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Our reviews

Here's what just some of  our Medi Tripper's had to say....

review from  Lore Verbeke & Andrea Malfeit (Belgium)

2024 as Physiotherapy Hospital Assistant

Nice experience!

I was volunteering in Arusha with a friend. We worked as physiotherapists in a local hospital. It was a really good experience and we learned a lot about the differences in culture and healthcare. We had a good experience with Meditrip. Asante sana!

review from Leslie Stavig (United States)

2024 at Emergency Department Assistant

A great experience

I spent 4 weeks volunteering with MediTrip in Arusha, Tanzania. This is a public and busy hospital that aslo gets many referral from the other private hospital in Arusha and provide teaching to the medical interns and students. As an experienced Registered Nurse, I was grateful to be placed in such a busy ER which was divided in outpatient and resuscitation rooms. If patients presenting were “little” sick, as in able to walk and talk, they were immediately sent to the outpatient entrance. The “big” sick patients were immediately taken back to one of our 3 resuscitation rooms – male, female and pediatric – without stopping for triage. While we evaluated the medical or trauma needs, the family/friends would register the patient. If life threatening, we would start treatment and if only urgent, the doctor would write for needed supplies and medications thus treatment would wait until paid supplies arrived at bedside. We had an ultrasound, ECG machine, suction and ventilator available in the hallway, but were always searching for gloves, IV cannulas, fluid and tubing. I was very impressed with the ability to work rapidly and expertly in saving a life regardless of the supply obstacles, and did during my time there. The entire medical staff were very welcoming and grateful for the assistance offered and open to learning new skills. I had an wonderful experience joining the ER team. During that time, I stayed at a hostel in Sakina with other volunteers and leaned to get to and from work on available transportation and enjoy life in Arusha despite the frequent electricity shut offs. The hostel staff were very helpful and willing to go the extra step. All and all it was a great experience and would recommend it to everybody. People in Tanzania face poverty, lack of resources and obstacles to improving their health and lives, but remain welcoming and friendly.

review from Dr Sabrina Pöllinger (Germany)

2023 at Orthopaedic Surgery & Trauma 

Unique experience of a lifetime

Since this was my second time doing volunteer work in a foreign country, I kind of knew how those programs worked and what to expect. But still the first few days are a lot, so many impressions, the Tanzanian lifestyle and meeting many new people. Everything was very well organized from pick up at the airport, orientation day where you learn how to get to your project with public busses and weekly check-ins by the director, how things are going. The doctors at the orthopedics department at Mount Meru Hospital were very welcoming and eager to show me their routine and teach. Talking to the hospital staff was quite easy, their English is really good and when discussing patients the doctors also speak medical English. So I became a part of the team very soon. Since communicating with patients was quite difficult, because the normally don’t speak English, I spent most of the time in the operating theater. It takes time to get used to the circumstances at the hospital, which are very different to the standards in Germany. They manage with way less resources, equipment and technology. And sadly a lot of the patients can’t afford treatment at the hospital, because they don’t have health insurance and can’t pay for a needed surgery. After 2-3 weeks I was able to do more hands on work in the theater. And since I already finished medical school back home, I was allowed to do some parts of the surgeries by myself or suturing the wound at the end. Still under supervision of course. On the weekends we went on trips with the people from the hostel like visiting the waterfall at Kilimanjaro, the hot springs in Moshi, going on safari or buying souvenirs at the Masaai market. The group dynamic at the hostel was really good and everyone got along great. The staff was always keen on making our stay easy and enjoyable. So big thank you goes out to Lilli, Marian, Mama Mary, Jackson, Kombo, Emmanuel and Pearl! This was an unforgettable experience for me. If you get the chance do it! Integrating yourself in a foreign country, meeting the people and fully be a part of their lifestyle gives you the chance to evolve both personally and professionally.

review from Dr Trinda Cyrus-Chow (United Kingdom)

