The small hospital waiting room was crowded––full of patients from the surrounding villages seeking medical treatment. The doctor and medical staff hurried to and fro, despite the stifling heat, to treat the overload of patients. This was the scene in Karan Hospital, just outside of Palampur, India, every day. The doctors are heroes here, working endlessly to observe, diagnose and treat the plenitude of patients––a job of at least five doctors in a Western medicine facility. This is what medicine, the pursuit of helping people, is all about.
... my time spent in the hospital reduced the stress on the doctors in a severely understaffed hospital, and made a positive contribution to the people of Palampur. I helped perform tasks such as assisting geriatric patients in and out of their beds, taking blood pressure and vitals of post surgery patients...
The intense learning process began the very first day we arrived, teaching us physiology, behavior and survey methodology of different sea organisms, as well as different aspects of the ocean. At the same time, what we learned we practiced in the ocean through surveys, collecting valuable data for the Seychelles National Park Association (SNPA) to monitor the coral reefs in the country.
I arrived to Curieuse Island in Seychelles and met my group for the next month- 12 amazing people from the US, UK and Germany. When we arrived I felt like I had found paradise, such a beautiful and special place! Every morning it was a pleasure to wake up at 6:30 a.m. and start the day with our awesome surveys - with the sea turtles or with the lemon sharks, the coco de mer trees or go to run in the mud at the mangroves!
Nothing will put a smile on your face like when you see baby turtles. We were so fortunate that we got to see hatchlings during our last week. It was such a wonderful way to end our time on Curieuse. Seeing the little guys make their way down the beach to the sea amazes me every time. They are so small and surprisingly fast for such tiny creatures. I’m sure the “Aaaawwwww”s of all the volunteers were most likely heard on the other side of the island.
During my time in South Africa I gained such a wide array of experience that would have never been possible at home. I participated in several game counts, tested cows and sheep for fertility, treated horses and mules in the area of Coffee Bay, and experienced both a net and helicopter capture.