MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - A Mount Pleasant nurse has traded life in suburbia for the bush of Africa. Rosetta Swinton left her East Cooper home, heading to Central Africa, intending to stay two years. Now, four years have passed. During her brief visit back in the United States this month, Swinton explains how her childhood in a very different Mount Pleasant gives her hope for change in Africa.
Swinton shows pictures of the cornfields where she walks each morning to her job as a school nurse in the African country of Malawi. The former MUSC nurse says the call to serve took her to Africa. Across the globe, thousands of miles from her family, Swinton found life in this African nation wasn't that foreign. "For me, that was a normal way of life as a child right in Mount Pleasant," Swinton said.
Growing up in the Phillips community off Highway 41, Swinton was the fourth of twelve children. She recalls getting bare necessities back then required hard work. "Pumping water, going into the woods to get firewood to be able to cook or even warm ourselves, as a child that was a normal way of life for me, " Swinton explained. That's the life she found in Malawi, where the women walk for miles to get water and gather fire wood before they start their work days.
Scenes of this tough existance were brought to living rooms across the country in the CBS hit show "Amazing Race." The contestants in the show explain that life in Malawi makes them appreciate their lives in the United States. Scenes in the program show bicycle taxis, the same transportation Swinton says she relies on to work her many missions. She's established the first AME church in Malawi's largest commercial city.
It seems Malawi, not Mount Pleasant, is Swinton's home now. Through example, she's empowering women to go back to school, helping orphan children to continue their educations and is working to protect the elderly in a culture where the old are often accused of witchcraft. Encouraged by small changes, she's committed to serving the people there. "When I am finished, I will return to South Carolina," she says, "but I need to be there to help them."