2023  at Hospital Medical Assistants

We felt well supported by both Pearl and the crew

We used Medi Trips to do some volunteer work while on a trip to Tanzania. We chose them as we felt that they were a company that prioritised the organisations they were supporting and that they really worked to ensure that there was a true need for volunteers at any particular programme rather than just trying to make money through voluntourism. We also felt that they demonstrated a more nuanced understanding of the role of a volunteer within a less-resourced country that went beyond the “helping poor people” mentality that we had observed with some other companies. From our first interactions with Pearl we were impressed with her thoughtful and professional nature and how seriously she took on board and considered where we would make the most impact with our different skill sets. We also appreciated that she worked to ensure that we would stay together in the same region and that she had the right links to organisations so that we could both do volunteer work rather than just the medic of us. In the lead up to the volunteering Pearl was consistently responsive and helpful, providing guidance and advice every step of the way e.g. sorting out the right visa and cultural considerations for when we are in Tanzania. The resources that were provided to us were very useful, and we felt that we were thoroughly prepared for the experience before heading out there. The in-country induction was very helpful and with the practical support from the Tanzanian team we were able to adjust to daily life there quickly. One of us was placed in a regional hospital and the other in a daycare in Arusha, and we stayed in one of the two private rooms at a volunteer house that was accessible to both placements. The volunteering experience itself was very fulfilling and a thought-provoking experience for both of us, and although the daycare placement was not an initial obvious option for a techy, again this is where we saw that a genuine consideration is given to providing organisations with the right volunteers, and the placement ended with a new app to support the charity’s work. The accommodation provided was comfortable and spacious, with lovely staff who kept it clean and comfortable, and except on weekends where we would still receive breakfast, we were always provided with breakfast and dinner, with our dietary needs accounted for. The company had links to some great activities and in our spare time we enjoyed hot springs, a weekend trip to the Kilimanjaro region and a coffee tour. Some people even did safari. This was all in addition to the fun that we had exploring the local area, food and nature spots in Arusha with other volunteers we befriended. We genuinely had a great experience and at all times felt well supported by both Pearl and the Medi Trips crew in Tanzania. We would fully recommend them for anyone considering some international volunteer work.

review from Selina Jung (Germany)

2023 at Nurse Hospital Assistant

Arusha has so much to offer

My knowledge as a nurse was almost exclusively limited to psychiatric care, which is why I was able to learn and experience a lot during my internship on the maternity ward. This included, among other things: - Attending and assisting normal births - Deepening my knowledge of birth complications and injuries - Accompanying operative obstetrics - postpartum care Tanzania had a huge impact on me and I couldn't have imagined a better country to volunteer in. Arusha has so much to offer, from culinary delights to sightseeing within Arusha. I felt very comfortable in the hostel, it was clean and the food was always on time and delicious. I had started a fundraising campaign, which made it possible to obtain many important materials for the station. My highlight was the great gratitude I received as a result. Don't be afraid or shy if your English skills are not perfect. - The exchange of knowledge can help both employees and patients, provided it is accepted and the new knowledge is implemented. - The hostel facility was very secure, as was the support. If I had any queries, I received immediate feedback within the day. - Safari and Day-Trip to the Blue Waterfall were amazing. - I learned so much, saw so much and made so many new friends, and I definitely wouldn't want to miss it.

review from Matilda Mansson (United Kingdom/Sweden)

2023 at Emergency Department Assistant

Amazing 5 weeks spent in the ED

I spent 5 weeks with Medi trip in an Emergency Department. I was picked up by Meditrip from the airport and had support from the moment I landed. I was taken to the hostel where I was staying and had my orientation where I was shown around Arusha and how to get to the hospital. During my time at the ED I saw a huge variety of cases that were very different to presentations we get in the UK. The doctors and nurses really allowed me to get involved in everything and I practiced lots of skills. The doctors tried to translate all the cases to me as well. During my placement I saw someone from Meditrip/Siret volunteers at the hostel everyday so there was always someone from the company to talk to and ask for help if you needed any support. I reccomend this program for someone who is already quite experienced in Emergency Medicine and sometimes it got very busy and some prior knowledge was definitely needed to keep up and be confident in helping. Meditrip was a great organisation and I would definitely recommend them and would volunteer with them again!

review from Edurne Taravillo (Spain)

2023 at Emergency Department Assistant

A unique and unforgettable experience

I would like to thank you for the incredible experience in my volunteering trip. In general, I can say that it was a unique an unforgettable experience that I would highly recommend to everyone. Regarding the organization, and although there were some setbacks, they ended up responding to all our requests and exceeding our expectations to improve our stay. Obviously, this is a volunteer trip an there are some things that you should keep in mind before joining any of these trips. My stay in the hospital was very enriching and I took away experiences and lessons that I will never forget. Thank you so much for everything. I hope to repeat again one day.Social Impact5Safety5Support5Freetime Activities5Value5

review from Leung Tung Yin Hamilton (Hong Kong)

2023 at Medical Student Internship

Memorable adventure full of cultural immersion

My role as a medical volunteer at the Emergency department at in Arusha, Tanzania is to assist in the general care of unwell patients. This requires me to help in monitoring, observing, and tending to the patients’ healthcare needs daily. Examples of specific tasks and duties include assisting the medical staff with their day-to-day schedule, following and leading ward rounds, help run assessment or Outpatient clinics, general assistance of medical staff when required and where experience and expertise allow, and focus on special awareness and information programs such as journal clubs. Arusha is a vibrant city known for its stunning landscapes and diverse cultural setting, such as its Maasai Market or cultural heritage center. With close access to other natural safari parks such as the Serengeti or Ngorongoro Crater, one can also witness the breathtaking beauty of Tanzania's natural wonders. My stay in Arusha was thus characterized by an exciting and memorable adventure full of cultural immersion and natural beauty. Seeing patient recover from their medical ailments, especially knowing that I had a direct positive impact on their physical wellbeing, was especially encouraging and was definitely one of the highlights of my experience. Tanzania is a country with a rich cultural heritage, and working there has provided me an opportunity to learn about the local customs, traditions, and ways of life. Working there for two weeks has especially given me with a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by local people, both socially and medically, and I will use this valuable experience that I’ve gained over my time in Tanzania into my future medical practice.

