One Month Later…
In the month that I have been home from Cape Town I have had a lot of time to process the things that we learned and were able to participate in this past summer.
Whether we were shadowing doctors and nurses in the clinics and hospitals around Cape Town, forming relationships with some of the residents of the local townships, or even cage diving with the infamous Great White Sharks in “Shark Alley”, there was always some sort of mental stimulation—something that would cause us to think outside the narrow spectrum of what we are exposed to at home.
Words cannot express how grateful I am to have had the experiences that I did in South Africa. I was able to meet some of the most beautiful people in the world—people that I was able to build relationships with (some of which I know will certainly last a lifetime!) , and some that I was simply able to talk to for a few minutes (in an effort to try to gain just a little bit of perspective into the trials that they have faced).
Truly, the entire experience still does not seem real… I stand absolutely amazed at some of the things that I witnessed in the various hospitals and clinics we visited around Cape Town and Mpumalanga. I know that I did not spend a lot of time blogging on IES’ website about the experiences that we had in the clinics, but those things are things that will forever lay heavy on my heart. From young babies whose bodies were ravished by Tuberculosis, to young teenagers who were dwindling away from untreated HIV infections, to adult patients who had so little education that they could not even understand basic diabetes treatments or the dangers of smoking. It breaks my heart. But I know that I will always carry those individuals with me, knowing that there are countless millions (if not billions) of others out there who are suffering in the same way. I cannot help but realize that there are things that can and should be done to help these people. So, as a young nursing student, my desire to help people treat people like those that we came across in South Africa, has grown exponentially.
Though I have been to places all around the world, I have never found a setting where I felt so at home, and not because I was comfortable, but rather because I was so uncomfortable. It’s not America, and it’s certainly not Auburn, Alabama where you leave your doors unlocked and walk down the street with an iPhone in hand (without the fear of being mugged or even killed), but it is a beautiful and truly unique place to visit, and certainly an excellent place to study and live for a few months.
My lasting words for all… Just go. There may be a lot of uncertainties, but you won’t regret one second of the time you spend in South Africa. Soak it all in. Enjoy every second. You’ll miss it once you’re home.
Here are some of our favorite things about South Africa…
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<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Emily Glasscock is a sophomore who is studying nursing at Auburn University. She loves to participate in a variety of activities, from backpacking, kayaking, and mountain biking to photography and designing handmade jewelry. In the time that she spends in South Africa, she hopes to soak in a lot of first-hand knowledge that will give her experience and insight into the difficulties developing nations face in the field of healthcare. She knows that her time abroad will be invaluable and thus she cannot wait to share a bit of her experiences with you!</span></div>