June 2 Student reflection: Connor

Today was a relatively calm and straightforward day for our Zambia team. This morning we were able to sleep in until 9:30, which was almost 3 hours later than normal days. I sadly was only able to sleep until 7:30 because of my room neighbor slamming his door multiple times throughout the morning. Nevertheless, I laid in my bed until 8:15 then went to have breakfast in the Zebra Guesthouse dining room. I went out to have breakfast of watermelon, toast, and juice. Once I finished with breakfast I went back to my room to watch a movie and prepare for the morning activities. Dr. Krishnan and Ms. Masters told us last night that we were going to visit the National Lusaka Museum and see some of the historical information surrounding Zambia as a whole.
The museum was very intriguing and interesting. Many aspects of the museum fascinated me, but the most appealing was the HIV / AIDS representation they gave with a bus full of passengers. In front of the sculpture had a short article about the importance of this piece. In short, during 2010 for every 4 people in Africa, 1 person was HIV positive. This piece had 16 passengers on a bus and 4 were marked red (representing they were HIV positive). In the explanation, the artist gives a story about how one HIV positive individuals may spread the disease to other individuals through sharing sexual partners. The purpose of this exhibit was to give awareness to the spread and containment of HIV / AIDS in Africa, while also portraying a moving image. The museum also showed historical artifacts that represented and supported the Zambian culture as a whole. Some of these artifacts included fishing equipment and techniques that the Zambian tribes used, different tools and hardware used in everyday life, and lastly, voodoo and magic techniques that were used to help with illnesses and hunting.
After we finished exploring the museum, we were able to shop at the gift shop located in the museum. As many of the students know, shopping for items can be a stressful situation; especially in the market setting. This experience was different; we were able to find most of the items sold in the market, but we weren’t hassled. This feeling was very refreshing for all the students. Plus, the gift shop marked how much each item was, so we didn’t have to barter or persuade venders to lower the number of Kwacha for an item.
Once everyone finished shopping, we hopped onto the bus, had lunch, and waited to arrive at Special Hope Network. When we arrived, we began our setup for hearing screenings on both the children and the staff at the Resource Center. I was lucky enough to screen the children at SHN with Katie, Kate, and Dr. Krishnan. All together we screened 11 children and I was able to participate in all of the screenings in one way or another. During otosopy I was able to see ear wax that completely covered the tympanic membrane (which was a first for me) and many other different scenarios. Also, we were able to interact with most of the children at Special Hope and see all of their individual gifts. Once we finished screening, the Zambian team had a staff meeting with the individuals at SHN. During this meeting we all introduced ourselves, learned a little about the Resource Center and the surrounding community centers, and answered many of the staff’s questions. I learned that the Special Hope Network cares for children who have an intellectual disability while also focusing on the development and growth of these individual children with their parents. When the introductions and overviews were finished, the staff at SHN were able to ask questions about hearing and language development to both Dr. Krishnan and Ms. Masters in hopes of gaining useful knowledge to use in their field.
After the question and answer session, the students were able to interact with the staff and learn a little about one another. At the end of the day we were also able to get a picture with the SHN staff. We said our goodbyes and headed back to the Zebra Guest House for a team meeting and dinner. Overall, it was an impactful day. Seeing the children at SHN truly brought joy to my day. I also enjoyed hearing from all the SHN staff that help make the Resource Center and community based program a success. We’ve met some amazing people here during this study abroad and the members at the SHN only added to that number.

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