review from Hilde Martens (Belgium)

2023 at Midwife Hospital Assistant

18 days overwhelmed

Can you pinch me please? 18 days of happiness, fulfilment, cordiality, pure culture, sunshine, courage, heartwarming moments and emotions that overturn... I felt, experienced, enjoyed and loved Tanzania. Wow!! I'm Hilde, 20 years old and a midwifery student (2nd year) in Germany. In Tanzania I spent 3 weeks helping to bring little African babies into the world. Every single day is mastered, no matter how few sterile gloves, water or electricity are available at all. Everyone empowers each other. Watching this and being a part of it is insane. But a different culture also means different actions. A birth is less emotional because the survival of mother and child is very important. The maternal mortality rate is high. At the hospital where I was a volunteer, there is no suction cup, no forceps, no option for an c-section. All they have are their hands, knowledge, oxytocin, a fetal doppler and more or less sterile utensils. Therefore, only physiological pregnancy and birth criteria are allowed. At best, women come with a pre-packaged bag they bought at the pharmacy with 3 pairs of sterile gloves, an umbilical clamp, a roll of cotton and sutures. It's the only thing they pay for, because giving birth is free for them. In addition, they bring a lot of cloths with them as pads, clothes, diapers and for wrapping the baby. I was in the hospital for 10 days, saw 37 births and was able to participate. Every single day was fascinating. Bathing in the ice-cold Materuni waterfall water, dancing around coffee beans, giving hugs, playing Uno with a headlamp, driving Daladala, joining African dances and the incredible 3-day safari, moments that I absolutely do not want to miss. I have met such great people and especially friends! Everything here runs according to the motto: "Pole pole!" (Slow down! :)) I hope that sticks in my head for a while. I have found so much joy in this country that I want to go spinning in circles filled with happiness!! I am so thankful! With a little bit of courage, so much is possible. Asante sana!! All the best, Hilde

Lara Costa Leonardo (Luxembourg)

2022 at Nurse Hospital Assistant

a unique experience

It was amazing I was at the tangeru hospital for four weeks and I learnd alot. I saw a lot of situations and I learned to deal with these situations that we do not see in luxemburg hospitals for example cases of tuberculosis.. I learned to work with the material the nurses use it’s a little bit different from the material we use in luxemburg I loved Arusha, I felt safe and welcomed by the people from arusha, well integrated into the community, people are super friendly and welcoming and the food is very good The safari is was amazing , seeing all the animals that we only see at the TV was amazing Enjoy a lot, do alot, see a lot because it is a unique experience

review from Danielle Olson (USA)

2022 at Nurse Hospital Assistant

MediTrip in Arusha

I had the trip of a lifetime volunteering in Arusha, Tanzania through Meditrip. Pearl, Kombo, and Immanuel were all fantastic to work with and were there for any help or support throughout the entire trip. I volunteered at Mount Meru hospital and was able to gain a lot of new experience. Living at the house was a comfortable, safe, and fun environment as well. The weekends were packed with amazing excursions and adventures. Overall, I had the best time and I highly recommend this program to anyone interested!Social Impact4Safety4Support5Freetime Activities5Value5

Shawn Portwood(USA)

Volunteered 2022 as a Nutrition & Dietician Assistant

The placement was so diverse

The placement was so diverse, originally I was going to work part of the time in the hospital. However, upon arrival, I met one of my teammates and we immediately bonded over several project ideas for the community and I opted to forego the hospital to divert my efforts 100% to the community. In our two weeks together, we brainstormed, presented on, fundraised for, completed initial ground work, purchased needed tools and plants and completed the final setup of a fruit tree garden at one of the government schools with the assistance of Joseph from the Meru Warriors sport organization. In fundraising, we raised enough capital to set aside and hopefully fund several more schools for the same project goal to provide a reliable source of food for the children of these schools. We also were able to present on and create a food pyramid to provide visible and lasting education on the preferred amounts of food and water to consume when available. The idea was to avoid setting ANY food as bad or good as sometimes “bad” food is all that is available and we want calories in these kiddos over everything so we simply established a hierarchy or preference with WATER being the base of the pyramid as we noticed that this was a sorely lacking food in most peoples diet in Arusha. We printed enough posters of the pyramid to be hund in 60 classrooms. We also partnered with Walk in Love to assist at the malnutrition clinic/daycare where we facilitated teaching English through the use of fruits and veggies and also provided the taught fruits and veggies from the lesson to the kids to eat after the lesson. At this clinic, we also got them caught up on their charting for all of the children in the program. Lastly. We were able to be guest lecturers at Assumption School to teach general nutrition during the students biology class time. All in all, I am VERY proud of the amount of work my team and I were able to accomplish in a very short amount of time! The stay in Arusha was real, raw and exciting. It was not without its challenges as I struggled to navigate the Dala Dala bus system and would go so far as to say, I did NOT enjoy that aspect. I ended up paying the extra cost to use the BOLT or Tuk Tuk systems to avoid the busses. As a larger person, it was just not a good time. That is a small complaint in what was an overall PERFECT trip to Arusha. I am just being honest with this document. But I would not change anything about the trip overall. Everyone at the house, from the other volunteers to the absolutely AMAZING staff that worked there were so wonderful and kind and sweet and caring and welcoming! The highlight of my experience was without a doubt the completion of the food garden. To know that our team will have a lasting legacy there is something I will never forget! Do not be afraid to use your expertise and knowledge to pitch ideas, do not feel like you just have to go through each day without feeling like you truly contributed. Speak up, challenge the placements you are at with your ideas and be willing to roll up your sleeves and do the work! I also want to send a HUGE thanks and shout out to Kombo and Pearl, there are other amazing people on the team but these are the two individuals I worked exclusively with, the entire team but especially these two deserve all the praise in the world! I love you guys!

