Today, we visited the Breath of Heaven Centre where we screened approximately sixty children and a few of the staff members. The facility is home to sixty-four children who may be orphans, have a single parent, or “vulnerable” (children who still have parents that are alive but may not have the resources to support them). Mr. and Mrs. Devine are kind people who not only care for these kids, they love them as their own. Mrs. Devine even stated that the children call her “Mima”, which I thought was very sweet, and it shows how much she and Mr. Devine love the kids. I have never met people who are so invested in these children’s lives, and they are dedicated to providing everything they can in order for these children to have prosperous futures. They encourage the kids to pursue a higher education, which I also agree is important. It is similar to the attitudes in the United States as well– a successful life is possible with a higher education.
After Mr. and Mrs. Devine showed us their property, I was able to perform some hearing screenings to a few children that were between the ages of twelve and fourteen years old. While I was assessing these children, I felt that I finally had a good grasp at maneuvering the audiometer and quickly moving through the screening process. Breanne and I were a great team! It was great having a graduate student with me, and I felt much more comfortable having her there if I had questions or if I was not doing something quite right.
Later I moved onto otoscopy– a process that always gave me a little anxiety. However, after this trip I feel I am confident in spotting any abnormalities that may appear in the ear– something I never thought would happen until I reached graduate school. The children I looked at were very cooperative and this helped me feel more relaxed and less rushed to get the results I needed. I felt so “official”; these children really trusted me, and they considered me to be the respected professional, which was a great feeling. In the United States, I am just an undergraduate student who has another year in the classroom before I can really begin any clinical training, so I really enjoy being the trusted “professional” that is able to provide services to them.
However, what they do not know is that I am learning so much from them and that means so much more than what services I can possibly provide to them. What I have learned today and every other day during this trip will stay with me for the rest of my life, and I think that is what will make me a better audiologist some day.