Former President George W Bush worked alongside other volunteers in Kabwe , Zambia’s second largest city to renovate a health clinic which specializes in the early detection and treatment of cervical cancer.
“You are with the former president. But I want to come here as, as a labor. I do want to be able to say that on this particular trip that, that myself and friends have left behind the clinic and hopes to inspire others to come and refurbish clinics as well.”
Mr. Bush is helping lead the fight against cervical cancer in his post-presidential years and has so far helped raise more than $ 85 million.
But he is a reluctant public spokesman for the cause and says he would prefer to contribute outside the media spotlight.
“Well, I hope you won’t see much of that because I don’t want to be in the news. And I believe that quiet service is the best kind of service.”
In Zambia Mr. Bush and his wife Laura also visited an orphanage where many of the children were born with HIV. The children are alive today because of President Bush’s 2003 AIDs Initiative in Africa that provided billions of dollars for retroviral drugs and treatment.
It is an emotional tour full of hugs and picture taking.
“I believe freedom is important for peace. And I believe one aspect of freedom is people to be free from disease. And so Laura and I are very much involved in this initiative.”
While Mr. Bush may prefer that his good works go unnoticed, he is following a familiar path that has helped refurbish the public image of other recent former presidents.
Former President Bill Clinton left office under a cloud for his affair with a White House intern. But his involvement in good causes like joining former President George Hilbert Walker Bush to raise money for Asia tsunami relief in 2005 helped rehabilitate his public image.
Allan Lichtman , a History Professor at the American University notes former President Jimmy Carter was kicked out of office after one term losing the 1980 election in a landslide. But he says Mr. Carter is now held a high esteem by many for his work in promoting democracy and eradicating guinea worm disease.
“Most observers believe that he was a much more successful former President than he was President of the United States and of course he was ultimately rewarded for all of this post-presidential activity with the Nobel Peace Prize.”
In his post-presidential years, George W Bush seemed to be finding his role in “Quiet Service” and seemed generally unconcerned about his place in history.