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August 2013

Different nationalities, different languages, different ages - FUN!   (published in Sri Lanka)

September 30, 2013 by   Comments(3)

Well hello!

The last post is some time ago because I was too busy. The social outreach took place on Friday. All volunteers (from Negombo, Colombo, Panadura, Kalutara and Galle) came to Moligoda and we painted a afternoon school for children and adults. You shouldn't think of the buildings we know - it was more like a small house. We used a yellow color for painting it outside and inside. However, lots of color got on us, too! It was fun to meet so many new people and the place actually felt a bit more comfortable afterwards. We had a nice lunch and the other volunteers from our region went off to Unawatuna. I joined another women to her hotel where she stayed in that night. It was her last weekend why she wanted to stay there. We swam a bit and enjoyed the great weather. 

Getting home back again, my two host brothers were crazy about watching "The Incredible Hulk 2" on my laptop. So Francesca and me joined them. After the half of it the boys were too tired and therefore we are going to have a DVD evening during this week to watch the end. 

On Saturday we had a a medical seminar in a remote area where we measured blood pressure and blood sugar voluntary. Since an examination like that is too expensive for those people, that was there only way to get that done and also see a local doctor for free. At the beginning I was very excited to take the blood sugar because I had never done it with a needle before. Usually you use a special equipment for it and I was afraid to hurt the people but everything was fine.

After we had lunch Jonas, Francesca and me left for Unawatuna which is near to Galle. During the two hours drive a screaming sound made us stop and we saw that one of the wheels lost all of its air. No problem, three kilometres later one men changed it in less than 4 minutes! Absolutely stunning! Arriving in Unawatuna - I love this name! - we met the others and checked in our guest house. I shared a room with another nice girl called Amalie from Denmark. We did some shopping and ate at 'The Pink Elephant', a nice restaurant in a relaxed atmosphere. Later we went to the beach, had some drinks and joined a small beach party. Only guys danced randomly on the dance floor and it was fun doing the same! 

Four hours sleep later we had a wonderful breakfast and relaxed at the beach the whole day. I absolutely love that place! Home again I was totally exhausted but happy! I loved being with all the other girls - we were a group with around 13 people -, getting to know them better and speak English.

Today I had my last day at the general medicine ward, tomorrow I am going to change to surgery. Till then I am going to have some rest and meet the others at the Fab later. 

See you,

Jula

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Different nationalities, different languages, different ages - FUN!https://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/jwagner4/read/308344/different-nationalities-different-languages-different-ages-fun
Different nationalities, different languages, different ages - FUN!
 

No complains about german hospitals again!   (published in Sri Lanka)

September 26, 2013 by   Comments(3)

Hi!

Since there has not happened anything interesting, I decided to write a post about the hospital.

Nagoda hospital is a governmental hospital which means that they need to admit all the patients that are coming. For this reason, it's always crowded and a lot of people run around. The hospital consists of different houses that are connected with corridors. A little labyrinth at first. And: Don't be surprised if you meet a dog somewhere or see a cat in a ward. That's normal. 

From outside to inside: The ward is - like I told you - one big room which has a small wall inside. Therefore there are three rows of patient's beds. Additionally at the window side stand a lot of chairs and benches where people sit on. However there is a part separated for the staff and the medicine. Back in the ward there are an isolation room and one bathroom (for about 50 patients). Nevertheless, no one complains, even if they need to share a bed. Like you can imagine the ward is always full with people. Especially because there are some family members who stay with their relatives. When all the nurse students are around, you really get problems to walk around in those anyway small corridors. 

In the same way, work is definitely different: Every patient has its one "papers" which are laying on the beds or somewhere else. In the morning the doctors do the ward round and write on those documents what the recent conditions are, measure blood pressure, pulse rate and hear the lungs. Reading those notes is confusing sometimes. Chaotic writing, sequence of test results and paper chaos everywhere. Honestly, I have no idea at all how the nurses are able to give the right drugs. Though, they push the medicine trolley to the patients and give them their medication. No gloves, of course. Facilities are less than in our country and hygienic isn't asked about that much. Grown up in an environment like that you probably get a resistance to all the bacteria. Since there is no way to disinfect or wash your hands at all.

