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Rex Putnam graduate prepares for 'crazy adventure'

Rex Putnam High School graduate Tiffany Johnson has put off plans to buy a car and go to college to embark on a yearlong trip to a small West African country.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Rex Putnam High School graduate Tiffany Johnson meets the son of a Sudanese refugee at a church camp where she made the decision to work at an Ivory Coast center for children who have mental and physical disabilities.Through a program called Journey Corps, Johnson will work at an Ivory Coast dispensary clinic and a center for children who have mental and physical disabilities.

“This is the perfect time in my life to do something like this,” she said. “I’m not stuck or committed or anything, so here’s my chance to go on a crazy adventure.”

Johnson has wanted to become a nurse since middle school. She took three years of health classes at the Sabin-Schellenberg Professional Technical Center, volunteered at the Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center in Oregon City and worked as a summer-camp medic.

Once she met the son of a Sudanese refugee at a church camp, she decided on the “immersion mission trip” to Africa. Johnson then started taking lessons in French and Jula, Ivory Coast’s colonial and native languages.

She is scheduled to depart Aug. 31 and is raising the remaining funds she needs for the trip. From 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 25, Johnson will be at Pietro’s Pizza restaurant, 10300 S.E. Main St., Milwaukie, where 20 percent of purchases starting at 11 a.m. will go toward her trip if customers mention her.

Her biggest fear in going halfway around the world concerns losing touch with her local community.

“Things will happen while I’m away that I won’t be part of,” she said. “I know it’s an irrational fear, but I still think about it.”



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