Thursday, February 24, 2011

To Communicate Without Language

I've had some amazing experiences over the last couple of weeks and have worked with some fabulous professionals who do incredible things with the few resources they have. I'm learning a ton and while it's difficult at times, I wouldn't trade my experiences for anything in the world.

Last week I was out at Mutoya Camp. While there I got to help teach in the school: hand washing, teeth brushing and a little bit of music. The children are adorable and were definitely a highlight of my week. I got to help with a feeding clinic for malnourished infants and todlers which meant that I got to teach the moms about why babies cry and play peek-a-boo/make faces with the little ones. I also had the opportunity to do home visits. It was great to see everyday life and what it looks like here, I was also a little spoiled.

While at the camp I worked with individuals who could translate from Lozi to English for me so I was able to ask health questions, to teach and to connect. This week has been a lot more difficult. This week I'm in the ART (Anti-Retroviral Therapy) clinic, an area of the hospital that is packed starting at 08h00 every weekday. Everyone starts with their vitals being taken before continuing on for assessments, blood work, consults and medications for the coming days. I started off doing vitals. I've been taking vitals since first year, so the skill itself wasn't difficult, but it was difficult not understanding what my patients were telling me when I said "good morning" and they went into a big monologue. It was difficult wanting to connect with people and not really knowing how. It was difficult to be missing the stories and the art of nursing which I love, and having to find new and different ways to connect. Not only am I learning a lot about a disease I've rarely seen before now, but I'm learning to transcend an incredibly large language barrier. Recent cab rides and waiting for friends have turned into meeting new friends and having Lozi lessons. Eventually I hope to be able to say more than "Netewmezi" and "Mosile shwani."

Jess W

1 comment:

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