And another reflection from Katelyn

Today the team had a great day at PCOE (Pediatric Center of Excellence) and two separate Special Hope Network compounds. To begin we took a tour of PCOE, which is part of the pediatric department of the University Teaching Hospital. PCOE initially specialized in HIV/AIDS, then furthered their services to accommodate the needs of the children they see. Next our team split into two groups and tackled two separate compounds with Special Hope Network employees to screen the hearing of over 50 children. Overall, every team member gained a lot of knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS, the healthcare system in Zambia, and hearing screenings.

As PCOE has developed, they conduct a variety of consultations; such as OT, physio, child neurology, child early intervention groups, child early learning groups, speech therapy, HIV evals for mothers and infants, counseling for sexual abuse, and pharmaceuticals. After our tour to see each programs’ room we listened to a presentation regarding HIV/AIDS, the neurological effects of HIV, and the developmental intervention clinic (DIC). Lastly, we created schedule cards and narrative stories for the speech therapy sessions, early intervention groups, and early learning groups.

During the presentation, my eyes were opened to the many aspects HIV plays in a child’s life. First, Alice, the Director of the DIC shared some statistics about Zambia. We learned that of the 14 million people in Zambia, 50% are under the age of 15 and 17% are under 5. As I looked around at my classmates, I could see wide eyes and mouths opened. This number surprised me, and made me reflect on my cultural awareness as in America our elderly population is growing. In 2013, the Zambian government drafted an early child development policy, which is very exciting to hear as early intervention is key for child development. Lastly, another interesting aspect of the presentation included the steps taken at the developmental intervention clinic of the PCOE. The process includes referrals (self or hospital), intake, neurological assessment, therapy assessment, intervention, and outreach. This process is incredibly thorough.

While observing the early learning group, the OT fused OT activities and speech/language activities. The group included the child, their caregiver, and two therapists. During the session each child had the chance to select a song to sing together, rolled play-doh like they would for nshima, and colored a picture. Each song had hand motions to enhance gross and fine motor skills. Also, during each activity such as rolling the play-doh and coloring the picture there would be a song. The OT said there was a song for each activity to allow maximal auditory input in hopes the child would develop words or speech sounds. The therapists at PCOE are clearly making an impact on these children’s lives. Throughout the session, I observed an extraordinary amount of patience, wisdom, and care. These images will forever be in my memory to reflect upon.

Our next adventure lead us to a Special Hope Network compound where we conducted hearing screenings for over 50 children and a few adults. Most of the children had an intellectual or physical disability and a heart made of pure gold. The amount of patience the caretaker and children had while waiting to get a hearing screening spoke to my heart. Many of the caretakers did not even realize the details of the screening, and were quick to leave after one test. The little things in life like waiting in line for 15-30 minutes at a fast food restaurant, doctor’s office, or bathroom irritate me, but seeing these individuals waiting without grumbling makes me reflect on my actions. As the week progresses, I see more and more situations I am learning from and taking away valuable lessons.

Reflecting upon today as well as the previous days, I joyfully pronounce how close our team has become. I could not imagine experiencing SLHS in Zambia with any other group of people. With great guidance, we have experienced and learned many things as well as helped organizations or spent quality time with children who will always have a piece of my heart, even if I do not know their name.

Thursday May 28: Student reflection from Jennifer

Today, we went to PCOE, Pediatric Center Of Excellence – which was a center initially focused on HIV and AIDS but expanded its services once they realized the need for other services.  We were fortunate enough to receive a tour of the place. I was quite impressed by the amount of things that were done there. Ranging from neurology, male circumcisions, speech, physio, and occupational therapy, to pharmacies, consultations, and sexual abuse check ups and consultations as well as early intervention group therapies for children with autism, and many more! The parents of children with HIV had to come in for a consultation to make sure that they were giving their children the correct medication. During the consultation, they had to bring in the medicine so they could check how many pills were taken and left since they were distributed. Then, they were asked to explain how frequently they were giving the medication along with the correct dosage.. Since the center wants to reduce the amount of HIV/AIDs in Zambia, I was impressed how they went the extra mile to ensure quality for the children and families. For example, when an individual is referred to another facility or department they call the family to make sure that they have reached the next destination to get the correct treatment they needed.

