Hello lovelies! I am back from the service trip to Nassau, Bahamas. Four graduate students traveled from December 14th to December 21st to provide speech and language evaluations and hearing screenings to families on the island.
What I learned:
- Although both are islands in the Caribbean, Haiti and the Bahamas are distinct in many ways. By many standards, the Bahamas is wealthier. They are economically driven by tourism and there is access to services. Whenever there is a shortage of those specialized services, parents have the option of flying to Florida to receive the care that they need. In Haiti, they are still struggling to rebuild their economy after the disastrous earthquake of 2010. Not only are the services scarce, but people don’t have access or the opportunity to seek the care their children need as it relates to speech and language services.
- When I took into account the fact that “service” is relative to where you are traveling, I had a clearer perspective. In the Bahamas, there is a shortage of speech and language therapists. Families wait on long waiting lists to receive evaluations and diagnosis, early intervention efforts or laws to protect children with disabilities do not exist.
- I grew so much as a clinician as I was afforded many firsts: family intake interviews, learning how to use iPad apps for evaluations, early intervention (0-3 years old) evaluations and an in-service workshop for families in which we talked about what a communication disorders are and how they affect special populations of children (for example; children with Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders and strokes).
How I grew as person:
- Patience. Working in a group and learning when to speak up and when to fall back. My whole graduate school career has revolved around group projects, and although I understand their importance, I also can’t wait for the independence that will come when I’m a certified clinician!
- Learning to take constructive criticism on the spot and applying it.
- Learning that I shouldn’t be so eager to speak for others. Allowing people to learn how to speak for themselves.
- Understanding the type of traveler that I am, and the type of people I feel most comfortable traveling with.
- Choosing my words wisely, and maintaining something I learned while working in hospitality called “charitable assumption”– the idea that I will think the best of someone, and not the worst, when a situation arises and their motives are not known or clear.
Overall, I am thankful for the experience. I grew professionally and personally. I have one more semester left in graduate school, can you believe it? I started here, and now graduation is in sight. These two years have not been easy, and I still have some hurdles in front of me, but nothing I can’t handle without my great team of support, God, and hard work.
Thanks to all my faithful readers on the journey! I appreciate all your words of encouragement, your silent prayers, and your belief in me!
Happy New Year,
Hello lovely people! I have been blessed to attend another service trip, this time to Nassau, Bahamas in exactly one week! Most costs are covered, but nightly dinners are not included. Please consider donating to a worthy cause. I, along with 3 other graduate students in speech-language pathology will be offering services to needy families that include: hearing screening and speech and language screenings. Some of these families desperately need help, and have been waiting months for services!
Read here, for more about the work that’s being done.
I am so thankful for you thoughts and well-wishes. If you cannot give, I understand. But please know that every little bit helps!
Click for my GO FUND ME page!
I am currently in the thick of finals and I am so distractable! 8 more days until the Bahamas and my mind is elsewhere right now! But I have to take 2 finals before then: one for my Dysphagia (swallowing disorders) class and the other for my Voice Disorders. My Thanksgiving was swell this year, I was invited to the Jersey Shore to celebrate with a dear bloggie friend. It’s my second consecutive year spending Thanksgiving with her. The day after Thanksgiving, she was itching for a new tattoo and I was still thinking about the tattoo I never got for my birthday. Throwing caution to the wind, we went and did it. Just like that. Okay, maybe with just a little peer-pressure on her part.
Now, I’m not going to say I wasn’t scared. I was. I won’t say it didn’t hurt. It did. But once I got over the drilling noise (which reminded me of the dentist) and I turned the other way while he worked, I was fine. Before long, the pain turned to pressure. Uncomfortable pressure, but nothing I couldn’t stand. The healing process is underway now. The tattoo went from being sensitive/red and sore to the touch, to peeling and dry looking. The ink is not as dark as it once was, and now you can see how it’s engraved in my skin as opposed to looking like someone wrote on me with a Sharpie maker. So it’s set.
I will say my tattoo artist, Jimmie, wasn’t very comforting. My friend held my hand and talked me through it before he began and through the first few minutes. I practically self-soothed afterwards. I always watch the tattoo shows and think it’s pretty cool when the artists try to build rapport with the clients, although they may not possibly ever see them again (maybe they just do that for TV). It’s important, as a first timer, to feel that this person with painful instruments who is in close proximity to you wants to make sure you’re cool and happy with what is going on. Jimmie didn’t feed into my fantasy. Well, now it’s over and I’m not sure I’ll go for anymore tattoos. Not because Jimmie didn’t baby me. Just because I can’t see anything else I want that bad on my body.
So…I know you’ve been waiting to get a glimpse of my new INK!
PURA VIDA and its significance
“Pura vida” is Costa Rica’s unofficial national slogan that is used in everyday conversation. The literal translation to English “pure life” loses its essence as is common in word-for-word translations but it basically evokes the spirit that ´life is good.´In essence, Pura Vida is a mentality, a daily reminder to take life easy and never lose sight of what’s really important in the bigger scheme of things.