Furthermore, the diseases digress from the common ones we know. I have seen lots of COPD (fishermen smoke their cigarette without filtration), liver/kidney disease (because their are less donors for transplantations) and the widespread disease: diabetes. No surprise, since Sri Lankans eat a lot of rice, every meal is with coconut and they are using a lot of sugar for everything! What should be mentioned too, are lots of dengue or viral fever and infections because farmers don't care about wounds and work anyway until they get an infection. Last but not least, snake bits from the five toxic snakes on Sri Lanka. Still, people don't stay long at the ward. 

In contrast to my experiences on the male ward the female ward is better organized! Folders for the papers, cleaner and less people. Even almost all fans are working. Nevertheless, it feels like a completely different world in comparison to Germany. But what counts: They are helping everyone and the majority can be cured!

Miss you all,

Jula

PS. Today I got some cake at the hospital! :-)

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No complains about german hospitals again!https://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/jwagner4/read/307860/no-complains-about-german-hospitals-again
No complains about german hospitals again!
 

Trinco-weekend   (published in Sri Lanka)

September 23, 2013 by   Comments(1)

Hey,

a nice weekend is over. We left in the evening on Friday to go to Colombo by bus. It took us two hours to get there and we ate some "dinner" - plain bred (something like Milchbrötchen in Germany) sitting on the street. When we waited for the train we needed to sit separately; There is one female and one male waiting room. 

The train arrived and we hurried to get a seat. We paid for a second class ticket because the third is always so crowded! And you really don't want to stand nine hours between lots of people. Fortunately, the train wasn't too full and I had two seat places for myself. Laying on my bag and having my feed on the other seat I had the perfect position to sleep. However, sleeping isn't that easy! You can't compare trains in Sri Lanka with the ones you know: Doors and windows are open, the train is so loud and when the train starts to drive after a stop you can almost fell of your seat (yes not when it stops). Additionally, there are lots of man wanting to sell food or water when you stop at a train station. Their puffery was too funny! The sequence of the same words (like coffee) made them sound strange and it was almost like singing. I needed some time to understand what they were saying.

In the morning we arrived in Trincomalee which is at the east coast of Sri Lanka. We took a Tuk Tuk to our guest house which was in Nilaveli. For 1100 Rs each it was very good! We travelled back to Trinco and searched for a nice place at the beach. Problem was that there were lots of fisherboats but no place were you could hide from the sun. We walked about 5km until we found a guest hotel were you could lay under sunshades. A man with a small python came to us and laid it on my back. A fascinating feeling when it was moving on my skin. The place was very nice and we stayed there for a long time until we ate some dinner at a hotel - Spaghetti Carbonara. 

On Sunday Francesca and me were leaving for Pigeon Island, a national park neat Nilaveli. It was absolutely impressive: blue/green water and the beach was made of abrupt coral riffs. I went snorkeling and saw wonderful coloured fishes. Amazing! I saw a lot of fishes and wonderful riffs, e.g. Nemo, a big blue-purple fish and even some sharks!

After we checked out at the guest house we went to Trinco and ate the best chicken wings with French fries ever. On our way to the railway station we met some reindeers standing on the street. At 7:30 our train left back home again, this time we had a seat place indeed but it was impossible to sleep. Next to us three (!) boys sat on one seat and could even sleep - no idea how it worked out. 

All in all, the weekend was good but very exhausting too!

