OkaZHI: Okanagan-Zambia Health Initiative

Just because it is different does not mean it is wrong

We have completed week one at the hospital! The first day brought many feelings of shock, excitement, surprise and many things that were unexpected. I found myself saying ‘its so different than back home’ but then also saying ‘what you do here and what we do is the same’.

It has been so insightful to understand how a place halfway across the world cares for the sick and promotes health. It has been extremely educational as i know more now about many illnesses and diseases i have only been able to read about in books until arriving here and seeing them right before my own eyes.

The priorities we make for ourselves differ greatly, for example; the first hour or so of everyday is spent bed making and dusting here where i am used to the first part of the day being spent on assessing  patients  and giving medication. At the end of the day we are still improving the health of patients and giving treatment. So it goes to show, although different, still not wrong. The first few days were spent really trying to understand the system here. There is a lot less paper, you have to dig for background information and be very creative when it comes to personal care and interventions as the supplies are often not readily available as they are back home. I have learned how to use a glove as a tourniquet and iv tubing as a drain and the list goes on. The days later in the week were spent sharing some of our knowledge with the nurses and students and showing them a few of the practices from back home. It has been great to build relationships with the staff and people here. I have been trying to learn the language and have been practicing with a few people at the hospital that ‘quiz and teach’ me more everyday.

Although i cannot speak the languages here i have been able to connect with patients and their family. Sometimes through a translator, often through sign language or just providing care and comfort. Unfortunately, i have seen and witnessed many things that have brought me to tears but i have also seen the smiles on the faces of patients who are going home recovered, enjoying our company or inviting a new little one into their life!

I am loving the beautiful people, the beautiful land and the wonderful group of girls that i am sharing this experience with. I have learned so much already and am really looking forward to next week!

-Amanda

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