Kate & Allie: Off to Tanzania
Two nursing students from Williamstown are preparing to embark on an international learning experience in Tanzania.
Third-year Bachelor of Science students Kate Pasco and Allie Fickes will be among 23 students and three teaching staff who leave for Africa on May 5 for a two-and-a-half week trip shadowing doctors and nurses at the Pamoja Tunaweza Women’s Centre ( PTWC) and outreach clinics surrounding the city of Moshi, located at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The students will be doing health promotion and teaching, screening, and learning firsthand what a day in the life of a local nurse is like in villages that don’t have regular access to medical check-ups.
“We’ll be lending an extra hand including going into communities that can’t travel to the centre,” says Miss Fickes, 21, who studies at the Kingston campus of St. Lawrence College. “There are buses that will take us to places where people can’t access resources.”
Students participating in the trip are enrolled in a cross-cultural nursing elective that counts towards their degree. They are
responsible for paying for the course and all other expenses associated with the African trip. It cost the students over $4,000 each to to go.
To raise the money, Miss Fickes and Miss Pasco ran individual fundraisers selling lip balm at their home campuses and a joint Zumba and BodyShred event earlier this year at the Char-Lan
The students first heard about the trip from fellow students who had gone and returned raving about the unforgettable experience.
“Valerie Paquette from Ottawa who is 4th year now went last year and says it was amazing,” says Miss Fickes.
According to the college, international opportunities offering nursing practice skills are among the things that draw students to St. Lawrence College’s nursing program.
Kate Pasco first heard about the Tanzania opportunity from her friend Kelly McLeod who travelled to Tanzania in May, 2018, with 15 of her fellow nursing students and two professors.
“She had lots of good input on it, and other friends who have gone in past years gave us a really good packing list, what to take with us,” says Miss Pasco.
The pair will be packing with a purpose. One of their two checked suitcases will be stuffed with donated items to distribute when they arrive—medical supplies and clothing, school supplies and other specified goods including children’s items and books.
To help prepare students for the trip, the college offers intense modules where students read about global health, cultural nursing practices, common illnesses they may encounter in Tanzania, and cultural differences. They also heard from guest speakers and prepared case studies and discussed topics including travel safety and what to expect in the local culture.
“We learned some of the language to help prepare us, but there will be a translator there too,” explains Miss Pasco.
Breaking the news to their parents last fall that they wanted to travel to Tanzania raised concerns at first, but after learning more about the trip, the program itself, and the teacher volunteers who would be accompanying the students, Allie and Kate’s parents set aside their worries, offering their help and support.
A limited number of SLC nursing students are selected for the annual trip and the students were required to write an essay about what they thought were the main benefits of becoming a nursing volunteer abroad.
“It was yery exciting,” says Miss Fickes who found out she had been accepted on her birthday in December, 2018.
After their stay in Tanzania working at the Pamoja Tunaweza Women’s Centre, the two students will stopover in Amsterdam for two days before returning to Canada.
The PTWC was established in April 2007 to improve health in the Kilimanjaro Region through access to affordable, high quality health care models and also supports women through various micro-finance enterprises.
OFF TO TANZANIA: Local nursing students Kate Pasco and Allie Fickes, shown at a recent Zumba fundraiser at the Char-Lan Rec Centre, will embark for Tanzania next month for a two-and-ahalf week health promotion trip.