Fundraising Progress:
Raised: $3208.15 Goal : $3000

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Fun with Glue and Coloured Paper!

All through school I thought making poster boards for projects was silly, though I always found it fun.  Now, I am making a poster that actually has baring on real life: a poster to raise awareness for my trip at my church!  I plan to have it up for a couple Sundays, and I'm going to be selling for a donation some of the baked goods that we will be offering at the Euchre Tournament at the church.  You like the tasty cake? Eh? Eh? Come get more on Oct. 26th!  Don't play Euchre? No problem! Come and eat cake instead!

I also put an ad in the local paper about the Euchre Tournament.  I felt very professional putting an ad in the paper.  I have not sold a lot of tickets yet, but I have a lot of people who plan to buy tickets, or plan to come to buy cake and pie, so I am confident it will be a success.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

How did I get here and where am I going?

When I was in grade 11, I took a human geography course.  Our big project was to make a business plan for a charity that included budget, staffing plans, long term goals, ect.  It was a big project, but it was very cool.

My charity was an HIV/AIDS support "community".  It started as an orphanage but my research led me to learn about adults, particularly women with children, who were left very vulnerable when they contracted the virus, or when their husbands did.  So, my naive 15 year old self designed an HIV/AIDS support commune!  I was looking up real estate in Lesotho (that's where chose to operate because it has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the world).
The Flag of Lesotho, new in Oct 2006

 I was finding out how much you had to pay doctors, I was "buying" buses, and budgeting for schooling,  and researching gardens in Africa to help keep cost of food down.

I can't remember the exact figures, but the start up cost for my commune was $1.5 million Canadian dollars or something like, and a cost of $400 000 to keep it running from year to year.  Peanuts, right?? Toootally doable!!  Of course my thought was with support, the people in the commune would be able to contribute to keeping it running, which would bring the cost down over time.  It was a good idea! My plan would result in a few families having access to food, shelter, education and medical attention to help alleviate the suffering from HIV/AIDS.  A long term positive impact on a little piece of society in Lesotho.  Lesotho is a tiny little country in Africa, by the way.  You know that little hole in the middle of South Africa that doesn't belong to South Africa?  Yep, that's Lesotho.
I got a wicked-good mark on my project, but now looking back I can see all the huge issues and problems with such a plan.

Fast forward to 4th year of my BScN where I met one of my heros.  I can't even remember her name, but I remember she was amazing.  She was my prof and introduced the concept of Participatory Action Research (PAR).  Now,  I hate research.  It's dry, its boring, its monotonous.  This prof told a different story, however. She talked about going to small villages in Uganda or Cambodia or a dozen other places, of learning the rhythm of life in the village, and learning from THEM what THEY needed.   She talked about using local wisdom and local resources with the help of funding from whatever university or charity was funding her to work in that village to build up the village from the inside out.  She told me about setting up clinics that both offered medical training AND teaching.  In one case they even started an entire economy based on the barter system to pay for the health care provided because no one had any money.  I am still baffled how all of that was considered research, but it sounded awesome.  It sounded real, and lasting, and beyond all it sounded GOOD.  If I could be a part of that, then I could be a part of something real.

I have had that goal/dream dangling around in my brain since that class, but I haven't been able to figure out how to get started.  Research = higher education.  I can't afford to go back to school quite yet.  I need connections, I need experience, I need direction.  If I had been a smarter person, I would have asked her for her business card, contacted her and asked her to be my formal mentor.  If she declined, I would then ask her out for coffee or lunch and pick her brain on how she got to where she got and how I could do it too.  If she accepted, well, then I would do the same thing, just over the months and years that followed.  I didn't do that though, so I have to figure it out myself.

Fast forward again, after graduation, after my first job didn't work out and my interview for then Care Partners, now Red Cross Care Partners.  "Every year we do a medical trip" they said, "we take staff from the organization and go abroad to run clinics" they said.  Hey... doesn't that sound like a great place to start?

Does to me!  

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Why Guyana?

Community Nursing Services has done four prior trips abroad for medical missions.  They have gone to Peru, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Guatemala.  All of these trips were a great success with the team helping hundreds of people with basic medical needs and teaching, but they were all made more challenging by the need for interpreters.

Guyana was originally settled by the Dutch, and then was taken over by the British. Fun fact, just like the Netherlands much of the most heavily cultivated and populated coastal land is actually below sea level.  Guyana remained a British colony for 200 years, until 1966.  As a result, the primary language is English.  No need for interpreters!

The infrastructure of Guyana is also fairly well developed and the social structure is very stable.  This means that the planners for the trip have a much easier time organizing.  Transportation is not nearly as much of a trial when roads are maintained.  Social clubs like Rotary International also have a strong presence and can help in organizing venues to hold the clinics.

So basically, Guyana was the ideal destination because there is a need that we can meet with fewer obstacles.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

So I am planning a fundraising event that I would love to see anyone and everyone out.  A fun and tasty evening with prizes!  Please consider coming out to support the CNS Medical trip to Guyana! Please contact me for your tickets!

Euchre Tournament!!
Support the CNS International Medical Team’s Trip to Guyana

Oct. 26, 2013 at 7-9pm
$10 Entry Fee
Maranatha Christian Reformed Church
91 Elgin St. S, Cambridge

Prizes will be awarded for First, Second and Third places.

Delicious baked goods will be available for purchase.  

Beverages will be provided

We will also be accepting donations.  Any donations over $20 will receive a tax receipt.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Details Details Details!

I cannot believe I will be leaving for Guyana in less then 3 months!  I need to get moving, I know I know.  So much to do, so little time.  And I am perfectly aware that it is my own doing, too.  No need to point it out.

So it was brought to my attention that a few details were left out of my first post.  First and foremost, when am I going?

This is not our plane... but it could be...
On Friday, 29 November, we will be flying out of Toronto at 2300 and arriving on Saturday, 30 November, at 0610 in Georgetown, Guyana.  Yaaaay for direct flights! Boooooo for arriving early in the morning after likely not sleeping all night...  Luckily the brains of the operation are leaving us this day to get settled and acclimatized.  Also lucky is that it's only 1 time zone shift!

Essequibo river in the early morning, taken from this cool website

After 2 days of set up, 5 days of clinics, and 3 days to see some sights we're leaving Guyana on 10 December at 1510 and getting back in to Toronto at 2030.

At the clinics, we're hoping to see between 200-150 people every day.  We will be doing basic health teaching around dental hygiene, boiling water/water safety, and basic person hygiene.  We're expecting some long days that roll with the sun as the locations may or may not have electricity.  Clinics will start at 0830 (meaning we'll be setting up at 0700) and finishing up at around 1730 so that we can make it back to our hotel as a group before dark.

Sooo.... what do I have to do before I go?  Well.  Raise some funds, get some shots, pack some stuff, aaaaaaand don't freak out about the spiders!

One of the locals I'd really rather not meet! Original Website
I'm trying to convince my husband to come with.... to be my body guard against the 6- or 8- legged natives.... He's not buying in to my plan so far.

Please stay tuned for more news, info, and fundraising events!
Adventure on,