We were then presented a HIV/AIDs presentation by Alice and Sister Ornella and learned that all their services are free of charge to their patients. The facility sees about 1,200 patients a month, which means they see more than 14,000 patients a year – which is awesome because so many individuals utilize this facility! We were split up into rotations, and on my first rotation I worked on creating and laminating cards for communication boards and narratives stories for children at PCOE.

Making AAC materials at PCOE

Making AAC materials at PCOE

On my second rotation, I got to see a neurology consultation. The neurologist saw a child who had cerebral palsy and epilepsy. They talked about which types of medication to take and make sure they go through the process and meet with the pharmacist. She also was able to talk about the Complete Blood Count (CBC) Test results along with the Electroencephalogram (EEG) results. It was a great experience to see the differences between the PCOE at University Teaching Hospital in Zambia and compare it to the hospitals back in the U.S. I definitely learned a lot at PCOE about their facility, HIV/AIDs awareness and their services that they provide to the community of Lusaka, Zambia.

Later in the day after lunch, we went to Special Hope Network. When we arrived at our assigned compounds, there were families waiting outside the facility to get screened. They were waiting patiently and when we arrived, they didn’t rush or get angry with us when we were setting up our equipment or had technical difficulties with our OAE machines. They were very polite and understanding  – it was very admirable, especially since sometimes we couldn’t perform a hearing screening because the child was crying or moving a lot.

The parents didn’t ask many questions but they were very understanding even though we had to refer some families to Beit Cure after waiting in long lines to get tested. I was very impressed by the cultural courtesies of Zambians. Comparing it to the U.S, I feel that people here in Zambia are very patient, polite and take things slowly (except for driving, of course). I definitely enjoyed the environment that we were placed in at The Special Hope Network, as there were lots of patients to see but none of the patients were impatient or tried to rush us after waiting so long. With the help of the graduate students, Katie and Gabby, at our compound –  I feel that I am learning how to perform otoscopy and test/use the OAE machines better each day that we perform hearing screenings. I am definitely excited that I am getting more experience using the equipment and being exposed to the clinical settings of audiology. I am very excited for our day tomorrow at Beit Cure and for the rest of the experiences we will have during our stay here in Zambia!

Team at SHN N'Gombe Compound

Team at SHN N’Gombe Compound

UNZA photos from yesterday…..

It appears that I am a day late with blogs now, but here are some photos from our day at the UNZA campus yesterday!

First to meet her buddy! Katelyn and Bessey

First to meet her buddy! Katelyn and Bessey

Group outside the UNZA Library

Group outside the UNZA Library

Gabby and Meckson

Gabby and her buddy Meckson

Kate and her buddy Robert

Kate and her buddy Robert

Danielle and an UNZA student; although her buddy could not be there we had plenty of extra interested students!

Danielle and an UNZA student; although her buddy could not be there we had plenty of extra interested students!

Practical training!

Practical experience!

And more practical experience!

And more practical experience!

Buddies wearing the shirts we brought them! :)

Jennifer and Chisama

Jennifer and Chisama who so quickly helped set up our equipment

Lauren and her buddy

Lauren and her buddy

Jenn and Carol

Jenn and Carol who was so kind to take us to her dorm room and show us a bit more of the campus before we left!

And finally, Muchanga – the UNZA student who has helped us facilitated the pairing of the buddies and e-mail exchange for the past couple of months leading up to our trip!

Muchanga and Connor

Muchanga and Connor

UNZA decided that all students who attended would receive certificates of attendance!

Certificate of attendance!

Certificate of attendance!

A Day at UNZA!

Today was a very busy day again and we have an early morning start tomorrow- so I am posting a blog from a student about today and hope to add more later….

