Student Highlight: Christina Foust

CHRISTINA FOUST

An Inspiring Leader

Submitted by Suzanne Zuppello, 05/14/2010

I first had the privilege of meeting Christina Foust at the beginning of March 2010 when she traveled here as co-president of UNC Water Brigades. From the first few moments in the airport, I knew Christina was an excellent leader as I saw her group feeding off of her contagious energy and enthusiasm, even though she was just about to embark on a six-hour drive from San Pedro Sula to Tegucigalpa. One could easily see that Christina had prepared her group to the best of her ability, even making sure there was a team cheer to keep morale high—Equipo! Agua! Amistad!

Christina’s involvement with Global Brigades was sparked when a professor brought up the opportunity of a Medical Brigade with UNC during the summer of 2009. She says, “At the time, I had never been out of the country and was interested in a career in healthcare… so I thought ‘Why not?’ and I turned in my money.” During her week here in Honduras, she learned about other opportunities offered by Global Brigades, which pushed her to start Water Brigades on her campus. Pushing through difficulties of fundraising and travel arrangements, as well as making sure the group felt comfortable with the trip, Christina and her co-president Liza Rathbun successfully organized and completed a Water Brigade with 12 other students from UNC. As a veteran of Medical Brigades, the biggest difference Christina noticed in the two programs is that with Water, “you’re working in one community so you get to know the people and see how your project is going to impact their daily lives.” From a coordinator’s perspective, I could tell that the community members wouldn’t have been bothered if we left Christina behind one day. She was constantly running around with the kids and making jokes with the men working alongside the group.

In a conversation with Christina a few weeks ago, she shared with me what keeps her coming back to Honduras with Global Brigades. “Some of the funniest and weirdest people go on brigades and seeing them all work together to improve the lives of so many just makes me so giddy.” This is something that GB in fact prides itself on—bringing together groups of individuals of all different shapes, sizes, colors, creeds, and codes to bring their personal touch to a collective development project.

In March, Christina truly inspired me as a leader and I wished I could spend more time with her. Later that month, the perfect opportunity arose to bring her back to Honduras. Water Brigades reached a point where more help was needed during Brigade seasons and I offered a two-month volunteer opportunity to Christina, who immediately turned down other job offers and jumped at the chance.

I am completely confident that the next two months will go swimmingly with her help and although Christina is unsure where the future will take here, I have no doubts that she will go on to do great things in this world.

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Sue

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