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I wanted to write a response to some of the comments I have been getting on my other blog posts. I am interested in the different attitudes towards visitors and volunteers; however, I prefer to keep all of the comments positive. It is for this reason that I wanted to create this post, to clarify some of the information about the organization I am with or my purposes here.
I came to Ghana with an interest in tropical medicine. I have mentioned previously that I wanted to pursue an internship where I could learn the most in this area with the ultimate goal being to become a better student and the best doctor I can be. That being said, I am still a student and cannot make any long term commitments to staying and volunteering here for an extended period of time. That is my long term goal; however, it is unfair to say that volunteers like me are not welcome because we are only here for six weeks. It is not only expensive for me to be here, but I am constricted by my academic year as well which makes an extended stay here impossible. Also, I am only here short term now not on some “voluntourism” project as it has been crudely put but instead to improve the quality of healthcare I will someday provide while on a long term project.
That being said there were also comments about how frequent my blog posts are and that I should spend more time being involved in the culture, which made it evident that I have no been clear about how my time has been allocated here. First, my blog posts are written during the half hour periods I have scheduled before I go to bed each night to minimize the amount of time I spend at the internet cafes. Because they are prewritten, it takes me less than twenty minutes to leave a post and read the comments. Cumulatively I spend under ...
So the operation theater is totally living up to expectations so far, so much so that I am going back tomorrow instead of going on outreach and staying in there next week as well. We began our day on Monday waiting for the anesthesiologists to finish a meeting. While we waited the surgeon explained to us that he works seven days a week and has no hours, but instead he must complete a certain number of surgeries before he can go home. He walked into the prep room and looked at the four women awaiting their procedures and immediately commented on how fat they are and made a joke about how difficult it would be to feed them in the ward. Over the weekend I was looking at a painting of a Ghanaian woman that one of the street vendors had created of a large woman, with a thick bone structure and strong curves. He explained that in America they view fat women as unattractive, whereas here men like it when woman are fat because to them it is a sign of fertility. So, when the surgeon entered Monday morning and called the four women fat according to Ghanaian culture he was actually extending them a compliment, which was really awesome.
I had noticed what the painter was talking about many times throughout my stay here. I have a very healthy appreciation for the bodies of the Ghanaian women. Most of them are much taller than women in the states, and their arms are also longer, with very large hands. Nearly all of the women have impeccable posture and are very strong. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that they carry such heavy burdens on their heads. Many of the younger ladies who sell things from baskets on their heads need someone to put it up there because they cannot lift it themselves. The Ghanaian women also have the most perfect complexions I have ever seen. They ...
Mes sept semaines au Togo s’achèveront dans quatre jours.
Le temps, qui pendant la première semaine paraît ne jamais vouloir passer, est filé à partir de la deuxième. Vendredi soir je reverrai l'Europe, je ne me couvrirai pas le corps de produits anti-moustiques et je re-changerai l'heure: deux heures à l'avance, cette fois.
Cette expérience a été enrichissante, un défi sous tous les aspects. Il est limitatif d'essayer de la définir avec un ou deux adjectifs, il vaut mieux d'en parler en liberté, sans trop y penser, on verra quelles réflexions en dériveront.
Innombrables les difficultés initiales, même pour une personne, comme moi, habituée à voyager, à faire face aux nouveautés et aux défis et à ne pas se décourager.
Une fois faite l'habitude aux embouteillages perpétuels en taxi-moto (quoi? le seul moyen pour se déplacer à Lomé est de bondir sur une moto de cross conduite par un inconnu – après avoir passé 10 minutes de ta vie à négocier le prix, bien entendu … Sérieux?), une fois apprise la bonne technique pour enlever le sable de mes vêtements et de tous les orifices de mon corps chaque soir au retour du service, et une fois accepté, d'une façon qu'on pourrait euphémiquement définir consentante, mon nouveau ...
Before deciding to do a care project in Romania I couldn’t have told you where it was on a map. I was that small town girl who didn’t really know anything about Romania other than that it was a part of Europe. You know how they say hind sight is 20x20? Well they are right! Looking back now I can’t believe that I thought that one month would be enough.
When I arrived, Alex was there to meet me and we drove from Bucharest to Brasov in what seemed to be record time! I was so surprised at how much the landscape resembled the landscape of home (minus the mountains) and realizing this I wasn’t so nervous to arrive in Brasov anymore.
Brasov has that small town feel that I love even though it is by no means a small town. My housemates were kind enough to take me out my first night and that was when I knew I was in trouble. Comparing the dollar to the lei everything was very cheap and for that first week there was a disconnection between the fact that I was NOT dealing in dollars but in lei! A bit of advice to future volunteers bring more money than you think you will need. Yes the book says that you can survive on $50 to $60 dollars a week but those figures are only true if you don’t buy any food or bus tickets or phones or taxis…..long story short….bring lots of money.
The first day of my placement was the mind blowing kind of day. I got the bus to this supermarket called ‘Profi‘ and from there, we took these “taxis” (I use the word loosely) to Tarlungeni. Another piece of advice regarding the taxis…don’t be afraid to say NO…some of the drivers are pretty…interesting so if you would rather wait, DO….your family will thank you.
Arriving at the orphanage I didn’t ...
When I first got in touch with the Romanian team in Brasov to assist me with planning my 2 months trip, I was so happy, as they communicated with me regularly to step by step plan my trip and arrange my placements.
Before I landed in Bucharest I was quires what will be the country like & how different it will be from Moldova & Romania as before I arrived to Romania I was in Moldova for a different Project. When Alex picked me up from the Bucharest Airport with his chic BMW, I was very much impressed to see the Romanian mountains & the forests, when we drove past all the beautiful green environments. When I saw these small beautiful villages & green fields on the way to Brasov, I already started to fell in love with Romania & I said to myself that I would for sure have a holiday in Romania & I would want to come to this amazing country more often.
When I met the Project Abroad team for the induction, I felt so relived because there is more than one person working within the team & everyone is so helpful, friendly. If, at any point I needed any kinds of assistance, one the team members would be straight away willing to help me out & provide the best solution to make feel happy within Brasov.
During the couple of months that I have stayed in Brasov, with the help of my supervisor, Alexandra Ichim, I have managed to work with three different Business placements & was able to set up a Marketing Strategy workshop that I always wanted to provide to students. Project Abroad has got a basket full of placements as there will always be different kinds of choices that would suit everyone.
During these couple of months that I have lived in Brasov I have had many opportunities to visit different parts of Romania & experience the different cultures of Romanian ...
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