From Lauren:

Today was our second full day in Zambia and we visited The University of Zambia. I was very excited to meet my buddy Kalunga and tour their campus. It was clear on the bus ride over that I was not the only one who was really looking forward to today’s activities. Once we arrived at the University we were greeted by one of the UNZA students and escorted to a conference room. From there we were introduced to the head of the Department of Special Education and the standing in dean of students. Both of their welcoming addresses were very positive and exciting and made our team feel at home.

After briefly returning to the conference room some of our buddies started to arrive and we were given a campus tour. The campus was truly beautiful; there was a lot of greenery and open spaces. For the first time since arriving we all felt a sense of familiarity in the way that we could relate and feel like UNZA was just another college campus.

After our tour we were introduced to many more students in the Special Ed department and I was finally able to meet my buddy! It was an amazing feeling to be able to put a face to a name after communicating for so long via email. Once we were all back in the conference room we were given a presentation by the head of the department about how the college was formed, what kinds of classes the students take, and the directions the department hopes to grow in, in the near future. This was very helpful to hear and very interesting to see some overlap in curriculum, yet also notice the difference in our education.

Following this session we gave our presentation on AAC. The UNZA students responded very positively to the suggestions we provided after hearing their feedback one on one. I felt like we really made an impact on their future classrooms and children. After the presentation we had some time to help make some of the items we talked about like a narrative story, which can help improve a behavior that the teacher wishes to change in a positive and effective way.

Next it was time for lunch outside with our buddies. This was my favorite part of the day because it gave us all a chance to enjoy the beauty of their campus while talking to our buddies face to face and getting to know fun things about each other. We found out that Kate’s buddy Robert has a passion for music and was a very relatable person.

The last part of our day was giving our hearing presentation and getting some time to work with the students one on one with the hearing equipment. This was another highlight for me because we got to show the students how to use the equipment and help them do a mini hearing screening of their own.

We closed our day with a campus tour from Jen’s buddy. She was very kind and showed us her dorm room, the women’s dorms, the artwork from the art students, and more beautiful greenery. This is where I truly realized how unique each college campus is and I felt so lucky to get a small glimpse of the UNZA student’s lives. I know I was not the only member of the team who felt very moved by these students and could personally relate to them on some type of level. Although it was pressuring to lecture and teach peers our own age, we all left feeling accomplished and like we had made a lasting impact, but more a importantly lasting friendship with these students. We all hope to continue to communicate with our buddies and can’t wait for the farewell dinner with them next week.

Lauren and Kalunga

Lauren and Kalunga

May 26: A Day at Kabulonga Cheshire Homes

Today was our first working day for the SLHS in Zambia 2015 program and it was at Cheshire Homes. This is my fourth time visiting the facilities, and the third group of students from Purdue who have had the privilege to interact with the remarkable children and staff at Cheshire!

In the morning we divided into groups with students providing hearing screenings to the 30 children with a variety of physical disabilities and also interacting with them, providing some sign language fun, reading, singing and fun play activities.

Jennifer and Danielle interacting with the children

Jennifer and Danielle interacting with the children

Katelyn and Connor leading the sign language activity

Katelyn and Connor leading the sign language activity

Hearing screening: Lauren and Gabby

Hearing screening: Lauren and Gabby

Hearing screening: Jennifer and Kate

Hearing screening: Jennifer and Kate

Hearing screening: Jenn and Katelyn

Hearing screening: Jenn and Katelyn

Hearing screening: Connor and Katie

Hearing screening: Connor and Katie

Hearing screening: Danielle and Katelyn

Hearing screening: Danielle and Katelyn

After a quick lunch we set up our awesome little handheld projector that we purchased just for this program a few weeks ago and were ready to provide a professional development training on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) which surely can help several of the children who have difficulty with verbal communication.

