I had such an amazing experience while in South Africa! Due to spotty internet conntection we were only able to blog sporadically, so I wanted to submit another blog with summarizing some of my thoughts regarding the trip. Our time in South Africa made me realize how much we have to be thankful for here in the US. During our first day of work at the Senior Center we saw several seniors that had been waiting anywhere from 18 months to 2 years for hearing aids. They were so appreciative to have us visit them and provide hearing healthcare services. After visiting the different townships and seeing the different schools it made me have a new appreciation for our schools here in the US. The conditions of the schools in SA would vary: some with dirt floors and very little educational materials to others with chairs and tables and educational posters on the wall. I noticed one school had the Lord’s Prayer on the wall.ه One thing that I did notice despite the condition of the school is that these children were so well behaved and happy.ه They would just line up and walk up to one of us trustingly and let us look in their ears, test their hearing, and not complain or fuss!ه My heart goes out to these sweet children that were so cooperative and so trusting!ه I wish all children were this easy to test!
Upon arrival in Hazyview to work in the Oticon Xanthia Clinic we were surrounded by several people that had found out about the hearing clinic by a town meeting announcement.ه These people showed up and sat in chairs outside underneath the shade of trees while they patiently waited for their name to be called.ه There were several chickens and baby chicks running around the grounds, too!ه The work at Xanthia was challenging, as many of the patients did not speak English, but thankfully, we had some really great interpreters to help!ه Imagine completing a case history, hearing evaluation, and hearing aid fitting, and orientation all in one sitting with an interpreter assisting you!ه Although challenging, the work at Xanthia was very rewarding, we were able to fit several patients with hearing aids that were donated by Oticon.ه It was really great to be able to be a small part in helping someone to hear better.ه Our second day at Xanthia we were able to tour the community and also complete some more hearing aid fittings.ه While touring the community we interacted with some of the children and passed out some candy to them.ه They were so sweet!ه Upon returning to Xanthia we helped with more hearing aid fittings and Julie and I had the pleasure of assisting two Witz students complete their first hearing aid fitting.ه What a pleasure it was to help them walk through the steps of a hearing aid fitting and see the students have tears of joy when they could see the benefit the hearing aid was giving their patient.ه
It was such a blessing on so many levels to take part in this trip!ه For many years I had prayed for such an opportunity to use my education and skills and I feel that winning this trip was God’s answer to my prayer.ه I want to thank Oticon for making the trip possible for myself and Julie.ه It certainly has been a trip that I will always remember!ه Also, I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to have met and worked with Dr. Clark and the rest of the team.ه I believe we made a great team and I appreciate everyone’s willingness to work hard and work well together!ه I believe that I have made new connections in my field and look forward to keeping in touch with my new friends in the years to come!ه I am so thankful to have been able to be exposed to another country and other cultures.ه This trip has reminded me to be thankful for the small things in my life.ه We truly are blessed here in the US and sometimes I think until we see another country firsthand we may not realize how blessed we are.ه I now have physically left South Africa, but it has forever left an impression on my heart.ه I will continue to pray for this country and its people.