I am very excited to be posting one of the first blog post of many as one of the UBCO nursing students traveling to Zambia this March. I can say that on behalf of the Zambia group, we are all getting very excited that our journey begins in just 18 days! I wanted to take this time to blog about the exciting work UBCO nursing students have been doing this past week here in Canada. As global nurse citizens, we are passionate about global health and we know that global health awareness starts here in our local community. Therefore, when the opportunity to participate in the annual Global School House Event was presented to us we could not pass it by! The Global School House Event, has been hosted by the Global Citizens Club of Kelowna, with the purpose of educating grade six students about the how the social determinants prevent many children from accessing education around the world. As nursing students, we had the opportunity to participate in the "I'm too sick to go to school" station. At this station, we dressed up and act as village people, medical doctors, and malaria the mosquito. As actors in our roles, we take the students through different scenarios in our village that expose the students to many health challenges that people experience around the world- challenges such as malnutrition, malaria, dirty drinking water and limited medical resources. The students are given resource cards at the beginning of the skit with a disease and a country which they come from- these corresponding with points. At the end of the skit the students are asked to add up their cards and those with a certain number of points are permitted to go to school while many of the students are told they are just too sick to go to school. The skit is very much like a game to the children and many of them feel like they "won "if they are told they are too sick to go to school. After the skit, we debrief with the students and talk to them about how children experience health around the world. For me, this is the most exciting part of the work that we are doing at the event. The students often joke around during the skit......and often times they laugh at their school mates who are told by the doctor that they have diarrhea. But when we talk to the students about how diarrhea kills children around the world every day, you can see the surprising reaction on the students faces. I could tell that many of them did not realize that such a preventable illness in Canada can kill many people around the world. Many of the students are very engaged at this point in the discussion and many of them ask great questions about global health. By the end of the session, many students express thier gratitude for the health that they have, their ability to access to hospitals and the privilege it is for them to go to school.
Overall, organizing and volunteering at this event has been exhausting but it is most defiantly rewarding! Every day I have seen the great change and awareness being created among the grade six students of the Okanagan. As we approach the day to leave for our exciting Zambian adventure, I get more and more excited to be changed as well. I look forward to gaining a better understanding first-hand how health impacts the lives of those living in countries with limited resources. It is something we learn about in school, but I do not think that we really understand it until we see it ourselves! Check out our media releases on the event to learn more about the event...
Rebekah Chase :)