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9 posts from July 2013


When you leave home

Head shotPost by Vicky Shah from University of Illinois.

I have finally reached my final destination. Home! It's been a long time since I've been home and now that I'm back, all I can think of is Africa. There is no amount of pages or pictures that will ever truly reflect the things that I saw and the things that changed me.
However, during my 33-hour trip back home, I gave some thought to lessons I could take from my time in Africa.

Getting lost forced me to talk to strangers and to trust people. We as a society have always been taught not to talk to strangers; however, you'll be surprised at how amazing and sweet people can be.
Image0032. BLEND IN
I took a Setswana language course while in Africa and I used it as much as I could! I stumbled and fought my way through sentences in clinics and memorized phrases like my life depended on it. You might look stupid in the beginning, but trust me, it works.

I had initially thought that I was going to come back to America with a renewed sense of appreciation for everything I have here. But I was surprised to find myself missing things from Africa. I miss the hospitality of the people, the food, the culture, the simplicity of it all.
You learn things by just listening. Sometimes the things I would hear at clinics would make me angry, other times I felt a sense of humility. At the end of the day, it's one way to immerse yourself in the culture of the country you're in and a way to delve into the lives of the people you come into contact with.

I think I need to reiterate this point because in Africa, everything goes by African time. Meetings can be delayed by hours and no one is in a rush to go anywhere. People walk slow, talk slow, bathe slow ...etc. etc.
It was a process for me to get used to this because I have lived in a world where every second must be used purposefully. What is the point in running? So I can get somewhere 5 minutes early? This world has been around for billions of years. It can wait another few minutes for you.

When I volunteered at the orphanage, I saw kids who loved so much. They are the happiest individuals I have ever seen in my life. The conditions they lived in were of no consequence. The more they loved, the happier they were. Image0017. LIVE A LITTLE
"Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die tomorrow."
One of my favorite quotes! Do something you wouldn't generally do. Get outside of your bubble/box/square/house. It's amazing the amount of exhilaration and excitement you can feel. It's also a great opportunity for growth. (keep it legal folks)Image0078. BE FLEXIBLE
Some of the coolest things I experienced were by chance and by mistake. This particular lesson is also really important when traveling in general. Always expect the worst and take things in stride. It will be OK.


When you leave home…….

Just try it. Take a chance, and once you’ve traveled, you’ll be able to finish lesson #9 in your own words.

My week in the Extension 2 Clinic

400937_2554958842276_1503090363_32373186_2108147014_nPost by Jamiecia Love from The University of Tennessee

During the summer program we shadow in the clinics Monday thru Thursday from 8 A.M. until midday. This blog recaps my time at the Extension 2 clinic. The clinic is about a fifteen minute walk from campus. It is located on the out skirts of the main mall.

WP_20130707_001During my time there I shadowed a nurse, took patient vitals, worked in the dispensary, and shadowed in the laboratory. The laboratory at Extension 2 is where all the labs from every clinic in Gaborone except for one send their laboratory samples to get tested. Also in the laboratory is where they do the blood drawing of patients for Extension 2. Most of the lab processes are computerised.

6a010536fa9ded970b017d3cd1e2d0970c-800wiDuring my time in the dispensary the dispensing machine was broken. The pills were counted and distributed in little pill bags by hand. The pharmacist gave me about six to eight jars of a drug that is similar to Tylenol. Each jar contained one thousand pills. I had to put 18 pills in each pill bag. After filling the bags, I then had to label them. I also had to pack and label a sexual transmitted disease antibiotic. In the antibiotic bag, I had to put forty-two pills in each bag from four of the thousand pill jars. I also filled bottle of cough medicine. I packed and labeled about a total of twelve thousand pills and filled and labeled fifty cough syrup bottles over the span of two days. I was compensated for my hard work with a fat cake!

Taking vitals are standard at every clinic. The patient comes in, and their temperature, weight, and blood pressure. If it is a baby, the temperature is taken and the weight is taken in the child welfare room. I was surprised by how many people had extremely high blood pressures.

Shadowing the nurse at Extension 2 was the coolest day at the clinic. First I watched her do dressings. One person came in with a wound from a pole that punctured him in the middle of the chest! He had a hole literally the size of two fingers in the middle of his chest. Another person came in with his distal phalanx bone sticking out of his finger. I was also surprised at how many people came in with hot water burns.

