This trip just gets more incredible as each day passes! On Monday, Cole, Marika, and I all went to work. We went to the medical ward, but when we arrived, they were hardly any patients there, so we went back to the PCU. It, too, was slow, but the atmosphere is very relaxed since the doctors there deal only with minor cases. About an hour into the day, one of the doctors invited us to observe surgery with him. We were ready to watch and take notes on the different procedures when the doctor asked me to take pictures and video the surgeries. I was shocked! I feel like I’m starting to make real progress with the doctors there if they already trust me enough to allow me to videotape them in surgery, so things are looking very promising for the rest of my time at the hospital. We left the hospital around noon to grab a quick lunch at our house before we went to the grocery store down the street to grab some food for our long journey to Adam’s Peak. Adam’s Peak is the fifth tallest summit in Sri Lanka at 2,243 m, and it has been a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists for ages. We are fortunate to be in Sri Lanka at this time because it is the 2,600th anniversary of the Buddha’s birth, death, and enlightenment (called Vesak), so do to our bit of celebrating, we climbed the mountain to witness the great beautiful sunrise under the protection of Saman, the Sri Lankan god who resides on the mountain. The three of us were picked up from our house at 2 PM, and then we drove to Panadura to pick up Tiffany, Marion, Stephanie, Cris, and Jacob. We drove for about 7 hours until we finally made it to the small village at the foot of the mountain around 9 PM. We had a quick dinner before we went to bed – for a mere 3 hours. We awoke around 1 AM, packed a bag, and set ...
It still hasn't hit me yet. It's realy wierd because I don't really feel anything yet about this trip. I am sitting in the SFO international ariport waiting for my flight to leave for Dubai and i still can't believe that i will be gone for a month. This is something that i have never done before so i don't know what to expect at all. I am hoping that this trip will be amazing and i will try to update this blog as often as i can but i promise nothing. Now i am getting on to a 15 hour flight and will post again soon.
Wow! What an incredible week I’ve had! On Wednesday, Cole and I traveled to Colombo with two other volunteers we’ve met here, Tiffany from Canada and Marion from France, and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the capital city. We arrived in Colombo around 11 AM via the bus (which I almost fell out of) and walked around the city as the girls shopped around for “sarees,” which are the local dress that the women wear here. They appear to be quite hot, yet the women swear that they stay relatively cool while wearing them. Being Westerners in a foreign country, we sought out a McDonalds for lunch and talked for a long time about life and culture in different parts of the world. After lunch, we made our way to the Majestic Shopping Mall, where we bought tons of DVDs for really cheap prices, and I tried to buy a belt buckle, but the owners of the shop refused to sell it to me unless I also purchased a belt. Cole also tried to buy the soccer jersey of his favorite British team, Arsenal, but the vendors wanted him to pay more money for it than it would have cost in America. Oh well! In the shopping mall, there was also a movie theater, so we decided to catch the new movie “Water for Elephants” starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. While I had no desire to see it, it turned out to be a very good show. Before the movie started, they began playing the Sri Lankan national anthem, which I found very odd considering the national anthem is never played back home before a movie. Before heading back to our host house in Kalutara, we stopped at Pizza Hut and had a fabulous dinner!
On Thursday, we went back to work; the patients, however, decided not to come. The PCU ...
Well I am sitting here in a bakery in downtown London and I can barely believe that life is real right now. After a tiring night of being half-asleep for 7 hours, I got off of the plane at around 920am. As I waked off I saw the signs for transfers or exiting the airport, and I struggled to decide which one to do. I could go to the terminal and work on apps for 12 hours...orrr I could go explore London for a few hours. I decided to go for it and go through customs. After customs I realized that it was going to be a major hassle to walk around with my big carry-on, so I asked around and found out that the airport has a storage place for carry-ons for just 5 pounds! I grabbed my sunglasses, waterbottle, computer, and passport and threw them in my camelback. I walked towards the trains, planning on taking taking the tube (subway), but then quickly realized that with my sense of directions I would get miserably lost and may end up missing my flight. Soo I spent the extra couple of pounds and took the express train from London Heathrow to Downtown London. After 15 minutes, I was right downtown. I asked around to find out where to go, and everyone told me to go to the Riverwalk. After some conversations with some really nice people (one lady from Philadelphia!), I got my day-pass to the tube and hopped on the circle. Within minutes I was staring Big Ben in the face, with the eye of london just to my right. After taking massive amounts of pictures of Big Ben, the house of parliament, the eye of london, and many interesting people, I realized how hungry I was. I found a bakery with free wifi, and here I am! Time to go explore some more before my flight at 9:45! More updates once I'm in Sri Lanka!
Peace and love,
Yesterday was quite an experience. It was our first day working in the hospital, and we had no clue what was going on. Luckily, we are working with another girl named Marika, who hails from the UK, had already been working there for a week and showed us the ropes. We sat in the PCU (Primary Care Unit) and listened to the doctors as they described each person's symptoms and what could be the cause of each illness. After about an hour, one of the doctors invited all 3 of us to observe him during his surgery rounds, an invitation to which we gladly accepted. We walks the halls of the open-air facility to the surgery room, which was quite a sight to behold. It looked as if the developers of this hospital had traveled back into the 1940s and brought back with them a typical surgery room from that day and age. The only difference was this room was probably more unsanitary than a dog kennel. Open windows with mosquitos flying around, used surgical tools laying about, and filthy bandages scattered about were what we saw. The doctor, neither before nor after each surgery, did not wash his hands, and the nurses did not wear any gloves. The patients would come in and lie on the dressings that had been used in the previous surgery, as if there was no fear of getting AIDS, much less an infection from their surgery. I could not believe what I was witnessing; any of the violations in America would probably result in the doctor losing his medical license, yet here it is the norm. The glaring differences between healthcare here and in America grow more apparent each passing day.
Today, we attended a conference on diabetes here in Sri Lanka. We learned about the different preventative measures the government ...
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