Monday, March 14, 2016
This trip has been interesting so far to say the least. I've never had any travel take as much of a toll on me physically before. I'm still quite jet lagged and tired most days. The plane trips themselves were the most extensive that I've ever experienced.
I remember a fellow UBCO student doing an international exchange from Madagascar telling me that it took him 2 days of travel in order to reach home. I nonchalantly told him that 2 days didn't sound so bad. I now understand his hesitation at making the trek home for winter/Christmas break.
It's both intimidating and exciting to be here. I find it amazing that society still thrives here with such obvious environmental challenges. Malaria, the tse tse fly, hippos, and water communicable diseases all seem so foreign to my Canadian sensibilities. This gives me a new perspective on my ability to simply jump into any body of water I see in Canada and call it a vacation. But I also see that it's because life thrives here that there are so many hardships. Competition between living things for all the lush resources here is the reason for so much disease and danger.
Approaching people here is very different from my expectations. I was expecting to experience hostility due to my skin color as well as a sort of white guilt but I've seen exactly the opposite. I find it amazing given Europe's historical exploitation of these lands that the general population will still smile at a white guy. I suppose that I think too much about these things. I should strive to adopt the carefree attitude of the local populace. There's so much singing and dancing. A lot of joy exists here.
In terms of healthcare I can already feel a gratitude for the development of North American health care.The hospital is just not equipped to that standards I'm accustomed to. However, I'm glad to hear from Jessica that the conditions have been slowly improving throughout here years working here. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour we were given of the save a life center. This religiously founded organization really does seem to be providing excellent orphanage, school and pediatric undernourishment services. It's shocking to meet a 17 year old boy who looks around the age of 13.
I'm nervous for my rotation on the pediatric unit. This field has never been my passion but I'll do my best. I think I'll really enjoy distributing the supplies that were fund raised for play therapy. I can definitely see the need for adqequate play therapy. It's tough to develop emotionally when undernourished or sick. I know for a fact that I'm particularly grumpy when I miss a meal. I can't imagine experiencing this feeling with any frequency during my childhood.