Fans of high adventure can follow the real-life exploits this summer of another explorer named Jones.
Readers can share in the experiences of University of Houston-Victoria senior Karalyn Jones as she spends the summer in Uganda, a war-torn country in central Africa, through her blog, Jones' Journey, at www.uhv.edu/jonesjourney
"This is the adventure of a lifetime," the 22-year-old education major said. She will leave on Wednesday for eight weeks in Africa, where she will live out of a 30-pound backpack. While she will have few comforts, she will have Internet access to keep people back home updated about her exciting trip.
Jones will travel with Operation Crossroads Africa, an international organization that predates the Peace Corps, to help build a facility for special-needs children and work with a local aid organization to provide vocational training.
While there, she also will conduct field research on the unique challenges the country faces in implementing universal education as part of a UHV independent studies class.
"Everyone speaks English, but it is no one's native language," Jones said. Educators face the challenge of teaching students in an environment where some 60 unique languages are commonly spoken.
"A real public school system offers a chance for all children to learn something other than the brutality of warfare," she said, noting children are often used as soldiers in the 22-year-old civil war.
Jones will live outside of Mbale, the second largest city in Uganda, in a compound owned by the Foundation for the Development of Needy Communities, the local organization with which Jones will be working.
"We are going to be living in conditions similar to those of the Ugandans," she said. "We want to live their lives and walk in their world."
Her research may be published in a scholarly journal after she returns Aug. 11.
"It's our goal at UHV to produce graduates prepared to make a difference anywhere in the world," UHV President Tim Hudson said. "Karalyn Jones serves as a great example of what our students can achieve. As someone who studies world cultures, I look forward to reading her blog during her journey."
Jones will receive her bachelor's degree in December from the School of Education & Human Development. UHV donated $1,100 to support Jones on her adventure.
Readers can post messages to Jones on the blog or contact her directly at Karalyn.Jones@gmail.com.