Camera1 040After dressings we went to the injection room. After she finished the injections she moved to the vitals room. A patient then came in with fibrous on her uterus and we had to transport her to the Princess Marina hospital (The largest referral hospital in the country). I was able to get front seat in the ambulance and also help get the patient situated and on the patient list in the emergency room at Princess Marina.

Camera1 042That was a great end to a good clinical week!


Goodbye Gaborone!

Image005Post by Emily Brincka from American University

As people in the program leaving July 15th begin their journeys home, it has finally hit me that my time in Botswana is coming to an end. At our final farewell dinner at Mokolodi Nature Reserve, the site of our program orientation almost seven weeks ago, the program came full circle, and that evening marked the last time that everyone in the program will be in the same room before some depart for home, others for the Okavango Delta, and several for independent travel after the program.Image001Spending the majority of my summer in Botswana has certainly had its challenges. When I took a cab back to my homestay this past week, the cab driver remembered me by saying, "You were the one whose neighborhood I drove around for awhile a few weeks ago when you were lost and didn't know how to get home," reminding me that it took me almost a full week until I figured out how to direct a taxi driver to my homestay. Apart from learning how to navigate Gabs and the combi system, understanding that finding a bathroom with toilet paper and soap would be a luxury, the numerous power outages, communication with people who speak limited English and who refer to you as "lekgoa" or "English," and adaptation to a diet of starches and limited vegetables, have also proven challenging.Image007Despite my craving for things I have missed most from America like Chipotle, cupcakes,  and a "real" shower (just to name a few), it's going to be difficult to leave a culture and a host family that have contributed to an unforgettable experience in Gaborone. The hospitality of random strangers who I have only met briefly, but who want to make sure Americans feel welcome in Botswana has been unparalleled. The efforts by my host mom to make sure I feel at home by cooking freshly baked diphaphata and fat cakes and fresh, home-cooked meals after a long day of clinics and classes, have gone beyond the call of duty for someone who has welcomed me into their home for seven weeks, and who has truly treated me as a member of the family. Lastly, the passion for helping others that many health workers in the clinics in both Gaborone and Kanye possess serve as an inspiration to continue to pursue a career in public health.Image009There are two more sets of goodbyes left (one for my host family and one for the group of people going to the Okavango Delta) before heading back to America. Over the past seven weeks, Botswana has challenged me beyond the limits of my comfort zone, but in doing so, a part of Botswana will always be with me, and most importantly, I will always have two homes to return to here.Image003

Bathroom adventures in Kanye

Image002Post by Komal Ramzanali from The University of Texas at Austin

Image007The CIEE summer public health group of 27 students, including myself, traveled to a village named Kanye in southern Botswana. Although it was not what I was expecting in the least bit, I still managed to have an excellent week!

From what I have learned, Kanye is a village of 47,000 people covering a vast area. Kanye has a somewhat large problem with water shortages. During my stay in Kanye, it was difficult to get used to having minimal to no access to tap water. This meant brushing my teeth and washing my hands with either bottled water or with the water that my host mom saved up for water shortages.It’s still a mystery to me how she manages to save any water for shortages because even when the water is running it’s at a very low pressure. Did I mention we didn’t even have a sink? Image003The most difficult part of having no water is, you guessed it, taking a bath. Now, I’m no expert at bath taking but there are a few components that you need to take a bath- soap and an adequate amount of water. If you’re lucky, you might even get a bucket or two! My first bath was kind of a wreck. The water didn’t warm well because my host mom tried to use the geyser (unsuccessfully) to warm it up even though she usually warms it on the fire. No big deal though.

Image005Oddly enough, I managed to get myself locked in my host mom’s bathroom just hours after meeting her. My host mom changed the locks to the bathroom because she lost her key, so she doesn’t close the door in the bathroom. However, she failed to tell me this so when I closed the door to take a bath, all hell broke lose. It took me about an hour to get the door open when I magically got the screwdriver to fit inside the doorframe at an angle that would release the lock just enough for me to get out. Well, that was an experience but don’t worry, the rest of my week went really well! 

