In one month at approximately 1 pm, I will meet my group from Summit to board a plane to Washington, D.C., from D.C. to Johannesburg, and from there to Malawi. Craziness! There is still much to do, including getting my typhoid vaccine (today), packing, compiling the rest of the donations to take with me, and paying for the trip. I’ve already received donations of about 6 dozen toothbrushes, over 400 sample size toothpastes, bouncy balls, baby clothes, and athletic shoes—my donation suitcase is already full and I am so thankful! I’m still hoping that my employer will be able to give some donations of medical supplies (i.e. dressing change supplies) and that we will be able to obtain some anti-seizure medications.
In the last few team meetings we have talked a lot more about what we will be doing in Malawi. When we arrive there, we will spend a day or two meeting families in villages and getting to know them. After that, we will travel to Lake Malawi with the “special needs” children and their family/caregiver and take them to camp. We will go on safari as well as a hike, play games, play in the water, and just have an all around good time. Our team is broken up into three sub groups, a support team (medical people and counselors), a program team (in charge of the program itself), and a buddy team. I am on the support team with a physician and another nurse in addition to several other professionals as well as a family who has a son with cerebral palsy. We will be leading discussions with the kids’ caregivers to help them understand why their child has a disability and how to cope physically and emotionally. The three of us that are medical will also be there to address any medical needs that arise as best we can.
I’m getting excited, but it still feels very surreal. I have been able to meet more of my team members and get to know them better, but I still wish that Andrew were able to go with me. I’m anxious about flying over the ocean, too; I don’t know why because I actually really like to fly—it’s just the prospect of being over open water, I guess. All in all, though, I am getting excited; I just can’t believe I leave in one month!!