review from Ebru Özkan

2023 at Psychology & Mental Health in the Community

Be willing to learn from the locals

During my two weeks at the psychiatric clinic I was able to attend assessment and revisit sessions with patients varying in age and mental illness as well as severity of their illness. Additionally I was able to conduct therapy sessions on my own when patients could speak English. We attended patients in the clinic as well as at their home, school or workplace. During another two weeks in the Hospital I got an insight on how diagnosis are given and on the indication of medication. Arusha is a buzzling city, providing everything needed. Getting around, to and from the workplace was easy. Also, the company of fellow volunteers from all over the world was great. My highlight was conducting my first assessement on my own with a depressive and suicidal patient at the age of 19 years. Be open-minded and willing to learn from the locals and not only provide your knowledge to them.

Holly Jeffreys, Dietitian from United Kingdom

Interned in Nutrition and Community Outreach January to April 2022

For me, this was one of the most self-defining experiences I have ever had the pleasure of working through. I knew, prior to going, that it would be a great trip… little did I know that it would become the most rewarding, enjoyable, and challenging (in the most wonderful way) 4 months. Each and every single person I had the pleasure of meeting welcomed me in with open arms – locals and volunteers alike; I felt truly part of a new, growing and dynamic community that not only wanted to learn from my own background and prior knowledge but that wanted and was willing to teach me all that they had to offer. The combination of these factors meant forming connections come naturally in work and back at the hostel – a place that very quickly became a new home for me. 

 

The team at Medi Trip are incredibly supportive; they foster your enthusiasm and care for every person that comes through their doors. They are practical with giving advice, approachable in the toughest moments, and realistic with setting expectations, which I think a lot can be said for. Most importantly, however, they all have hearts beyond anyone else I have met – you know from the moment you’re in their very capable hands that all they want is for your placement to be as rewarding for you as it is for the people you work with and absolutely go out of their way to get you in the right place for that to happen.

 

All I can really say is thank you for taking the time to get to know me, welcoming me and allowing me the space to achieve the goals I set as I worked through the process.  

 

To begin with, Arusha felt to be quite a daunting place – a new culture, a new country, and a new way to live – as often happens with any major change. Having said that, within just a couple of days I very quicky came to fall in love with the it. It is a real mix of urban and countryside, with a wonderful hostel to stay in. You live with numerous other volunteers so spend a large part of your down time with like-minded, enthusiastic individuals. The locals of the area are inquisitive as to who you are and what you do – the more inquisitive I became back, the more I was able to learn and, unsurprisingly, the more enriching the experience became. I really can’t fault it – for me, it became a home not a house, and has a true & strong place in my heart. 

The people, without a shadow of a doubt!! It sounds simple but having the opportunity to meet & get to know such a wide range of individuals was incredible. I don’t know that I will ever learn as much in 4 months as I did in Arusha; both about myself and about others. 

Enter with an open mind and open heart and you will thrive… all I can really say is I am immensely jealous that you are at the start of such an incredible journey!! Make the most of any & every opportunity that comes your way – you won’t regret a thing!! 

Kaden Schwaiger, American, Medical Student/ EMT at Beaumont Health

Emergency Department Assistant

2 weeks; May 23rd - June 3rd 2022

 

Great educational experience. Contributions consisted of speaking with doctors, taking patient vitals, assisting hospital staff, and observing procedures.

Very satisfied with the hostel, great people there and very safe/comfortable.

Interacting with the fellow volunteers at the hostel.

Advocate for yourself as much as possible, and be proactive in communicating with the locals/doctors and doing what you can to help.

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Dr Judit Nagy, Dentist & Surgeon from Hungary

Volunteered February 2022

Most of the patients need tooth extractions, so it is a good oral surgical practice for everyone. The colleagues are very kind and helpful so you have lot of options to ask and learn, and other part sometime to teach in conservative dentistry and prosthetics. You can work so many how many you would like and not only at the dental department, but all over in the hospital.

