In our last post, Sara Jackson, a long-time volunteer with the BHP, described her first visit to Bangladesh. It serves as juxtaposition to her most recent visit, in 2017. She recounts her most recent trip:
“I recently returned to Vancouver after three months in Bangladesh. The IUBAT nursing program has their own Bangladeshi faculty these days; therefore, instead of teaching, I spent my time supporting the instructors by writing exam questions, filling in some knowledge gaps and accompanying them to hospital clinical practice sites with the students. The faculty are all young, bright, passionate, and well-versed professionals. I found the students to be open and willing to learn and succeed in this not so easy country. I was able to offer some language instruction and was pleased to edit research papers and assist with academic writing. I basically jumped in to help as needed.
Apart from work at IUBAT, I prepared a two-day workshop on hygiene and infection control for the Sajida Organization’s (an NGO-health organization) new homecare aid hires. This was a very positive experience. The Organization invited me to attend a three-day workshop on High Risk Labour and Delivery, facilitated by Team Broken Earth from Newfoundland. The target audience was a large group of OBGYNs that the Sajida Organization employs at their progressive hospitals.
Another one of the highlights was a social event on a Saturday. We spent the day on a hired boat with large speakers and a DJ. One of the students prepared chicken biryani and snacks for the cruise. Bangladesh has a six-day work and study week, so this was a great opportunity to have some much needed leisure time. I was enjoying myself so much, I decided to extend my time in Bangladesh by an extra month. The work was so interesting and varied. Bangladeshis are warm, welcoming, kind, and not to mention, have a great sense of humour!
IUBAT is now fully staffed with Bangladeshi nursing faculty. I was fortunate to connect with IUBAT Nursing graduates employed in research, with international NGOs, as nurse managers, coordinators and in other high functioning and demanding positions in healthcare. These students have a bright future to pursue. In and around Dhaka, growth and change is highly visible. Many of the construction and mega projects are mind- boggling to see and strangely futuristic.
One week before returning to Vancouver, two volunteers from Alberta, Nancy and Eve, arrived. This was Nancy’s second visit. The time we spend as volunteers in Bangladesh is so appreciated. Volunteers leave this country with more knowledge, indelible memories, but mostly an open heart.”
Sara, we appreciate your insight, expertise and your immense contributions to the success of the Bangladesh Health Project, both in North America and in Bangladesh. This longitudinal description is helpful for our readers who are interested in the progress of the Program and the country, or are curious as to how things are currently, as compared to when they themselves last visited IUBAT! We look forward to more of these types of stories from people who have been with the Program over the years as it grew.