Take a pin, stick it in a map of the world and chances are Simin Marefat has been there. A San Francisco nurse and health care volunteer, she's been to 62 countries - mostly in the Third World. She's fed children and changed diapers in Rwandan orphanages. Delivered babies in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Educated sex workers on HIV prevention in Thailand. Vaccinated children in Pakistani refugee camps. Taught EKG and the care of open-heart patients in her native Iran.
"I've traveled the world by myself," says Marefat, who lived in Iran until age 11. "A Middle Eastern woman does not do that."
"She's unstoppable," says her brother Bobby, an ophthalmologist in Topeka, Kan. "Do I worry about her? Yes. Do I try to talk her out of it? Absolutely not, because this is what she loves - it gets her juices flowing."
Usually she travels alone and plans nothing in advance. "I would just go and I'd be like, 'I'm a nurse practicing in the United States. I'm here to offer my services.' And they would put me to work."
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h/t to: Frida