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Volunteer finds fulfillment in medical project one patient at a time   (published in Tanzania)

April 12, 2013 by   Comments(0)

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“I wanted to contribute something valuable and try to help parts of society that are less fortunate than others,” says Hazel Keegan.

Hazel (34), a native of Ireland, is currently living and working in London. She wanted to volunteer in a field outside of her career scope, so she signed up for a medical placement with Projects Abroad, a global volunteering organization with projects all over the world.

In early April, she arrived in Arusha, Tanzania where she would spend one month volunteering at a local hospital. “The hospital is often short staffed and underequipped. Volunteers are needed to help nurses with certain tasks.”

Hazel had the opportunity to work in the surgical, medical and physiotherapy departments. Her responsibilities included paperwork, preparing patient dressings, and ordering medication and supplies.

“I learnt how hospitals really operate but also about African life and culture which I really appreciated. I feel like I made a difference to 2 or 3 patients by being able to dedicate time to them.”

One patient’s story had a huge impact on Hazel and motivated her to take action. Ramadhani, a young man in his early twenties, had been hit by a motorbike while working on a local bus as a conductor. He fractured his right thigh bone/femur and had multiple fractures of his left lower leg. When Hazel met him, he had already been in the hospital for five months. His femur had healed after surgery but he still had problems with his lower left leg. The bones could not knit together and required further surgery.

“Unfortunately he already owed nearly 3 million Tanzanian shillings, which was impossible for him to pay as he was so poor. He couldn’t even afford food. I had collected some donations before ...

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Volunteer finds fulfillment in medical project one patient at a time
Volunteer finds fulfillment in medical project one patient at a time

Gap Year student prepares for human rights career while volunteering abroad   (published in Tanzania)

April 12, 2013 by   Comments(0)

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Twenty year old, Anne Sofie Nielsen wanted to do more than work or travel during her gap year so after graduating from Silkeborg Gymnasium, she signed up to volunteer with Projects Abroad.

She began her stint in Arusha, Tanzania volunteering for one month in a local orphanage followed by two months with the human rights project.

“I worked at an NGO called Inherit Your Rights, which works with Maasai widows. It is a very new NGO and therefore it is still working on setting up a bunch of different projects and needs all the help it can get.”

Sophie lived with a Tanzanian host family and reported to work five days a week to the Inherit Your Rights (IYR) office.

“I mainly worked on the Micro-finance project, where we helped the widows make greeting cards to sell. Twice a week we would go to a Maasai village called Kyoga, to manage, supervise and assist the widows making the cards. I would then organize and set up the stand at a community fair once a month.”

The volunteers also visited the Maasai Village of Monduli to conduct interviews with the widows and find out if they needed assistance. “During one of our visits to Monduli, one of the Maasai men working with us gave a lecture to the widows about their rights. When he was done, one of the widows started crying because she realized how easy it is for them to get help, with our help. That made me realize that the lectures, booklet and curriculum we have made during my time there is going to make a huge difference once we get them distributed out. And the radio scripts that they are working on now will as well.”

When she was not in the field, Anne would engage in political research to find out if international funding was available to the ...

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Gap Year student prepares for human rights career while volunteering abroad
Gap Year student prepares for human rights career while volunteering abroad

The Beginning of an Adventure of a Lifetime!   (published in Tanzania)

April 12, 2013 by   Comments(7)

Hello all my readers, both current and future. Firstly, a little bit of back ground information:

For those who don’t know me, my name is Megan and I am from Brisbane, Australia. Growing up with a strong family influence of nursing, I always knew that it was something that I wanted to pursue when I got older. I remember when I was a child nights when I couldn’t get to sleep, I would spend what seemed like hours creating the scenarios in my head where I was a nurse in a busy hospital. Of course I always was the one that was saving the day. As I got older and was a senior in high school I made sure I picked the subjects that would help to guarantee my place at university to study nursing. I passed with flying colours through senior year and when university offers came out I was pleased to discover I was accepted to study nursing. After three long years and countless late nights the night before an assignment was due (thanks for the understanding Mom, who is also a nurse), finally I was finished my degree and was now a qualified Registered Nurse.

This was fantastic! I would get a job and life would be fantastic! However, I was sorely mistaken. I was sadly one of thousands of nurses in Queensland that wasn’t able to secure a graduate nursing position due to cuts to the public health sector. I thought it was all over. All that studying and there was nothing more that I could do get a job as a nurse. Every place that I had applied to all wanted the same thing, experience. I continued working in my retail position at the local Woolworths and waited for the next intake for graduate nurses. I must say though I was the best first-aid attendant they had!

Volunteering in another country was something that I had always wanted to do. The idea of going to ...

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The Beginning of an Adventure of a Lifetime!
The Beginning of an Adventure of a Lifetime!

An update from Arusha   (published in Tanzania)

April 12, 2013 by   Comments(0)

This last week came with a few challenges. On friday, I went to town to withdraw money. Apparently, someone else wanted money as well. So, to make a long story short: the wallet didn't come home with me. The same thing had happened with my phone the week before. 

After making loads of phone calls to banks, offices and parents, my dad managed to transfer some money for me to get at a local bank. So I should be covered for a while at least. Hopefully, I'll get a new Visa Card soon-ish as well.

The following working day after the incident, I went with one of the PA-dudes to report the missing wallet to the local police-office. I got some forms to fill, asking for relevant information like name, age and religious belief...  After finishing this, I returned to the Projects Abroad office. When I asked them to scan the form and sent it to my insurance-company, they told me that they would wait with doing this until just before I am ready to leave Tanzania. "That way, we can collect all the reports and send them in at once". I really don't hope there will be a need for that.

I've been sleeping a lot after coming down from Kili, which has been really good. When my muscles stopped feeling sore, it became apparent that there is some pain remaining: a toothache and a bad knee. I've been eating painkillers as if it was candy, and are still awaiting for the pain to go away.  Since I've been lucky enough to get to see a couple of hospitals here,  I don't really consider visiting one for consultation as an option. At least not as an other option than the last one available. So, at the moment I've got the same walking-style as a pirate with a wooden leg. (Gahr?) I'm hoping that time will serve as the right medicine for my body! 


I've also come to a point ...

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An update from Arusha
An update from Arusha

First days at La Ligue   (published in Togo)

April 12, 2013 by   Comments(5)

Yesterday, I spent the morning at La Ligue Togoalise des Droits de l'Homme reading up on the current situation in Togo.  After a lunch break, I returned to La Ligue to observe a press conference involving two groups,'Sauvons Togo' and the coalition 'Arc en Ciel'.  

Just for a bit of background, the current government held Togo's first free election in 2006, and won. However, the question of whether it was truly 'free' has been disputed.  'Arc en Ciel' is a coalition of all the opposition parties, who have come together to try to make a difference in Togo.  I met some of the leaders of these parties, and also a civil servant who worked for the UN and spends his time travelling between Paris and Togo.  The topic of the conference was the current government's proposed census, and how the way they're planning to do it is a bit dodgy.  Arc en Ciel want to change the way the census is being collected, and also encourage people to take part in it so it ends up being truly respresentative (I think anyway - my French is a bit dodgy)!

The politicians I saw yesterday were truly charismatic and truly passionate about making a positive difference to the lives of the citizens of Togo.

Today, I have returned to La Ligue to continue with my research into the state of human rights in Togo. On Monday, I will start my placement properly.  I'm not 100% sure what I'll be doing, but my experience so far suggests it will be exciting!

The change in climate has hit me properly over the past couple of days and I've been a bit poorly, but I seem to be getting better.

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First days at La Ligue
First days at La Ligue

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