My host mom and I were the only two living in the house together so we had a lot of time to get to know each other, especially without Internet and the occasional electricity outage. She has such a sweet heart and was just waiting for someone to share her time with! One of my favorite parts of the village homestay was when a few of us took a tour of the village. Although this sounds self explanatory, I was really surprised at the natural beauty that lies within the village! We went to the top of the hill and saw a breathtaking view of the village along with two gorges and the dam. It was gorgeous and really gave a new beautiful perspective of my home in Kanye. My host mom and I got so close she even called me in Gaborone to make sure I got home safely! Overall, a great experience! Image009

From the dorms to a homestay

Image009Post by Janine Appleton from University of New Hampshire

During our fifth week in Botswana, our group was given the opportunity to do a weeklong homestay in Kanye, a village a little over an hour south of Gaborone.  During this week, we had the pleasure of meeting local Batswana people, absorbing their rich culture as well as experiencing work in more rural clinics.  This was an interesting change for us dorm kids as we have been a touch bit more sheltered from the environment, food, traditions, and way of life in Botswana compared to the kids who are already living with host families.

We left Gabs on Sunday morning, heading for Kayne and upon arrival, we picked our host families.  I was assigned to Mr. and Mrs. Kooslaetse, a lovely elder couple whom are heavily involved in the community.  We drove down the road to my new home and I was greeted by two of their children, my brother, 26, and my new sister, 22. Image005Driving through the village, my eyes were opened to the more rural aspect of these communities with cows sprawled about the roads, small huts and outdoor bathrooms.  At the house, I was greeted by a lack of running water and an almost immediate power outage.  That night, I had one of my first experiences with the local food, a personally hand slaughtered goat with their staples of rice, maize, and some veggies.  It was quite different compared to my pasta dinners which I make in the dorms every night. 

Image003The following mornings, I was greeted at 6:30AM by our driver Tebo who picked each of us up individually and drove us to our clinics.  Our group arrived at our clinic, Mafhikana, a little past 8 AM.  While there, we met three American nursing students from California.  Although it was great to see fellow Americans and be able to converse, they had taken over every task that we had been prepped for.  This left the five of us wandering aimlessly in the small clinic each day.  The clinics were quite different from those in Gabs, for instance, running water was not easily accessible and sanitation was definitely lacking.  The clinics were quite empty as there seemed to be a plethora of services, as well as a local hospital, thusly contributing to a low volume influx of patients. Image001On the third day, I went to Kanye Main clinic with another group to see how the clinics differed across the town.  There, I was able to assist in a few circumcisions and observe a more active and faster paced clinic that was better suited to deal with higher numbers of patients and more severe cases. 

Image007On Monday and Wednesday, we were picked up from the clinics and delivered to our Setswana class which was located at one of the homestay houses.  This was the final week of classes before all of our finals, so we did practice dialogues.  The other days, I went out with my host family to local dams, gorges, and political gatherings. On our last day, our group was lucky enough to be invited to a wedding where we were able to partake in the distribution of meals and socialize with the guests.  It was a very traditional occasion and a stark contrast in comparision compared to the lavish and usually more personable weddings in the States. 

Returning to Gabs was well awaited as was the thought of showering…I’m not sure I’ll ever get use to the idea of baths…but the week was very refreshing and an amazing experience.  It was really fascinating to see how the lifestyles differ per region of Botswana and to indulge myself in cultural variations which have helped sculpt truly remarkable and unique memories. 


Play time in Old Naledi!

SAM_1809Post by Emily Roberts from University of Iowa

This Monday was a national holiday in Botswana, so after spending a week in Kanye, we went to go volunteer at a Trust at Old Naledi that caters to the neighborhood kids that come to the Trust to receive meals and do activities. Old Naledi is the neighborhood where I spent the first week of clinicals so I thought I knew the area pretty well, but actually spending time outside the clinic doors and with so many under privileged kids made me see it in a whole new light. 1064164_10201430204783136_940617249_o
I had heard about this type of volunteering experience from some of those in our group who had gone to Old Naledi before, but I really had no idea what to expect. I love little kids so I was really hoping there would be some little ones to play with, and boy were there a lot of them!
We arrived about an hour and forty-five minutes late (no surprise there, I'm astonished I still somewhat expect our transport to arrive on time) to the area where we would be setting up activities with the kids. We were all immediately jumped on by dozens of kids--the younger ones grabbing at our hands and the older ones wanting to know our names and play with our hair. 