Greetings,

Jula

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Trinco-weekendhttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/jwagner4/read/307460/trincoweekend
Trinco-weekend
 

Two and a half months to go!   (published in Sri Lanka)

September 23, 2013 by   Comments(0)

,

Hi, 

   On the 7th December 2013, I leave for Sri Lanka for two weeks. With this only being 2 and a half months away I am starting to gather some nerves! So far I have learnt as much as I can about Sri Lanka from the travel guide and other guidebooks, and have had my first vaccinations. After reading about Projects Abroad's Sri Lanka Care & Community package, I immediately had my heart set on going - now or never! I'm looking forward so much to experiencing a totally new culture and immersing myself in that way of life. I still need to think of some ways of fundraising - so far I plan on making Sri Lankan themed cards and paintings of patterns or wildlife to sell to family, friends and work colleagues, and also plan to sell some of my old clothes and possibly arrange a coffee morning. I have fundraised as part of a team before, and have realised straight away how much more difficult it is on my own! My main worry about going is getting ill while I'm over there - I understand that the culture shock and new foods and environments can often make people unwell, and as I have never been outside of Europe before I feel I will be hit hard! 

I'll update my blog every now and again to track my progress with the trip and keep a record of my time in Sri Lanka :-)

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Two and a half months to go!https://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/sparsons/read/307433/two-and-a-half-months-to-go
Two and a half months to go!
 

Some kind of daily routine   (published in Sri Lanka)

September 20, 2013 by   Comments(2)

Hey there,

I am going to go to Trincomalee in half an hour that's why I am writing a short note.

On Wednesday we had a medical seminar where a doctor was telling us about the Health system in Sri Lanka. It was very interesting! The care almost reaches everyone not like India or Nepal because there are not as many remoted areas here. Maternity death rate and under 5 death rate is pretty low. We talked about special diseases like dengue fever and malaria and ate lunch afterwards. Later, Nicky told us how to measure blood pressure and blood sugar because we will attend to a medical camp next Saturday.

In the afternoon we met some nice girls in the Fab who are also here with projects abroad. 

Yesterday I had a nice and sunny day at the beach with Simone. It was great!

Today work was quiet good, Francesca joined the same ward as I am and there were two nice doctors who talked to me a lot and explained many cases. The most interesting one was a man whose lungs fields has been extending due to him smoking. You could really see that on his x-Ray. His alveoles got fibrosis and so the exchange from CO2 and O2 between them and the capillaries is declined. It's called COPD - cronic obstructive pulmonary disease. His lungs extend so that the transport is getting better again.

There are no real pictures I can show you but I am going to show you some of Trincomalee when I am back on Monday. We are taking the night train.

Hope you have a great weekend too!

Jula

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Some kind of daily routinehttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/jwagner4/read/307181/some-kind-of-daily-routine
Some kind of daily routine
 

Tick the right expression: Exciting X Overwhelming X Different XXX   (published in Sri Lanka)

September 17, 2013 by   Comments(2)

Hi!

There has been plenty of new impressions since I moved into the host family on Sunday. Before that we went to see a friend at his hotel right next to the beach and bought some things I need (like toilet paper - you will remember). 

In the evening we went to my new home. We had some problems to find the house. First, there are plenty of street names for one street and second, there are no numbers on house or they are absolutely confusing. When I arrived they showed me the house. The upper floor with three bedrooms and a bathroom is for volunteers. Jonas, a boy from Germany has already lived there for one month. My room is nice with two beds in, two commodes and a window.

It was sad to say goodbye to Simone and Volker but when they left I sat with the family in front of the house for a while and talked. One of the two sons asked me about my mobile phone proudly telling me that he got the Samsung Galaxy S 3 and not the 2 as I got. He was very cute and I tried to answer him all his questions but it got very hard for me when he wanted to know details about our car. 

The night was horrible. My bed smelled so strange and it felt weird to stay in a foreign family. I couldn't get to sleep and woke up a lot of times because it was very hot.

