I journeyed to Blantyre for the past three days and did not have Internet, so I have quite a bit of show and tell. It was a long five and a half hour journey but I got to see and experience an amazing country!
As we (my driver Moja and I) continued up the road, it was a beautiful transformation of the landscape into mountains on both sides. I was blessed to see a double rainbow for most of the way and I have to say it was the most vibrant rainbow I have ever seen. The pictures don’t do it justice.
I had a number of hours to reflect on this trip since my driver spoke limited English and I spoke limited Chichewa. He chose to listen to a combination of two songs for the whole five and a half hours, while I chose to take in my surroundings.
My observations are this: children actually play outside and with one another; communities are just that -they show support for one another and act more like a family; they actually talk to one another eye to eye; they don’t have distractions such as computers or emails that take away from the conversation; they live within their means (no credit); and kudos for them– they grow most of their own food; they take breaks; they know what it is like to sit and have dinner and talk to one another; and family is so important both immediate and distant.
While at the KCN Blantyre campus I was able to meet more amazing KCN faculty. I was greeted with teatime and then toured Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Here they have both peds and adult oncology wards where they are doing some great work.
I met Owen who is a relatively new oncology nurse and has learned mostly on the job. He is incredible and so willing to help educate others, especially younger nurses, about oncology nursing. I can tell he has a passion for what he is doing. I also was able to reconnect with the oncologist there and hopefully begin a collaborative relationship for oncology education.
Friday (today) I gave a lecture on cancer biology and treatment moralities to nursing students and faculty. It ended up being two and a half hours! I guess I was excited and they didn’t seem to be sleeping so I kept going. 🙂 About half way through one of the faculty held up a sign asking for a five-minute stretch break. I guess when I am excited I need to pay more attention to the time! It was great though and I’m excited about the dedicated faculty interested in improving cancer education for their nursing students. Their commitment will help make this a sustainable endeavor.
After more meetings and making friends, I headed back to Lilongwe. I look forward to coming back in August and spending more time in Blantyre. I hopefully will have a chance to work on the oncology ward next time so I can better prepare teaching material for faculty.
One week left….