Recently myself, fellow Rebalance coworker Sasja, and her partner Felix returned from a two week trip to Uganda. Because this trip was so eventful, one of the biggest challenges I have faced upon return is putting my time in Uganda into a few words. The first few days were a massive culture shock. I had never visited a place so unlike home before. Everything was different; accents, housing conditions and especially the crazy methods of transportation. Without a doubt, this trip has provided me with some of the most memorable, and eye opening experiences of my life thus far.
To give some background, my main area of study throughout university was linguistics and cognitive sciences. Eventually I hope to attend graduate school to study speech and language pathology, and hope to one day practice primarily with children with communication disorders.
At CORSU I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to shadow the speech and language therapist Duncan Musasizi. I learned a lot sitting in on his appointments with his patients, and even managed to develop relationships with some of them. Within the two weeks I spent there, I got to witness a significant improvement in the behavior, as well as cognitive understanding of some of his patients.
This small taste of improvement gave me just a brief glimpse of how gratifying a career as a Speech and Language Pathologist could be, and has helped to solidify my decision to pursue it in the future. By shadowing Duncan, I gained first-hand experience with developmental disabilities that I have only read about. This was extremely cool and quite interesting to see how disorders that aren’t common here in Canada are approached and treated.
This experience, while extremely educational and productive, was also exceedingly enjoyable. The employees of CORSU were so friendly and welcoming that when it came time to leave some of us were shedding tears. The kids we worked with were fun loving and goofy, seemingly making the most of their very challenging situations. I would like to thank everyone who helped make this trip possible; the Rebalance Legacy Society, Dr. Penny and his family, my Rebalance coworkers for their donations, and of course all the employees of CORSU who took us in and showed us the ropes. Without a doubt I hope to return to Uganda at some point in my life.
Two weeks was, as so many people told us it would be, not enough time. Uganda as a country is one filled with as much potential as one is willing to give it. It’s scenery is as unique as one could hope for, the atmosphere is vibrant, and its people more welcoming than your own grandmother. The time spent at CoRSU Hospital was an experience I will treasure forever. The staff were patient, understanding, and eager to share their knowledge while including us fully into their world. The patients were inspiring, as individuals who experience unimaginable hardships yet remain stoic and optimistic often are. I cannot thank CoRSU enough for having us, teaching us, and inspiring us. I am eager to give back, so shall return with gusto, hungry for more.
- Felix Drechsler