New adventures have always been one of my favorite things, especially when it involves traveling to a new country. Since starting PA school at MUSC 2 years ago, traveling and volunteering haven’t exactly been the easiest things to do. So when I found out that I could combine my love of traveling and volunteering with school, I jumped at the unique opportunity to go to Uganda.
As I reflect on the past two weeks, I see personal growth. I see knowledge gained. I have only traveled internationally alone once before, and it was to China with a connection in Germany with a close friend waiting for me at the airport. The traveling adventures, to and from Peru, have forced me to act as an adult, fully responsible for myself. Nobody else was watching out for me.
Much of the material in the medicine class was interesting to me. Most notably, Dr. Neira reported that 34% of the children in the community the clinic serves have anemia. Contrary to popular belief, the problem in Peruvian families is not necessarily a lack of income, but a lack of wisdom on where to allocate their resources. Dr. Neira explained the difference between symptoms (described about a patient by a third party of by him or herself) and signs (a measurable result of illness). He then went through the process of a general examination with us, and taught us the main Spanish words to know when performing these. We then practiced general examinations on one another, and on one young girl from the community that had spent time with us during the class.
12:00 am: It was time for dinner: hot chocolate milk, turkey, applesauce, and fruitcake. After dinner, we opened presents. Mommy got us each a purse and earrings. The whole family, including myself, found great joy in watching Mary’s, our host sister, son open his Christmas presents. I was amazed by the thoughtful gifts exchanged between our family members.
I recently read an article that said there are three types of travel: travel that calms you, travel that excites you, and travel that causes a revolution in your heart. When I returned home, I could tell that I had changed mentally. New perspective, a paradigm shift, call it whatever you want. Something was different and I began to notice myself looking at situations differently.