Some of my favorite memories include painting the kids' faces (most of the boys wanted to be lions and that was the only animal I could semi-successfully create). Abigail and I got to play with an especially cute little girl whose mom wanted to get her face painted. This little girl was not having it though. Every time Abigail attempted to put the face paint crayon on her she would immediately either turn her head quickly or put up a hand to say "no way hosay!"It was no surprise that almost every single kid whose face we painted, and even those who were just hanging around watching, wanted their picture taken. 1053519_10201430142221572_258589119_oAll the infatuation with cameras reminded me of a book I read where this one NGO (I know this is extremely descriptive, but I'm drawing a blank on the name) would go into rural villages around the world and give kids and adults cameras to take pictures with. The cameras were used in a way to get a sense of how a certain population viewed their own lives and what they found most valuable. In the end, each family got to keep a picture of their entire family as a keepsake (in most cases this was the only time they had actually seen themselves all together in years). Remembering this story, I couldn't help but wonder if these kids really just wanted to see what they themselves looked like or if they had ever really seen themselves in a mirror before. 1039557_10201430186062668_141092196_oWhen the kids weren't grabbing for our cameras, many of them simply just looked up at us and asked to be held which was probably my single favorite thing I did that entire day. Most of the kids I held were very quiet and it was apparent to me that perhaps they don't get this type of affection or even physical closeness at home. I held them as long as they wanted to be held or until one pooped on me or started spitting up her bottle (yep, you read that right). 1003687_10151715072415081_1458120142_n

Towards the end of our time at Old Naledi we prepared lunch for all the kids. The meal consisted of various colored hotdogs (yes, some hotdogs were regularly colored but others were oddly pink and red...) that we prepared and served in buns that were slathered with butter--sounds delicious I know. We also gave them watered down, really sweet juice, an orange, and a surprisingly tasty little candy. I had to remember that this was the only meal that these kids would eat for at least 12 hours, but I couldn't help but think how much I wanted to give them an apple and some peanut butter instead. It was really at that moment stuffing all the hotdogs that I wished I could do more to help in a more substantial way. Reason to come back and stay longer in Southern Africa? I think so!  

A Village called Kanye

IMG_7364Post by Sif Nave from St. Catherine University

Kanye is a HUGE village (47-49,000 people - I kept hearing different numbers, so there's a range) about an hour outside of Gabs.  The countryside is GORGEOUS there.  The village (which should be called a city) is nestled in the hills, where every sunrise and sunset is uniquely lovely.  There wasn't much to do there in all sincerity; or rather, there was plenty to do, but limited access to actually doing it.  The whole group was spread out throughout the village (which as I've said, is large) and we were dependent on one form of transportation (a hired combi driver who picked us up and dropped us off at our clinics and at home).

We were in Kanye from Sunday, June 23rd, to Sunday June 30th.  All of us were paired up with Kanye host families.  My host mom was called Gloria, and Gloria's granddaughter, Refilwe, lived with us.  She was 13 or 14, in junior high school; very pretty and kind of quiet.  I wish I'd gotten a chance to take a photo of her, but she went out of town before I left so I missed my opportunity!  However, I do have photos of Gloria, as well as Blondie, who I've determined to be my dog-away-from home.

IMG_6720"Domesticated" animals in Africa are nothing like pets in the U.S.  Most of the dogs and cats I see are strays, and very few of them have any interest whatsoever in engaging with humans (outside of digging through their garbage to salvage scraps).  I've seen and heard dog packs roaming at night, as well as heard potentially fatal dog fights.  And rabies is endemic in Botswana, so I wouldn't mosey around trying to pet every dog I see. BUT, Blondie is a lap dog.  Blondie is a jump-on-you-and-lick-your-face dog.  And therefore:  Blondie is the best.

Tabo (our awesome hired driver) picked us up in the mornings (often an hour later than he told us to be ready) and took us to our designated clinics.  Our clinic was pretty boring, to be quite frank.  There was a disproportionate medical staff to patient ratio, but it was converse to the ratio in most Gabs clinics.  In Gaborone, most of the clinics I've worked in have had a limited number of medical staff with vastly larger numbers of patients.  In Kanye, our clinic was practically (sometimes completely) empty. 

