Trayle Kulshan's job often takes her into the jungle, and not the concrete kind. Sometimes her "office" is a desert. She's been rewarded for her work with the gift of a goat, and she's taken a live chicken for a bike ride home for supper.
In Afghanistan, she found joy in breathtaking, 360-degree views of mountains and warm welcomes from refugees. Some she helped bring water for almond and apricot crops, and for others returning home after having escaped to Pakistan she helped install hand-pump wells and latrines.
"I get to walk around, climb hills, talk to people, and camels have become my favorite animal," said Kulshan, a 1993 graduate of Beaufort High School. "The animals are as important as water for humans."
For the past seven years, Kulshan has worked as a professional humanitarian aid worker and used her engineering skills and water quality expertise to take adventures that have changed her life and the lives of others.
After graduating from Clemson University with a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering and her master's degree at Stanford University in hydrogeology, Kulshan worked for two years in the Peace Corps in West Africa where she taught women about health issues, vaccinations, nutrition, HIV and AIDS.
After the Peace Corps, Kulshan found a job with Action Against Hunger, a global humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger. Her work then became more specialized in water sanitation and public health.
"I had always wanted to see other places, but had not really thought of it as a career," said Kulshan, 35. "I didn't know it existed as a career until after I got my agricultural engineering degree."
Kulshan was not aware she could find a paying job doing this work.
"It is a way to make a living -- enough that you can live and they cover your travel when you are on a job."
ACTION AGAINST HUNGER
Working with Action Against Hunger since early 2005, she's helped install wells in drought-stricken Northeastern Kenya.
"Trayle has been an invaluable member of Action Against Hunger's teams, working in some of the most difficult and dangerous environments in the world," said Susannah Masur, communications officer for Action Against Hunger, referring to the 4,000 children who die from preventable water-related diseases each day.
Kulshan's first assignment with Action Against Hunger was to provide water to a community in a jungle in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
"You can not drive there. You have to fly. There simply is no road. Flying low, in an overloaded plane, you can see that the jungle is just impenetrable. ... What changed me is that we did get the job done," she said.
"Every time we ran into a problem (example, there is no road) we overcame it."
WILLING TO ADAPT
Kulshan left last week from her father's house in California for a three-month job with UNICEF in Haiti.
"You learn to adapt and be OK with whatever you've got," said Kulshan, who, when stateside, savors eating raw oysters and appreciates the independence of driving a car without security issues. When not on a mission, Kulshan spends time visiting relatives, including her mom, Cyndi Follrich, of St. Helena Island and sister, Alta Shishunee, and uncle Bob Hartzog of Beaufort.
Kulshan is modest about her work.
"While our goals are indeed lofty and altruistic, we are simply professionals putting our skills to work like the rest of the world," she said. "The difference for me, is that I love my job," Kulshan said.
"My most rewarding project was when I got to come back to a project three years later, to see the project still working after difficulties. That is the most rewarding type of work, not because of anything I did especially, but because the community came together to solve their own problem."
PORTER'S CHAPEL AME CHURCH
Porter's Chapel AME Church will sponsor a yard and bake sale at 8 a.m. today at 1515 Old Shell Road in Port Royal. A pulpit set and pews will be for sale.
MAYE RIVER BAPTIST CHURCH
Maye River Baptist Church in Bluffton will host a 1950s-themed Fifth Sunday Social at 6 p.m. Sunday. Everyone is invited to dress in '50s-style clothing and bring cars from that era. Enjoy food, games and testimonies. The church is at 3507 Okatie Highway in Bluffton (next to Parker's and Wendy's).
UNITY IN ACTION FELLOWSHIP OF CHURCHES
Unity In Action Fellowship of Churches will hosts its Fifth Sunday Fellowship Church services at 11 a.m. Sunday at Servants of God International Outreach Tabernacle, 2754 Trask Parkway, Grays Hill (at the light). Member churches are Church of the Harvest Apostolic, Apostle Jerome Middleton, pastor; Servants of God International Outreach Tabernacle, the Rev. Jacqueline G. Harley, pastor; and Revelatory Ministries, Pastor Calvin Mikell.
Details:843-846-6017, 843-838-2889, 843-575-0143
UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP OF BEAUFORT
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
of Beaufort presents "Standing on the Side of Love" presented by Barbara Banus and Helen Roper at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Wardle Family YMCA, Port Royal. The program is a public advocacy campaign that seeks to harness love's power to stop oppression.
CAMPBELL CHAPEL AME CHURCH
The Men's Day Banquet to honor the Rev. I.W. Wilborn, former pastor, educator, humanitarian and civic leader, is at 6 p.m. Sunday at Campbell Chapel AME Church. Judge Daniel Martin will speak. Tickets are $39 a person. A special Men's Day service begins at 10 a.m. Sunday. The church is at 25 Boundary St., Bluffton.
Details: Lee Smalls, 843-757-4411; James Gillard, 843-705-2183
CARTERET STREET UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Carteret Street United Methodist Church will offer a community worship service at 8:15 a.m. Sunday at Lowcountry Produce, 1919 Trask Parkway, U.S. 21, Lobeco.
Details: 843-524-3841, email@example.com
THE PARISH CHURCH
OF ST. HELENA
St. Helena Preschool and Kindergarten has limited space available for the 2010-11 school year which begins Sept. 8. The school is at 507 Newcastle St., Beaufort. Programs are available for children ages 6 months to 5 year old. To arrange a school visit or if you have any questions, contact Addy Jo Hofmann, preschool director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 843-522-1712, ext. 223; or Roz Dixon, nursery director, at email@example.com or 843-522-1712, ext. 220.
LUNCH HOUR OF POWER
The Rev. Joe L. Simmons, associate minister at the Faith Memorial Baptist Church will speak from noon to 12:45 p.m. Wednesday at the Lunch Hour of Power in Helen Galloway's Memorial Chapel of Chisholm Galloway Home for Funerals, 808 Bladen St., Beaufort.
FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH
First Christian Church of Shell Point will hold a special memorial service to honor the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, at 11 a.m. Sept. 5.
Details: 843-525-6159, 843-525-1271