Peggy Barnes

The Chinese Connection

After being told, “You’re stupid and incapable of achieving anything,” by her ex-husband, Peggy decided she would do something different.
“But what?” she asked herself and set off for the public library where she searched all the agencies and charities who were looking for volunteers. Peggy decided that Voluntary Service Overseas had the best philosophy that was in alignment with her own.
Having passed the application process, she was delighted and overwhelmed at the prospect of what she was about to embark on. Little did she know the challenges that lay ahead, the depression she would suffer and the living quarters she would have to endure.
Peggy’s nursing experience in the UK led her role in China to progress into teaching medical English to Chinese doctors in Xiaguan, in the province of Yunnun, which directly translates to: ‘South of the Clouds.’ Tucked away in the south west corner of China she discovered a desperate need for education and awareness of HIV and AIDS.
After her initial culture shock in China, she travelled to surrounding countries in south east Asia and enjoyed discovering and learning about other cultures and local traditions. Three years later she returned home, her project continued in her absence by a young motivated Chinese doctor who went on to run The Peggy Health Centre, an HIV and AIDS clinic in Dali city.
Despite everything, she faced every challenge head on, appeared on National Chinese Television and won an award from the Governor of the Province of Yunnan followed by an MBE for the Most Excellent Order of British Empire presented by his Royal Highness Prince Charles for her efforts in raising awareness and education of HIV in the Dali prefecture, China.
317 printed pages
Original publication



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