Connor demonstrating an activities chart

Connor demonstrating an activities chart

Jennifer demonstrating a communication strip

Jennifer demonstrating a communication strip

Gabby demonstrating an eye gaze board

Gabby demonstrating an eye gaze board

Katie demonstrating how a non-verbal child can participate in a repetitive book reading

Katie demonstrating how a non-verbal child can participate in book reading with a repetitive phrase

Danielle demonstrating the use of the Big Mack switch

Danielle demonstrating the use of the Big Mack switch

Katelyn demonstrating an app

Katelyn demonstrating an app

Kate demonstrating a narrative story

Kate demonstrating a narrative story

Jenn demonstrating market cards

Jenn demonstrating market cards

Lauren sharing how we made all the low-tech AAC devices

Lauren sharing how we made all the low-tech AAC devices

Although there were only 5 staff members who could attend the presentation, the students did a fantastic job with their presentations!!! Way to go Team Zambia 2015!!! The presentation did give some ideas to the staff who requested some materials which the students quickly and efficiently prepared for them! We hope that Cheshire Homes will find the items useful and continue to use AAC with their kids to improve and enhance communication!!

Team work!! Making personalized AAC materials for the staff too help their children

Team work!! Making personalized AAC materials for the staff to help their children

A busy and exhausting day – but we were not nearly done yet!!!

Team Zambia 2015 with Sr. Petronella and Ian at the end of a good day at Kabulonga Cheshire Homes

Team Zambia 2015 with Sr. Petronella and Ian at the end of a good day at Kabulonga Cheshire Homes

We stopped at Manda Hill Mall and did a little more shopping. The students picked up fruit and snack for lunches while we FINALLY were able to get wifi dongles that work – YAY!! Thanks to the dongle I was able to upload so many photos easily to the blog :) – EVERY student is shown during hearing screening and AAC presentation!!!!

Back to the lodge after dinner at the mall and we met again for our pow-wow. Today’s discussion included:

  • First a big “congratulations” to the students for working as a team today and doing a great job!!
  • An early indication of cultural acceptance today when a car whizzed by us in the parking lot and a student remarked, “That’s something to get used to”! J
  • Students commented on how the children, though having difficulty themselves, helped each other
  • Also on how happy the children were no matter their disability
  • How they did not seem so “disabled” at all because they were so independent and scooted around as they could to the best of their ability
  • How the children knew and followed the rules
  • They commented on how most of the children were very cooperative for the hearing screening
  • And how they felt it was a very productive day since they did hearing screenings, and had quality time interacting with the children and impacted their day
  • However, they acknowledged that in the end, it is they who benefitted far more from the experience than the children at Cheshire!

After a good first day we discussed the activities for tomorrow. We will visit the University of Zambia (UNZA) and hopefully they all get to meet their buddies with whom they have been e-mailing for a couple of months!

Prepping for tomorrow's activities - Stay tuned!

Prepping for tomorrow’s activities – Stay tuned!

Monday May 25: In Lusaka!!

Breakfast at the restaurant downstairs and we were off in the shuttle bus to the airport. Couple of people on the bus who talked to our group about Zambia! Security was fine and we reached our gate, which was at a corner of the airport and all my excitement at getting the free 60 minutes of wifi at the airport and posting photos was dashed, as there was no connectivity at our gate :(. I did get some a little away near the restroom and was able to send a couple of texts and look at some e-mails including comments from 2 parents of students before losing connectivity again! This sure was an unexpected problem – not having good wifi in Dubai!? On a previous flight through this airport where I waited a few hours I remember having no problem!

Waiting at a far corner of Dubai airport where the wifi was not on!

Waiting at a far corner of Dubai airport where the wifi was not on!

We took a bus to the airplane because it was “parked” at a distance and climbed up some steep stairs to board – a new experience for many of the students, but typical in Lusaka (and other places). We were seated in three rows again as on the previous flight – next stop – LUSAKA!