IMG_7630I helped out in consultation, maternity, and the dispensary, but it seemed like I was of little use no matter where I was. At one point, in maternity, I had three people hanging over my shoulder, telling me what to write down on a sheet of paper.  There were three staff members in the room, plus Vicki, myself, and the mother and child patient.  It was unnecessary, not to mention claustrophobic.  I only needed assistance from one individual.  But I digress:  I spent most of my time in the dispensary because it actually gave me tasks to accomplish.  I located and distributed medications to patients, as well as counted & organized pills into take-away packages.  Super exciting, no?  But I also got to know my clinical group a little better, and that was great.  Vicki and I had an hour-long conversation about books, for example.  AND, on the last day when there was nothing left to do, I got tested for HIV!

Let me reassure you:  There is absolutely no grounds for getting tested in my case.  I'd have no reason to be infected.  But, I wanted to see how the test works, and hey:  Being positive that you're NOT positive never hurts.  Well, actually, it does.  But it's just a finger prick, so you'll get over it. Basically, they prick your finger, they draw a little bit of blood, and they put it on a little plate which seems to be lined with some kind of litmus paper (or something like it).  Then they mix a buffer chemical with your blood and as the litmus sheet gets wet, red lines start to appear on the sheet.  If there's one red line:  Congrats, you're HIV negative!  If there's two:  Masepa, bro.  You best get treated. 

After clinicals, Tabo would pick us up and take us to Choppies/Chicken Licken to grab lunch.  My host mom usually sent me with a banana, and then I'd find a cheap meat pie or something at the grocery store.  There was a cute little cafe/bar just down the street from Choppies (okay, a teeny bit further than that, a few blocks) that a couple of us wandered into early on.  They had drinks on the cheaper side for Bots (liquor here is expensive!) and I tried a tasty Smirnoff wine cooler.  I also chased a cute feral kitten.  But I had no success in catching it.

Other than wandering around the central vicinity of Choppies, I spent a lot of time just hanging with Muijj near my house.  We walked up the road one day and found this rocky overlook with a fantastic view of Kanye.  Honestly, there wasn't much to it, but it was special.  Definitely a spot worth returning to.  IMG_7847My host mom was very welcoming and generous.  She served Muijj dinner twice, and she didn't have to.  Not only that, but it was DELICIOUS.  Usually when there's a hunk of white stuff on your plate, it's pap.  Pap is kind of like grits (which I've never had, but people keep saying that's what it resembles).  My real mom calls it "pure carbohydrate."  But anyway, the point is Gloria put a hunk of white stuff on our plates, and it WAS NOT pap.  It was MASHED POTATOES.  And in honor of her name, they were GLORIOUS.  Serious. 

IMG_8173With the dry winter season in Botswana, water shortages can hit hard.  Gabs has been fine, but in Kanye sometimes the water was off for more than a day.  They had a water tank behind the house, but otherwise we'd stock up on water when it was turned on.  There were bottles full of it in the fridge, and if I wanted to bathe, Gloria would fill a bucket from the tank, boil it, and dump it in the bathtub.  I discovered that having access to full baths in Gabs was actually a luxury (honestly, when I got home from Kanye, I sat in the tub for like an hour letting the dirt flake off my skin!) and when I get home (to MN)  I'll probably find the shower to be the greatest luxury of all - next to the Internet. 

The final event in Kanye was a wedding, Saturday morning.  Liz's host mom invited all of us to come, and though it started off a bit awkward and slow for us makgoa foreigners, it was worth staying for.  Some of us sliced up cow innards, we all served up food to the guests and got to eat ourselves, and there was a DJ playing music that we all danced to.  Nitin swore he wouldn't dance in the beginning, but he ended up having a voracious old lady for a dance partner. IMG_8002

Lessons from a white African!

GratzPost by Kelsey Gratz from the University of Minnesota

Gaborone is my place. I swear I am an African born in a white person's body. Everybody is very relaxed and goes with the flow. The only exception is traffic- the rule here is: you don't let anybody in, not even if it’s your Mom. My knuckles are white from clutching the door handle so hard.

Here’s what I’ve learned about Gaborone so far:

1. There are absolutely no trashes cans anywhere. Therefore, I currently have been putting all of my wrappers, q-tips, etc. into a plastic bag and storing it in my suitcase so my host mom doesn't see it and ask me what I am doing. I'm still not sure what she and Bonno do with their trash.

2. Everything beeps. I am pretty sure there is a low battery beeping warning that occurs right outside of our classroom. And you would not believe that it has been going off for THREE days now. It drives me insane! The same is true for other types of beeping noises that happen for God knows what. Just an on-going beeping noise all the time in either cabs, school, etc.