In the morning Nicky and Charly from my organisation picked me up and drove to the hospital but the supervisor wasn't there. Anyway they needed to go to a school and just took me with them! Was very impressive to see some strongly disabled children being able to attend school. Later Jonas showed me the town and we went to Panadura by bus.

Today I had my first working day and immediately, I knew what culture shock means. My first ward is the general medicine where are 33 beds in own room without any separation. Sometimes even two people need to sleep in one bed! It looked like after the world war 2! The cases were interesting but I couldn't follow that easily - everyone spoke Singhala and I didn't know most of the disease and words. At ten suddenly all the doctors were away. Fortunately, they were some nurse students I could join. The consultant came at 12 and at once everyone was in a hurry and all the doctors ran out of their room (remind me of 'The Devil Wears Prada'). He was quickly looking at all cases and decided who can leave and who they receive to the ward. In front of the ward a huge crowd of visitors waited and squalled in.

Going to tell you more soon!

Jula

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Tick the right expression: Exciting X Overwhelming X Different XXXhttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/jwagner4/read/306587/tick-the-right-expression-exciting-x-overwhelming-x-different-xxx
Tick the right expression: Exciting X Overwhelming X Different XXX
 

Fairy tale wedding   (published in Sri Lanka)

September 15, 2013 by   Comments(1)

Hello,

I am writing this blog post with a sweet little cat on my lap. We found her when we went to the wedding in Volker's Hotel on Friday. To start from the beginning: The way to the hotel in Kuruwita was quiet a distance and an adventure as it is always when you use a vehicle on Sri Lanka. Normal motorcycles or bikes are used by at least two people and up to four. If there are holes in the street they put knobs in, so that drivers can see them during the night. Street lights are either not working or hasn't been placed at all. The only place you drive fast without stop and go is the one and only high way which is just 100km long. Singhalese are afraid to take it because they can't stay within their part of the way and police is more strict on the high way. 

When we arrived I was kind of overwhelmed. The hotel is surrounded by tea plantages, kautschuk and rice fields. It's very quiet and green. The wedding ceremony already started and the guest and especially bride and groom were looking fantastic with their costly embroidered saris. They had some traditional parts like feeding each other to get luck for their marriage. I took a lot of photos and sometimes photos of me had been taken. When the guests were eating Simone and I took a bath in the swimming pool. Suddenly we saw a tiny little cat which looked like she hasn't got anything to eat for a while. (Right now she is sitting on my shoulder - like a witch). Simone couldn't stand to let her there and so we took her with us. Before we went home we ate some food of the yummy buffet and watched the party. In the end, groom and bride went by boat over the lake. Both looked happy and it seemed as if it was not that forced like it is normally when marriages are arranged. was very lucky to be part of an singhalese wedding and got so many wonderful impressions.

Yesterday we went to the beach and finally weather was great. Sun was shining and I got tanned!! In the evening we visited a friend who has a Bavarian guest house and ate there. In between we always cuddled with Tinka - that's what we called the cat - because she is very clinging to us. 

In the evening I am going to get to my hostfamily. I am very excited and need to do some things. 

Greetings (especially from Tinka who lately is been watching me from my cleavage), Jula

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Fairy tale weddinghttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/jwagner4/read/306310/fairy-tale-wedding
Fairy tale wedding
 

Ayubowan   (published in Sri Lanka)

September 12, 2013 by   Comments(3)

Hello everybody,

slowly I am getting used to all the new impressions. Volker and Simone show me a lot of the country and introduce me to nice people.

Yesterday Volker drove with me to Alutghama buying some food. Those shops are everywhere right next to the street without any doors and there are lots of things I have never seen before. As always I got stared at and especially kids are very curious. Later we visited a friend whose jewellery store is near the beach but unfortunately weather was bad. It's always the same these days: The sun is shining and suddenly it starts to rain like hell! No way to get tanned... 

