I grew up outside of Reading, Pennsylvania near the Pennsylvania Dutch (German) communities. It was hard to imagine another world beyond that region. After high school, I went to the Methodist Hospital School of Nursing in Philadelphia and then to Lebann Valley College in Annville for a bachelor's degree. As the autumn of 1969 approached, I was preparing to go abroad as a missionary nurse for the United Methodist Church assigned to the Chicuque Hospital in the Inhambane District of Mozambique. First, I had to learn Portuguese and stayed in Lisbon for nearly a year working on the language and waiting for a visa.
The most dramatic adjustment was learning to live with secret police, being followed and censorship of all correspondence. These policies and practices were common in Portugal, Mozambique and Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
In the summer of 1970, I arrived in Africa and worked in Mozambique, Swaziland and Rhodesia. It was a time of tremendous turmoil with rebel movements fighting for freedom. By 1974 , the fighting had intensified to such an extent that I was recalled to the United States.
In January, 1975 I began working as a pediatric nurse practitioner at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Soon I began studying for a master's degree in public health. While in Baltimore, I met my husband, John Mandelbaum and we married on New Year's Day 1977.
In 1986, I completed my PhD at Georgia State University with a focus on international and comparative education. Soon, I was working for one of The Johns Hopkins University's international programs called, JHPIEGO. I also taught in the graduate nursing program at the University of Maryland and began freelance work in international health. I developed projects for USAID programs, Project Hope and the Peace Corps.
In 2000, we retired and moved to Taos, New Mexico. (The photo to the left is my backyard.) I never imagined that I would become an author, but life offers interesting options and I respond to the possibilities. Living in Taos gave me the opportunity to begin writing and I started with experiences in Mozambique. More recently, I have examined the lives of women in biblical times prompted by the experience of teaching a seminar, "Churches in Solidarity with Women" for Schools of Mission for the United Methodist Women. The first work to come of this this exploration is Daphne and Thekla and the story of another woman from ancient times is waiting to be developed.