We went to UNZA today and finally got to meet our buddies in person! Mukenani is my buddy, and I was nervous to meet him. Truthfully, I didn’t expect him to show up because of the lack of email exchange. He ended up being very talkative, and we had some great conversations.
After I mentioned that everyone was staring at our group, he asked, “Wouldn’t people in America stare if they saw a group of black people?” I could tell he had some misconceptions about the United States. I explained to him that there are Americans of all different races. Even if I saw something that I considered unusual, we have been taught not to stare. Then, I asked Mukenani if there were white people at his school, and he said maybe one or two professors. I never noticed the diversity in America until now. When we see people from different countries here, usually it is only temporary, but even just at Purdue we have a mix of people from everywhere.
UNZA looked pretty similar to Purdue. People were everywhere walking to class and talking with friends. Students were at the library with their laptops studying. I will admit I was surprised. I don’t know what I expected, but I thought the two would be very different.
It did make me sad to think that I will probably never get the chance to show Mukenani around Purdue. I asked him if he ever considered traveling to America, but unfortunately it is too expensive. After he proudly shared everything about his school, I wanted to return the favor. It would’ve been fun to answer his questions the way he answered mine, and I think he really would’ve been impressed.
After saying goodbye to our buddies, we went to the Special Hope Network resource center. Here, I got a few more chances to do some OAE screenings, which I was excited about. I really love getting the hands-on experience. After every screening, I get a little more comfortable, and I like audiology that much more. I screened a couple children, but then, we started screening the staff. I even saw a man come in that outright admitted he was very scared. I enjoy working with adults because they can understand and believe me when I tell them there is nothing to be afraid of.
Mr. Nelson’s speech at the end of the day inspired me. I know that I am the one benefiting from this program, but he truly seemed appreciative, which made me feel like I had a purpose and maybe made a tiny change. I realize that after graduation, I would love to go somewhere that I am needed. Mukenani was inspired to become a special education teacher because he saw people in his village needed that. Audiologists are needed everywhere, but some places need them more than others. I hadn’t looked at my future like this until now, but it’s something I will consider for the next 5 years.