In the evening Simone walked to the temple with me. It has the biggest sitting Buddha on Sri Lanka. At temples it's even more important to wear the right clothes: Shoulders, waist and knees must be hidden! When you enter the temple you need to take off your shoes and you can sacrifice some fruits. A special place with great pictures inside! 

When we went to see another german friend (Walter) at his Hotel today, I met Paradise. House and garden were marvelous and sitting there next to the pool, I felt great. Additionally, I saw a Varan and some monkeys. It's amazing! Walter showed me his rooms and I felt in love with his suite (for just 70 Euro per night): You could see above the whole garden and the bathroom was on a balcony so you could lie in your bath tube and watch the stars. 

I am going to bed now because we are invited to a wedding in Volker's hotel early in the morning.

Bye, Jula

PS. Photos of this gorgeous place are coming soon!

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Ayubowanhttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/jwagner4/read/306065/ayubowan
Ayubowan
 

There is always a first time   (published in Sri Lanka)

September 10, 2013 by   Comments(3)

Hi there,

it's been two days now and I experienced plenty of new things: penty of first times!

After sleeping for 13 hours we went to the beach yesterday which is only 1,5 km away. It was wonderful with all the palm trees, the perfect sand and nice tempered water. I took my first bath in what is called 'Bath tube': Waves and current is so strong that it is better to swim behind reefs. Additionally, the first shafts of sunlight met my body and I hope I will not longer look that kind of stupid next to Simone. Running gag is that I shouldn't buy things on street where are no prices on. Whites would always need to pay twice the price. I would have to pay ten times more. When we came back I took a shower which is outside in the garden. It has no top, just a blue plastic around the metal frame. Kind of strange but it's quiet funny! In the evening mosquitoes bit me like 30 times and German autan doesn't help at all. My legs look terrible and hurt a lot! Today we did a day trip to Galle which is in the south. All the way we drove right next to the beach what was amazing. On the way we did some shopping and I bought some clothes and a sun hat. In Galle we went to the Fort which is a wonderful and restored place. Unfortunately it rained, so we went into 'Pedlar's inn'. While we drank our iced mocha I saw a turtle coming next to us and going slowly under our table. That wasn't the only meeting with animals you wouldn't see in Germany. Before we wanted to get home, we some some monkeys sitting on a house and getting food from a woman. And even in the house are new animals to me: Geckos and a glowworm.

Now I am going to bed. It was nice to Skype with some of my friends and I am very happy to read the comments on my blog!! It makes me smile all the time. Perfect would be if you always write your name under wards, so that I know who wrote this post.

Greetings, Jula 

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There is always a first timehttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/jwagner4/read/305723/there-is-always-a-first-time
There is always a first time
 

my first weekend in Sri Lanka and the long awaited visit to Ruhunu Orphanage   (published in Sri Lanka)

September 10, 2013 by   Comments(2)

On Friday i had my first experience of a bus in Sri Lanka as we took the bus to Hikkaduwa.... OMG!!! this bus was  a pretty standard size bus, but also came with a sound system playing some funky Sri Lankan music and was so full, there must have been almost 150 on this regular sized bus that probably only had about 60 seats!! everyone was stood up crammed like sardines but amazingly it was so cool as the bus drove SO fast and all the windows were open. People were literally hanging off the doors outside and sometimes it wouldn't even stop to pick people up, it would just slow down until the person had hold of the rail then speed off again.... good thing was this meant we got to our destination quickly haha!! And it cost all of 90 rupees which is less then 50p!!! When we arrived we headed by Tuk Tuk to a bar called top secret that had rooms behind it, we got locked in our first room so had to switch, but still at about 10 pounds a room you could still hardly complain!! That night the girl i went with was tired so went to bed early and i stayed up with one of her friends and the staff and locals at the bar.... they ended up getting me to go out to a local club with them, which was amazing and i met loads of people there from all over the world and partied the night away!! The next morning it was amazing to wake up to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach, even though it was cloudy and raining!! 