It is amazing place with lot of kind people, lot to do and very interesting African life in alldays. Only the air in the city during the transport is very heavy and full of smog because of lot of motors, autos and busses. You can visit 

 

The experience how kind and opened heart, helpful and happy could be the people. Very different life like the life and the social contacts in Europe. Live in another culture was amazing and very interesting for me.

The African kitchen, zebras, Stoney Tangawizi and the  lovely masaais!

Live with opened heart every moments in Arusha

Dr Anastasiia Kelemen, Ukraine

Obstestrics & Maternity, Tanzania 2021

"During my program I was living in Arusha (Siret Hostel). 

From the first sight it was a cozy and comfortable placement not far from the hospital where I worked. The neighborhood was filled with small shops, where you can always buy some fresh vegetables and fruits.

If you ask me several things, which associations do I have when I hear the word Arusha, it would be avocado (A LOT of avocado), mango, pleasant people, Mount Meru and safari cars.

It is not surprising, because Arusha is situated at the foot of the  Mount Meru and is known as the safari capital of Tanzania's Northern Safari Circuit. It's a bustling city filled with an interesting mix of markets, chaotic traffic, old colonial buildings and modern conveniences, like coffee shops and an array of great restaurants.

Also, not far from Arusha the original culture has remained till yet and there still live Masai Tribes.

I am glad I was in Arusha, because where else would I see such a colorful African life if not here?!

When I recall the hospital where I worked in obstetrics, a wave of positivity comes over me. Doctors, that from the first sight met me with a wide smile and accepted me as a part of their team (of course after I showed that I can do any work, even cleaning), patients, that trusted me and volunteers all over the world, that shared their international experience. I had a feeling, that I was living several lives in one day and I was joking, that during 6 weeks in Arusha I learnt more than during 6 years of the university.

Every day I was involved in work. And for the first time I heard from the patients ‘’Asante sana, Daktari!’’(Thank you, doctor!), I thought that it would be much later.

The most vividly I remember the first labor, where me and mama…we were pushing the baby together

And also crazy situation: labor in dala dala (the bus)

But besides happy moments, which prevailed, I saw how it is when life is on the verge of life and death (resuscitation of newborns), a large percentage of HIV-infected women and a lack of materials and drugs."
 

From my ‘’Thankful’’ list you can imagine how much skills I have mastered.

Thank you Dr. Mwakapala for giving me an opportunity to assist you in C-section and teaching me how to do admissions.

Thank you Amani for encouraging and belief in me during my first SVD and explaining me all surgical instruments.

Thank you Fabi for teaching me to sew perineum when it is bleeding, it was quit challenging 

Thank you Sherifa for assisting me during my first SVD

Thank you Catherine for teaching me the best technique of wrapping the newborn

Thank you Daphne for showing and teaching me how to put a urinary catheter and IV.

I am extremely grateful to the whole team that was with me for 1,5 months.

I appreciate each of you

Amana Wiliams Murthoo, Psychology Student

Manchester Metropolitan University, 

Septemeber  2020

 

Our placement consisted of us going to visit a mental health outpatient ward at the largest regional hospital. During our placement we shadowed Psychologists who worked there and worked alongside students from the university of Dar es Salaam.

 

During our visit we shadowed counselling sessions with patients who had psychological issues such as psychosis, dementia and depression etc. As well as this we visited a paediatric ward to see if us a psychologist needed to intervene with any psychological treatment for the children and/or for the adults looking after those children.

 

Moreover, we worked in the clinic where we did admin work for patients who were receiving medication. Whilst we there we also visited the occupational therapy unit, where we assisted children with neurological disorders, delayed milestones etc.

My stay in Tanzania has been very nice and comfortable. During my time here I have felt extremely safe and it feels like a home away from home. 

Everyone that I have come across has been so accommodating and welcoming also. 

It was amazing be able to experience a completely different culture and a way of life here in Arusha. I have found that the local people are very friendly, warm and welcoming which made my stay a lot more pleasurable. As well as this, going to a country where I was not an ethnic minority compared to being in the UK was nice to experience. 

 

In regards to day trips I really enjoyed swimming in the Moshi Springs as it is such as beautiful place and it was lovely swimming in natural waters. As well as that I loved camping/ visiting the safari as it was a new experience for me and I loved seeing the animals in their natural habitat.

I felt very safe whilst staying in Arusha and was always occupied, there was not really a time I felt bored during my stay here. 

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Laura Krief, Medical Student 2019

France to Tanzania.

"I grew up. First because medicine is wonderful. Because exchanging with patients, creating trust relationship with them, reassuring them, helped me to be more open-minded, and more understanding about how life is precious. Because I had the opportunity to learn, everyday more, about the diseases, the injuries, where they are from, how to diagnostic them and how to treat them, in reality, not just in books. But secondly I grew up because it was hard. To deal with pain all day long, with death, to deal with the lack of means, the lack of medication, the lack of hygiene compared to France hospitals.

