David Witte

David Witte in Argentina 2009
David Witte in Argentina, 2009

The Wallenberg Summer Travel Fellowship allowed me to pair up with “Un Techo para mi pais-Argentina”, an NGO that works in the slums surrounding Buenos Aires, Argentina. Their aim is to provide basic housing for people living in unstable shantys, while providing social and economic programs to improve the quality of life in the developing neighborhoods. This was my first time abroad and the experience had a profound influence on my worldview. I not only learned about a different culture, but was able to see first-hand the living conditions of impoverished neighborhoods in a developing community. The fellowship lit a fire that still burns today.

Two years later, I volunteered with the Peace Corps; a 27 month commitment where one lives, learns and shares the culture in a foreign country, bringing technical knowledge and skills those who need it. I lived in the Northern Andes of Peru, working with the local health post and high schools to teach about the importance of proper hygiene, environmental stewardship and improving access to clean water. The Peace Corps has changed my life’s perspective in ways that I am still discovering today.

While the Wallenberg Fellowship was only 2 months of my life, I have no doubt that it eased me into the 2 year service that I completed in Peru. The spirit of humanitarian service is present in both organizations and I consider myself very blessed to have been able to continue the legacy of Raoul Wallenberg, which I continue to do through a life dedicated to serving those around me.