Friday, July 31, 2009

Last day at PAHO

Woohoo!!! Today was my last day at the Pan American Health Organization, and I went out with a bang! It was a super busy day and here are some pics from my last days. I finished my report, made visits to the hospitals and clinics, and had my evaluation interviews. Busy Busy! Good thing I burned the midnight (and early morning) oil to get everything done.

Outside the PAHO entrance. I walked out there by myself and asked this woman waiting for the bus, she said she didn't know how to use a camera, but then asked some younger girls who were walking by. They were kind enough to help me out.

This is me in front of the PAHO office. The building is pretty nice and the grounds are beautiful. I was looking at some pictures I took at the beginning of my internship and saw how much greener everything is now. The grass is super green and the trees and plants have grown and blossomed. The rain may be inconvenient at times, but it sure helps everything to look beautiful!

Notice the tag on the back of the chair. There were some wheelchairs in the front lobby of the hospital and it looks like they were all dontated by the Church! Good PR led to some discussions on the Church's humanitarian efforts.

These are two nurses at the polyclinic, which is a free government health clinic. Healthcare is free in Barbados, but people have the option of going to private clinics if they choose, and if they can afford it, most do. The care is generally better and more efficient in the private sector. Hmmm.....gets you thinking about health care reform. Do we really want a government run health care system? There are advantages, but do they outweigh the costs? The nurse on the right showed me around the clinic and answered all my questions. One interesting point she talked about was noncompliance with medication. Many people get the medication, which is free, and continue to refill the prescriptions regardless if they took all the pills just so the doctor assumes they are taking the meds. Her mother for example, would empty the box and ask her to get more medication for hypertension. When the doctor realized her blood pressure wasn't going down, he prescribed a second medication. About a year ago, a new policy was implemented that required you to pay for a second medication. The nurse said her mom now takes the medication regularly because she didn't want to pay for the second prescription. I thought about how if something is free, people don't appreciate it, and will abuse the system. I think healthcare should be accessible, but who said it should be free? Food isn't free. Housing isn't free. Education isn't free. Why should health care be free? Just thoughts....

Farewell to PAHO. You will be missed.

Almost there

It's 6:49 am and I am working on my final report for PAHO. I can't believe my last day has finally arrived. The last three days have been my busiest yet and they seem to have flown. I fell asleep last night writing my report and I was up again at 6am to get started on it. I really want it mostly done before I even get into work this morning, but we'll see how the next hour goes. Today should be pretty busy as I am wrapping everything up and will be visiting some clinics.

I had so much time in the middle of my internship and now I'm scrambling to get things done, why does that always happen? I didn't even procrastinate this time, it was all out of my hands. I like doing quality work and I don't feel that what I'm writing is my best quality, I just haven't had time to sift through all the data and numerous interview transcripts to give the project adequate justice. There's no grade this time, but I still take pride in my work and want to produce something worthwhile and quality. I guess this is more how the working world get a project and a deadline and you complete it. Not everything is in your control and you deal with what you have in the time you have. Well, with that said, I better get back to work!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Countdown Continues...9 days

I finally made it to single digit days left--9 days. I didn't think I would make it. These last few weeks have gone by so slowly and each day gets a little harder to get up and be motivated. Well, getting up is the easy part, my body wakes up around 5:30am every day. I have a large window facing east, so I get to experience all the first signs of morning. I wonder if I'll be able to get back to my usual sleeping in (7am) when I get back to Provo. One can only hope.

I have a full week of work left and another weekend and then I head back to American soil. This week at work should be busy with interviews, visits to health facilities, and writing up my project report. It may be my busiest week yet and I couldn't be happier about that. I always knew I thrived on being busy and this experience confirms it. I need to be busy and I need people to be busy with. I'm already looking ahead at what projects, jobs, and trips I can plan when I get back. I've decided this is my last extended solo adventure. I love traveling and experiencing other cultures, but I think I want to do it in shorter durations or bring friends and family with me. The next possible adventures include a trip to Peru in late fall and possibly a trip to Ukraine sometime next year, all in the name of research. Both these trips would be 7-10 days and I would be traveling with other BYU students and faculty. I'm really excited about those prospects.

Well the official countdown has begun, so look for more posts as I number my days in Paradise.

9 days and counting....

Friday, July 24, 2009

Did I mention I love the Caribbean food?