"I was hard to feel useless, to feel lost, because of the language barrier of the lack of knowledge, but always to keep going and doing as much I could do. I was hard to see things, to see the pain, how they treat it, how nurses and patients deal with it. It was hard to stay positive, but it was worth it so much. Because this experience was the mix of so many elements, so many feelings, it was unique. Unforgettable. I also grew up outside the hospital. Meeting new people from all over the world, having different cultures and ways of life, different experiences of volunteering, helped me to be better, in English first, but also in relationships and community life.

Also, it was incredible to be with people who talked with me about the things I saw in the hospital, when I felt lost or sad, I had this kind of family when I went back to talk with, to laugh with, to party with ! Finally, meeting new people at another part of the globe helped me to think about who I am, and who I want to be. In just can not be more thankful. It was a thursday, and I was about to see the first operation of my life, my first C-section. The mother is coming, I talk a little bit with her, about the future baby, the way she already had 2girls, and she wanted to have another one. She finally asks me my name when the anesthetist arrives, then the doctor. It was wonderful, to be there for the first breath of a new born, the first cry, the happiness of the mother when she discovered the baby was a little girl, the cleaning of the baby, the cut of the ombilical cordon, but also for the operation itself, the anesthesia, the suturing and the way the doctor answered to all my questions. So much emotion is just an hour. Two little weeks later, a mother and her baby arrived. I had to remove her stitches. She recognized me! She was the one! After hugging and asking for news, I finally asked for the name of the little girl. I will never forget how moved I felt when she told me that her baby’s name is Kansai-Laura. “Like you”, she told me proudly. I stayed voiceless." Laura K.

Sameera Sesay, Psychology Student 2019 & 2020

United Kingdom

"I was in Tanzania for 10 weeks, what feels like a combination between a lifetime and a short breath was filled with different experiences that I never could have imagined. My dominant role was as a psychology intern in the mental health department in a large hospital in Arusha.. Here I divided my time between the psychiatric nurses and the counsellors. With the nurses I would help retrieve patients’ files and record the patient’s information during the session. If a patient needed further counselling as well as their prescription medication, me and another counsellor would take them for a therapy session. Sometimes patients would request a session, sometimes there were referred and as counselors who sat in the room during their visits we could also intervene and take a patient to therapy if we felt it was necessary. All my counselling sessions were shadowed, and I alternated between leading and observing sessions with other counsellors. When I worked with the counsellors, we did community outreach. One form of community outreach reach was the weekly radio broadcast on different mental health issues. Another community outreach programme was a basic counselling skills workshop which was open to the public and ran for a week. When I wasn’t at the hospital, I volunteered at a woman’s shelter, this was mostly me spending time with the women and getting to know them. Whilst they taught me some phrases in Swahili, I taught them some English. There was no particular agenda here and I would usually aid with the daily tasks such as cooking. I also had the opportunity to attend some of the sessions of a girl’s empowerment group run by my supervisor. This was an excellent opportunity to engage with a group of intelligent driven younger girls and motivate them in any way I could. During the sessions we would have discussions on different issues the girls were facing and try and enlighten them as well as find solutions. The orientation was a perfect balance between well informed with the chance to still explore for yourself. I was shown how to get to my placement, around town and a few restaurants, this was more than enough for me to survive and really experience Arusha. I never got lost my entire time there and I think that is a result of being well informed on how to get to and from different points. Arusha itself is not a complicated city and there are multiple modes of transport to get around. The experience was more than I could ever imagine. It has changed my perspective and refined me both professionally and personally. I’ve had an opportunity to work with people firsthand and put all my knowledge into practice as well as give back to communities. It has been a great learning experience that has only further confirmed my future career for me. Theoretically yes, I feel as though the program handbook offered bountiful information on Arusha as well as my placement form costs, to cultural customs. But practically no amount of preparation can ever be enough for such a life changing experience, the booklet did offer a great foundation though the rest is better to experience first hand.My supervisor provided me with an extensive amount of support throughout my experience. Her contact with me before the program was always fast and she answered all my questions extensively, this helped calm any worries I had pre departure. I met her on arrival and saw her quite frequently to discuss both my professional and personal development. In addition to this the interns I shared my accommodation with played a part in motivating me and providing comfort where necessary. I was well supported at a level that allowed assurance, correction, and development.The highlight of my experience is definitely the girl’s empowerment program. I found it both revitalizing and inspiring to be around young African girls who are just striving to be the best version of themselves. Their ambition and determination were contagious making me reflective of my own academic career and future career. I look forward to seeing them all progress and reach their full potential, supporting them anyway I can. Settling in was the hardest part for me – just adjusting to transport the weather and the currency. These are things that effect my day to day activities back home in England, so it was a big change that I had to address because they were also part of my daily activities in Arusha. Once I was settled in and had my own flow it was easier to enjoy my internship. The accommodation is more than suitable for the program. The bunk beds are comfortable and sharing rooms with other interns provides barrier against loneliness and self-isolation. Food services welcome those who like to cook and those who prefer not to, with the opportunity to try other food on the weekend when dinner is not provided. The house is always kept very clean"