3. The power goes out a couple times a week. There are power shortages in Gabs therefore the Power company (BPC) turns it off every Wednesday at the University from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. to try to reduce power demand. The first night I got here the power went out in the hotel so I met everyone in the dark, showered in the dark, and ate in the dark.

4. It isn’t weird to see several cattle roaming the streets on your way to the clinics, school, etc. Add chickens, donkeys and a couple hundred stray dogs to that list as well. I once asked William where the owner is of all these cows. He laughed at me. Nothing new there.

5. The goats here are pedestrians and they use the crosswalks. I am not even kidding you! They go to graze by themselves I guess and use the crosswalks along the way. I still don’t really get it but it’s true. I have witnessed it happening several times.

6. Roosters do not just crow when the sun rises, but all through the darn day!

7. There is a black market for hair. Everyone here buys hair and gets it woven into braids or dreads. Someone told me that my hair could sell for up to $150. I’m really considering it… In which case I would probably cut all my hair off. We’ll see though.

8. The music here is way better than anything you’ll find in the states.

This experience has been amazing so far and I am so honored to be a part of it. Not a lot has happened this week, as I am now more accustomed to using the transportation and figuring out my class schedule.

And finally, here are a couple of pictures that I have taken from my time here in Gabs so far.

IMG_0321Some kids on their way home from school in the village of Molepolole where we attended a traditional wedding

IMG_0097Where I shower... keep in mind I wash my hair with the same bath water I wash my body with. Everything's "recycled."

IMG_0333My host mom, Wame

IMG_0319A man in the Molepolole village who asked me to take his picture!

Home Based Care

Image002Post by Nitin Agrawal from Rice University

This week, I worked at Block 9 clinic. The week, for the most part, went on relatively normally compared to the other weeks. Of course, normal in Africa is not the same normal as in back in the United States. However, on Wednesday of Week 4, I got to observe something unique and different: home based care. 

Image004Block 9 Clinic, also known as Julia Molefhe Clinic

A physiotherapist that I had met at another clinic invited me on a 5-hour journey that would become one of my most interesting clinical experiences. The physiotherapist, when he invited me on the trip, explained to me that he, a nurse and a driver go around every Wednesday to patients who cannot come to the clinics for various reasons. The three of them took a combi that had been converted into a makeshift vehicle to carry some medical supplies and 4 passengers.


I didn't take a picture of the actual combi we used but basically it looked like this with the two backseat rows taken out to make room for medical supplies 

We embarked from the Block 9 clinic at around 8:30am and would not come back until 1pm. During that time, we saw 8 patients in various locations including Extension 2, Block 8 and Mogoditshane. During my time at the clinics, it was disheartening to see that some of the nurses and doctors gave off a rather uncaring and apathetic attitude towards their patients. However, the nurse and physiotherapist I was with were very caring with the patients. For every patient, they greeted each person in the house and made small, ice breaker type conversation in order to make the patient more comfortable. I greatly welcomed the change in attitude I saw.  Image010

An example of some of what some of the house we went to looked like. Some were smaller while others were bigger than this. We went to patients of different socio-economic backgrounds.

I saw several stroke patients in different stages of their recovery. One patient, only 6 years old, was completely confined to a wheelchair and had very limited, if any, movement in the limbs. While it was heartbreaking to see a child in such a state, it was even more heart wrenching to hear the conversation between the physiotherapist and caretaker of the child stroke victim. It was evident that the caretaker had not been doing the recommended exercises for the child necessary to facilitate limb movement. The caretaker was simply negligent. Some patients seemed to have negligent caretakers while others had competent and genuinely concerned caretakers.  It was very sad to see the former because this meant the patient was not given the opportunity to recover as best as possible. One of the saddest cases I saw was a 3-year-old child with a head of 80 centimeters in diameter. Seeing the child but knowing nothing could be done to help her because of surgery complications was extremely heart wrenching. Image013

Another example of a type of house we went to during the journey

Overall, seeing the various patients in their homes was a different experience. I was very fortunate to learn a lot about the home based patient care system from the medical professionals during the 5 hour trip. The more I learned, the more hope I gained in the Botswana public health service. Even with low funds, the concept of going to patients’ homes to give care restored faith for me in the public health system.