My advisor took me to lunch after a postponed meeting. The food and ambiance was beautiful. We went to her favorite restaurant, Champers, which is right on the beach and overlooks the water. It is a gorgeous setting. The meal wasn't half bad. You are looking at red snapper, with rice and seasonal vegetables; so light, so yummy. And eating right on the water is fantastic. Smachnoho! (for those non-ukrainian speakers, that means enjoy your meal).

Saturday, July 18, 2009

17 days and counting...

It may be too early to start counting days, I still have over two weeks left, but I can't help myself. Sorry to those who read the MPH cohort blog, I shared some similar thoughts on that blog. I've been in Barbados for over six weeks and I'm ready to come home. When I began the MPH program, I knew I wanted to get out of Provo for the summer to do my internship and anywhere with a United States postal code was not far enough--I wanted out of the country! I got my wish and have been here in Barbados since June 2. Now that I've been here and experienced Barbados in its fully glory, sun, rain, cuisine, music, transportation, and everything in between, I'm ready to head back home. I'm not sure what awaits me there, but being in paradise by yourself is not all that it's cracked up to be. You can only spend so many days lounging at the beach reading, watching movies, or taking walks. If I have learned nothing else from this experience, I have learned that I need people! I'm practically glued to my computer for emails, facebook updates, skype calls, gchat, or any other possible form of electronic communication. Bless technology! But even with the myriad of technological connections, nothing quite beats real human interaction.

If anyone has any ideas of how to constructively fill time, please share....internet sites, blogs, books, movies, whatever you can think of. Better yet, if you know how to speed up time that will be even better. Saving the world is tough and doing it solo is even tougher. It's Saturday and I have a full day ahead of me....looks like the Caribbean Sea is calling my name. Later.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vacation Highlights

Me and Shirleen on a Sunday afternoon on the front porch. Shirleen is the lady who I live with and has been great to me while I've been here.

I am sitting next to George Washington in his house in Barbados. George came to Barbados when he was 17 with his brother Lawrence who had TB and thought the tropical climate could cure did not. Anyway, George came out and lived here for a couple of years and Barbados is the only place outside the U.S. that our First President ever traveled to. Washington contracted small pox while he was here, but once you have small pox it acts as a vaccine so when small pox ravaged the troops in 1776, Washington was already immune and may have saved his life and the war! Pretty interesting stuff! When you sit down next to him on this bench, he starts to read to you from his journal. It was very startling at first, kinda freaky actually, but entertaining at the same time. From DC to Barbados, you have to love George!

This is Brady and me aboard "Cool Runnings" a catamaran sailing boat. This was probably the highlight of the week where we spent 5 hours sailing in the Caribbean, snorkeling with sea turtles and colorful fish, swimming in the sea, and enjoying a wonderful buffet lunch. A word of caution--no matter how tan you think you are, spf 8 is not enough! Even though I'm living in the Caribbean, I still need to remind myself that I am a white girl with very fair skin!

We also took a tour of the island, walked through a tropical gully, saw huge millipedes and slugs, hung out at the beach, and ate tons of fish. I do love fish!! I'd put more pictures up of the other parts of the island, but Brady has all those pics, so I will have to get them later. In one day I stood in 2 different seas: the Atlantic and the Caribbean. Barbados is definitely beautiful, but in all its glory, I'm actually anxious to come home--shocker.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Honk. Honk Honk. Hooooonnnnnkkkkkk!!!! Honkhonkhonk. What kind of honker are you? I think the only times I ever hear people honk in the U.S. is when either:

1) you're angry (angry, loud, long honk)
2) letting someone know that the light turned green (friendly honk) or
3) you want to say Hi to someone (couple short friendly honks).

That's it. 3 types of honks. That's all there is.

Nope, not in Barbados. There are so many different horns, honks, types of honks, duration of honks, and length of honks. Here are times when Bajans honk:

  1. say hello
  2. pass by
  3. asking pedestrians if they need a ride (mostly vans)
  4. to pass another car
  5. before going on a blind corner
  6. before making any turn in any intersection
  7. if slowing or stopping
  8. to get someone's attention
  9. anger
  10. just because you feel like it
I'm sure there are more, but that's all I can think of right now. I never knew there were so many reasons to honk. It's ridiculous. Every reason has a slightly different honking sound, whether it's short, long, multiple, or even musical. I know that when I'm back in the U.S. I might miss some of the honking and may even start using the Bajan honks...just for fun.