 

At 9am my friend Yogi came and collected me, to say i was happy to see her would be an understatement. I hadn\' seen her for 2 years since she moved from Sheffield to Sri Lanka, but it also meant we were on our way to Ruhunu Orphanage!! We set off and met the representative from the charity Their Future Today in Food City in Galle. He had a list of the things the orphanage needed and we set about trying to find it all. Yogi explained to me that there had recently been a big problem with baby milk, as one brand had been taken off the shelves due to the company (Anchor) putting something in their products that was damaging to humans. Therefore the stocks of the other brand were a little low. We went to 3 different shops and cleared all of their shelves of baby milk powder and also all of their stock rooms. The first shop we also took their whole supply of rusks and a lot of butter!!! We decided to head to the orphanage straight after the third shop, seen as both cars were now full!!! It wasn\' far to get there and when we turned up the driveway i was feeling quite nervous. It was at this point that i was so glad that Mr Percy from Their Future Today, as well as Yogi, were there with me. The staff there know Mr Percy and Yogi speaks Sinhalese so it was very easy to communicate. It took a few trips to get everything inside and piled up, but once we did Mr Percy said he would show me and Yogi around, whilst the matron went through all of the items and made a receipt for me (this is common practise here when donations are made).

 

The first room we went to was the older kids, of which there were about 20... it was nap time... needless to say this went to pot when we walked in and all hell broke loose. The first thing the children noticed was Yogi's yellow necklace, they were all so fascinated with it. One little girl ran straight for me and just hugged my legs, it was so cute. They just loved being picked up, every time i picked one of them up another one would be hanging off my leg to be picked up to and when i held them they would just go really shy and smile a big smile, it was so cute!! One kid had hidden some crisps in a bottle and was trying to get them out on the floor... when they all fell out the attention was averted from us as all the kids wanted to get some crisps haha... we chose this opportunity to sneak out.

 

Next stop was the babies. the first thing i noticed when in walked in was the sheer amount of cots in this room, all with little faces looking over the top of them. So many babies. We walked around and comforted a few that were crying... which was quite easy actually as i think they were just happy to be picked up, they stopped crying straight away. We walked around and i think i was holding myself together pretty well... until i got to this one little baby who was severely malnourished, he was paralysed form the waist down and wouldn't eat. From this point onwards i couldn't stop crying. Again i was so glad to have people there for support. Fundraising for these little ones has been such a big part of my life this year that it was just so emotional to see them all. We went into another little room where there were even younger babies under 1, but by this time i was a mess and just the sound of a wimper had me in tears again. The amount i was crying even made Mr Percy upset and he made regular trips here so was used to seeing this.

 

 

We headed back to the matron who had just finished counting all of the items. All the staff, Yogi and Mr Percy were all speaking in Sinhalese for a bit and Yogi then translated for me, the women had been saying how grateful they were and how important this was to the orphanage. She said it was special that people the other side of the world were thinking of them and wanting to help them in this way. They said it was enough supply for the 65 children for 3 months and i've still got more to buy for them (this made me cry again haha). I'm hoping to try and go back 1 more time before i come back home!!

 

After this me and Yogi went to Galle and had a lovely relaxing evening in a hotel, which was well needed after the week i had and such a mentally draining day. We stayed in Jetwing Lighthouse which was beautiful and Yogi had me laughing all night, i didn't want to leave the hotel or Yogi, but also i was excited to get back to Panadura to be back at my placement the next day!!!

 

I know i said this in my previous blog but i'm going to say it again. Thanks so much to all my friends and family who helped me raise such a huge amount for the orphanage!!

 

xxx

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my first weekend in Sri Lanka and the long awaited visit to Ruhunu Orphanagehttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/Michala Marling/read/305671/my-first-weekend-in-sri-lanka-and-the-long-awaited-visit-to-ruhunu-orphanage
my first weekend in Sri Lanka and the long awaited visit to Ruhunu Orphanage