June 5 Student Reflection: Katie

Today was the last day of clinic for the trip. The team traveled to the Mthunzi Center, an orphanage for young boys, to perform hearing screenings. The other half of the group split up to perform hearing screenings on students at Tubalange Primary School nearby. We screened about 68 children at The Mthunzi Center, including a group of girls from an all girls orphanage nearby. Today wouldn’t have been able to happen without teamwork. Lauren and Danielle recorded the case history and performed otoscopy outside, with help from Ms. Masters and Gemma from Beit Cure ENT Hospital. The main problem we found was finding an environment quiet enough to perform accurate screenings. As one can imagine, boys can be very loud and playful. But they waited very quietly and patiently after we asked them to settle down.

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After we finished screening at the Mthunzi Center, we met the other half of the group at Tubalange Primary School to help finish screening. When we arrived, we impressively found that they were almost completely finished screening. This group screened 87 students using a puretone audiometer and an otoacoustic emissions (OAE) screener. After a successful day, we traveled back to the Mthunzi Center for some “African entertainment.” To show their appreciation, a group of students led a traditional African dance routine. The performance was phenomenal and also included African drumming. It was great to see another glimpse of the Zambian culture.

The team traveled back to Zebra Guest House to rest before an evening with our sponsors at Rhapsody. The restaurant’s atmosphere was modern and the menu featured Western cuisine including a variety of sushi, steaks, and pasta. It was a great opportunity to get to know our sponsors on a more personal basis and talk about our experience in Zambia. They were full of stories about their involvement with their organizations. For me, the farewell dinner was a great way to reflect on the wonderful experience I had in Zambia. I have never encountered a culture so welcoming and warm. I was expecting for people to think of me as an outsider, but everyone I met was gracious and accepting. Alice from PCOE asked me, “What has this experience taught you?” Well everyone, Zambia has made me think about the perspectives and lives outside of my own country. It has given me the drive to improve the lives not only around me, but others from everywhere around the world. I hope to continue pursuing this throughout my career as an audiologist.

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