Georgina Soul, Registered Midwife 2019

Australia 

Before commencing my placement I had honestly mentally prepared myself for the “culture shock”. I was prepared to see poor conditions, limited resources and poor treatment of the women. However what I did not prepare myself for was the battle to assimilate and integrate into the team of nurses/midwives. In hindsight, and overall, my experience at the hospital was incredible and I was in no way ready to leave. However at times, especially in the first week, I was very ready to book the next plane home. The first two weeks proved to be the most difficult for me. As a young midwife, I am very used to being supported by senior midwives, I am also very used to midwifery as a group practice involving team work throughout the entire shift. Coming in to the hospital as a qualified midwife had its advantages but also its disadvantages. The advantages included having the appropriate midwifery knowledge and skills to (quite literally) throw on a pair of sterile gloves and accoucher a birth as I turned around to see the presenting part on view. It meant I could decrease the workload on the local nurses/midwives by attending full antenatal assessments of women and transferring them to antenatal ward as they silently progressed through the first stage of labour (I am still to this day in awe of Tanzanian women’s pain thresholds). It meant I could receive in caesarean sections and knew the policies around sterile fields, aseptic techniques and those associated with operating theatres. It meant I could prepare a woman for a caesarean section by cannulating and commencing an IV infusion of normal saline and putting in a indwelling urinary catheter. It meant I could give IM injections, IV medication and remove urinary catheters once the woman was 24hrs post-delivery. It meant I could perform solo (in one occasion) or work with the nurses/midwives in neonatal resuscitations and make important decisions re if a newborn should be transferred, if a woman should go for a caesarean section etc. All of these things I performed on a daily basis however it wasn’t until my third week that the nurses/midwives started trusting me and my practice, trusting that I was skilled enough to work alongside them. That’s where the disadvantages come in. Being qualified meant the nurses/midwives were very unaccepting (for the lack of a better word) of me. They, at first, didn’t believe or trust I was qualified and when I began to perform tasks and use skills they would continuously tell me my practice or judgment was wrong. They then talk about me in Swahili to their colleges making my self-confidence plummet through the floor. That’s when the desire to jump on the next plane home set in. However Pearl warned me of this, she reminded me that it wasn’t malicious it was their culture and I kept that in the back of my mind the entire time. In hindsight this questioning and feeling of being a poor practitioner did wonders for my self-confidence. Confidence not only in myself as a person, but in myself as a midwife. It, strangely enough, made my love for midwifery grow, it made me back myself, trust myself and become my own hype girl because I knew what I was doing was right and I knew I was doing it because I had a burning passion to empower women. Having been trained in a tertiary (level 6) hospital, I was accustomed to clean wards, single rooms, sterile/single use equipment and unlimited resources. Working at the hospital was a big shock to that system. Women labour side by side, sometimes two to a bed. In the Labour Ward there are three beds, no curtains or any attempt to provide privacy. The door is always open. Fetal heart rates are auscultated using a pinnard, ARM’s are performed with broken oxytocin vials. There is really adequate sterile equipment and women have to supply their own cord clamps, congas, sterile gloves, oxytocin, sutures, cotton and more. Although it was a shock and hurdle to practice in such conditions, it was something that I acclimatized too quite quickly and was able to provide the best possible care in the given situation. As mentioned, overall and in hindsight my time at the hospital was an incredible experience. It changed the way I viewed myself as a person, a midwife and a member of this world. It enhanced my love for midwifery and empowered me to use my love, skill, knowledge and now determination to return to a place like the hospital and work to make it better, for both the staff and patients. Walking into Siret Hostel on arrival day was such an overwhelmingly pleasant surprise. My boyfriend and I paid for the private room and it was decorated with so much love it felt like home the moment we entered. It was spacious enough for two people, had a wardrobe, four post double bed with mosquito net, a couch, a universal power board (life saver) and a place for us to store our empty suitcases. The lounge room and dining room at Siret were also decorated with so much love they felt very comfortable and homely. The area was spacious, there were comfortable couches, access to wide range of novels and other books, a very large fridge and freezer for us to use and a water filter. The highlight of my experience was my last shift at the hospital. My travel buddy/boyfriend who is a pre-med student was working in the Minor Theatre however there were no patients. Labour Ward was busy so he came over and experienced labour and birth for the first time. There was just myself and another nurse and within the space of an hour we had three births. The first was very straightforward and he stood and observed. He learnt how and when to give IM oxytocin, how to swaddle and weigh a newborn etc. Quickly after another baby was born, the nurse called me over as the baby was very evidently premature and required full resuscitation. As the nurse and I started compressions on this baby we hear a grunt and both look left to see another woman crowning, quite literally about to deliver. I leave the nurse with the resuscitation and smack on some sterile gloves, I tell Alex to draw up the oxytocin and lay out the congas and he does. The baby is quickly born and in perfect condition (thank goodness). Alex administers IM oxytocin (the first IM injection he’s ever given), and takes the baby to swaddle and weigh it while I deliver the placenta and ensure all blood/clots are expelled. Not many people in this world can say that they delivered a baby with their boyfriend but I can, and that’s something that will make me smile until the day I die. (The premature baby was successfully resuscitated and transferred to NICU at Mt Meru). Go in to this experience with enough knowledge in that you feel prepared, but enough ignorance that you make it the unique experience that it is for each individual. Be prepared, feel supported but remember, ignorance in bliss.

