Saturday, November 14, 2015


It's funny how some people meet. Take Lia Xiong and Amanda Bartz for example! Two strangers meet on a plane and end up here in Yosemite Valley as new friends!

Lia is a nurse from Fresno, California. She works full time as a pediatric intensive care nurse and part time in adult open heart surgery. Intense! "I'm a dabbler," she says laughing. A heavy career for someone so youthful. "I look younger with my braces! You should see the look on the patients faces when I take off my mask and say, 'I'm going to be your nurse for open heart surgery' ". In this profession, you need strength, courage and a warm & friendly bedside manner. 27 year old Lia has all that and more.

At the age of 25, Lia decided to focus on looking after herself a bit more and bought a ticket to travel to Alaska. With a love of travel, she has met many people along the way. "I have come to know that people are so kind when you travel alone. Humanity is really kind".

A Wisconsin native, Amanda met Lia on an airplane. "I just need to figure out how to get to Yosemite," Amanda was telling her seat mate. With that, the friendship began. As Lia lives not far from the National Park, they went together where they stand for this photo!

Travelling to Visalia, just outside of Fresno, Amanda has come to train as a worker for the Christian organization, Students International which is based in four countries in Latin America. Amanda is raising funds to move to Costa Rica to start a community wellness programme for the prevention of disease. 

Amanda will set up her programme in Costa Rica where other students and adults from the United States can come to volunteer and work with the local community.

Doing great work for people in need comes at a price. Amanada is raising money to get herself to Costa Rica and to start the programme. If you would like to help her achieve her goals, please go to: and click on the donate button. You can then click on "staff" and find her name. Your contribution will be paid forward to many people through Amanda's work.

Meeting these two young people in a field in a national park makes one feel that the world is indeed in good hands!


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