses her colleagues, including Jayne Cuthbert, a nurse who worked with Hosley in North Sudan. “Allison inspired me to focus on people more, and not to be so task-focused,” recalls Cuthbert. “She also inspired me to learn Arabic, because it was so important to be able to communicate with people. I even remember the time Ali ate a fried locust — she was the only one brave enough.”

Fried locust? Hosley explains: “A big plague of locusts came through while I was in Sudan. I’ve never seen anything like it. They erupted out of a bush we were driving past, and I thought they were small birds until one hit me in the chest through my open window, and I realized it was the biggest grasshopper I’d ever seen. But they were a delicacy. People would catch them and cook them, either savory [salty] or sweet. Jayne and I and a few others went to this woman’s home, and she had prepared the sweet variety. There are things in life you just have to try. So I closed my eyes and popped it in, all in one go. Wouldn’t say I’d do it again, but I’m glad I did!”

Whether she’s eating insects, or administering vaccines against meningitis (her team vaccinated 30,000 people in South Sudan last April), Allison’s courage is relentless. It has led her from high school mission trips to professional service around the world.

The seeds of her passion were planted in Southern Oregon, where Hosley’s childhood affection for animals prompted her mother to pray that compassion would extend to suffering people as well. When Hosley joined mission trips to Mexico and South Africa during high school, the prayer was answered. She discovered a love for cross-cultural ministry, specifically through cutting-edge medical care.

After high school, she traveled to China and Beijing, studying Mandarin Chinese. At Seattle Pacific University, Hosley not only excelled in the nursing program, but she also served as a student ministry coordinator and then a residence hall ministry coordinator, sharpening her skills as a leader. Relationships formed at Seattle Pacific continue to provide her with encouragement today. “My parents’ shoulders and SPU’s shoulders — those are the shoulders I’m standing on,” she says. “That’s my foundation.”

Following advice from Seattle Pacific nursing professors, Hosley returned to Southern Oregon to gain experience as a public health worker, and she’s glad she did. It prepared her for the demands ahead:

Assistant to a cataract surgeon in Honduras in 1998. Relief worker in the same devastated, unrecognizable area after Hurricane Mitch. Humanitarian aid worker in Sierra Leone and Togo, West Africa. Medical aid worker in Iraq. One need after another, and Hosley’s passion intensified. She sensed something momentous when the telephone rang in the spring of 2004. She spoke to a representative of Medair, a non-governmental Christian organization that provides life-saving care for neglected people struggling in areas stricken by disease, violence, and environmental crises. “Would you be willing to go to Darfur?” the representative asked.

The worldwide media coverage of the crisis in Sudan had not yet begun, so many people, including Hosley, were not familiar with the place. “Where is that?” she asked.

The representative described Darfur’s location within the country of Sudan. She explained that Medair had sent a team there in 2001 to address the need for primary health care, which was severe due to drought. But since then, conditions had become unstable due to the increasing civil war. They knew her skills, and they needed her help.

Hosley took a deep breath. “I’m ready.”

Her decision led to relief work in West Darfur from 2004 to 2006. When she returned to the United States in 2006 for six months, she made a November visit to SPU and described her experiences to students, inspiring some of them to send a wave of letters to their senators about the crisis in Darfur. Then she returned to serve with an Emergency Response Team (ERT) in South Sudan in February 2007, and moved on to the Kaabong area of Uganda in June 2007.

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PRM agrees with most yourng artisits who describe photography as both empowering and dangerous for street-involved youth. It may strengthen their identity, but at the high cost of vunerability. Hosley collects water for testing from a Medair "water point" (a borehole and a hand pump in Uganda.

For more photos, visit the Photography Gallery.