We landed in Lusaka on a beautiful sunny afternoon – just a typical winter day in Zambia J. This is the first time we have arrived during the day because all previous trips have arrived late at night. A new procedure at the airport: our temperature was taken using a device just held near the cheek – presumably to check for anyone coming in with a fever. Seems like Zambia had done a good job of taking care that people who may be ill are checked as soon as they enter the country!

Arrival at Lusaka airport - getting to our bus

Arrival at Lusaka airport – getting to our bus

We got our visas and our baggage and stepped out into a crowd of people to find our driver holding up a sign saying “Purdue University”, and right behind me was Abel Mbewe who I have now known for three years. They loaded our bags and we drove to the familiar Zebra Guest House. A quick stop so everyone got their rooms and then we were off to Arcaded mall. First stop there: we went to the money exchange bureau and got kwacha: the exchange rate has improved for us1

First team photo at Zebra Guest House

First team photo at Zebra Guest House

Today being Africa Freedom Day, the mall was busy and loud and unexpectedly the usual “Sunday market” vendors were there with their wares for sale. So, while we got our local phones and bought groceries the students had an opportunity to barter with the vendors and buy some souvenirs.

Back to the guesthouse for our welcome dinner prepared by Damiano and his team and we had a great Zambian meal with nshima, rice, rape (greens), potatoes, vegetables, chicken and beef.

Welcome dinner at Zebra Guest House!

Welcome dinner at Zebra Guest House!

Then off for our first pow-wow in Room 16 (the first of many more as we will meet and de-brief each day). We discussed the day’s activities and feelings and also discussed what we will be doing tomorrow. Here are some student insights from their first day in Zambia:

  • Lots of comments about the market:
    • The market was eye-opening; they were swarmed by the vendors
    • The vendors were very enthusiastic and up-front
    • The vendors all seemed to know each other and were very friendly
    • The vendors were aggressive like pushy salespeople in the US
    • Some vendors had stories about their circumstances to make them buy their wares, which made students feel bad, but also feel skeptical (and feel bad that they were skeptical)
    • Overall some students felt uncomfortable and overwhelmed by the vendors

But some positive comments about the vendors also emerged such as

  • “it was good we got a taste of it right away”
  • “I tried to be polite and listen to the vendors, but need to learn to say no and walk away”
  • “I felt more at home here than in Dubai”
  • “The people are very friendly – many of them came up and talked”
  • “I was trying to keep an open mind and not keep my shield up; I tried to be talkative and let them talk and joke with me a bit”
  • “I enjoyed it, it was really cool”
  • “It was an adrenaline rush”

Other student comments today included that the people were very friendly and genuine, that they were surprised at how developed it is, with paved roads and malls, but also at how the strip mall looked familiar – not that different from one in the USA.

A couple of students summed up saying “it feels surreal and has not sunk in yet that we are 7000 miles away; it feels like a vacation” and “I think Dubai did that to us”… and with that we packed our lunches for tomorrow…

Packing lunches1

Packing lunches1

All in all a very busy two days of travel and settling in today, but tomorrow we begin our work at Cheshire Homes…..

Updating May 24-25: Travel days and Dubai pics

Before we get to today’s post here are some pics to complete the picture of the last 2 days :)

Thanks to Mr. Fredrick for helping us load our luggage into the shuttle bus!

Thanks to Mr. Fredrick for helping us load our luggage into the shuttle bus!

Thanks to Dr. Sommer for being so thoughtful and bringing us the snack treats!

Thanks to Dr. Sommer for being so thoughtful and bringing us the snack treats!

The whole group at O'Hare

The whole group at O’Hare

The reorganization of luggage at O'Hare!!

The reorganization of luggage at O’Hare!!

Team in front of the tallest building in the world - the Burj Khalifa

Team in front of the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa - imposing!

The Burj Khalifa – imposing!

Fountain show at Dubai Mall

Fountain show at Dubai Mall

Team having a little fun with a camel statue inside the Souk al Bahar

Team having a little fun with a camel statue inside the Souk al Bahar

The glittery Dubai Mall!

The glittery Dubai Mall!

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