Valarie and Shane MacLennan

Valarie and Shane MacLennan

NorQuest husband and wife alumni taking knowledge to Africa

WETASKIWIN – With eight children, college studies to attend to, and needing to prepare for upcoming mission work in Africa, it’s a wonder Valarie and Shane MacLennan have time to tell their story.

So it wasn’t surprising that only one half of the Wetaskiwin husband and wife team were able to sit down for an interview to tell how their NorQuest College education will help them help others.

“My husband and I have always wanted to travel abroad and put what abilities we have to practical use,” says Valarie, 40, who with her husband will also take five of her children to Malawi in September for five months as part of a Youth with Mission team of humanitarians.

For Valarie, this will be her second such trip. A decade ago she traveled to Mexico to help build orphanages.

“When you get the bug for humanitarian work it is really hard to get out of your system,” she says.

It was also a little hard going back to school after years away from the classroom. Both MacLennans are now NorQuest alumni, having this summer finished Bio 30 upgrading classes at the Wetaskwin Campus. They leaned on each other, however, and made it through relatively easily.

“It was a blast taking a class with my husband. I recommend it highly. It was supportive; we studied together and encouraged one and another.”

They now have eyes on becoming nurses through NorQuest’s Practical Nurse diploma program. Val was ready to begin classes in September, and is currently taking an online Practical Nurse math class through NorQuest, but this opportunity of a lifetime has put those plans on hold. She will resume her nursing studies following her return to Canada.

“I am totally medically oriented,” she says, noting that she is also a sign language interpreter with a specialization in medical interpreting. “I love medicine and I love working with people.”

In Malawi, the MacLennans expect to have a host of duties from childcare to tutoring to helping build infrastructure. Both are grateful for the way their NorQuest classes will help them while in Africa and Valarie hopes to one day use her knowledge to make this type of mission work her full time work.

“My goal is to eventually join Doctors without Borders as a practical nurse.”