Kathryn Trecartin, Nurse Assistant 2019

USA

"If you want to change lives, JUST DO IT! My reasoning for wanting to volunteer was so that I didn't get used to how healthcare operated in the United States, and only know that for the rest of my life. This trip changed my life. I was able to obtain hands on experience and learn more than I ever thought I would, and use that knowledge and apply it to my practice back home."

March Pienaar, Psychology Student 2019

New Zealand

"I started off my placement through observing psychological assessment, diagnoses and medical treatment. I then partook in the administration of patient details, diagnoses and associated medication. This helped me familiarize myself with the diverse range of medication commonly prescribed. I also showed that I was eager to help, learn and observe during therapy and psycho-education sessions. During the first week, I was invited to attend a radio interview with one of the senior counselors and a local volunteer, where we talked about causes of suicide and suicide prevention. I also showed that I was interested in observing Sister Glory’s occupational therapy sessions, and confronted her on this opportunity; she warmly welcomed me. She raised awareness on the causes of Cerebral Palsy and Jaundice, and how occupational therapy is used to improve symptoms. She used a range of activities and objects such as balls, foam rollers, mats and toys to stimulate infant’s senses, joint movement and improve muscle tone. This was done through stimulating walking, crawling, balance, reaching/ grabbing, neck movement and reflexes. I also observed how patient’s medical history, personal and family history was gathered, along with present factors to diagnose patients with a mental illness. During the second week, I attended more occupational therapy sessions and assisted Sister Glory with the different exercises for each of the infants. With the support and knowledge of Sister Glory, I began to lead some of these exercises. I also attended therapy with Danny; a boy with Autism. Sister Glory explained each of the exercises to be done with him, and how they are used to improve concentration, patience, sharing and social relationships. In addition, how balls, puzzles and massage mats are used for muscle and joint stimulation, relaxation, as well as sensory integration. During my last week of placement, we had a psycho-education session on addiction with clients and their family members. I prepared a small speech about the issues, triggers and strategies used for addiction. We then allowed patients to question and discuss these topics with us. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Siret Hostel; The hostel was very clean, relaxing, spacious and welcoming. I loved sharing a room with other volunteers; we all got along very well and made eachother feel comfortable and at home. This made settling into the new environment very easy, as we could share our experiences and have dinners/ outings together. My suggestions for future volunteers would be to be friendly, open minded, helpful and motivated to learn and step out of their comfort zone. You will be exposed to many cultural differences and some similarities. During these times it is important to reflect on how different health systems, health resources and societal issues influence these factors. It is also important to show and voice that you are eager to learn. This will open doors to new opportunities, such as shadowing occupational therapy and working with Autistic children. Moreover, having an excellent work ethic will help you gain respect from professionals, and to be invited to participate in events such as talking on the radio station about mental health issues, and preparing psycho-education lessons. I absolutely loved my time at Siret Hostel and Mount Meru Mental Health Clinic. I had full support from Pearl throughout my entire placement, and she provided me with adequate knowledge and advice needed to have a safe stay, and make the most of the opportunities my placement had to offer. Although, I have learnt a lot through observing diagnoses and associated medical treatment, counseling and therapy sessions were rare. For future volunteers, more use of therapy would be extremely beneficial for their learning/ development."

Nelli Yildrimyan, Dentist 2019

Turkey

"My placement was at the dentistry ward. I worked with Dr. Minja who was a very kind and modest person. She let me see lots of patients and also let me work at the minor theater as well.  My stay at Siret hostel was totally amazing. I was very concerned about where I would be staying, but my doubts were unnecessary. The rooms and hostel in general is very clean and gets cleaned every day. 7/24 hot water is a major advantage. However what impressed me most was the meals. I cannot appreciate enough the efforts they showed to cook separate meals and adjust the weekly menu just for my dieting preferences and my food allergies (which, I know, is very challenging and even frustrating!). I never felt like an outsider, but instead during the entire stay I felt like home. The highlight of my experience was definitely the trip to the Materuni Waterfall and the Coffee Experience. I believe it is now within top 3 best-days-of-my-life list! I strongly recommend every volunteer to experience that environment. It was beyond words! I can’t thank the Meditrip family enough for this amazing experience!"

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