Our Trip Begins….by Jennifer Sayers
An exciting new adventure awaits us! We are a dozen intrepid travelers about to embark on a life-changing journey to Karagwe, Tanzania. As we begin our long trek to East Africa, I can feel the anticipation of each member of our team growing and I remember what it was like the first time I traveled to Africa. I had no
idea what to expect but somehow I knew that my life would never be the same. This will be my seventh trip to this beautiful continent and I’ve learned that with each experience there are new friends to meet, new places to go and new lessons to learn. I am originally from San Diego and I am a recent graduate from the masters in biomedical sciences program at The Commonwealth Medical College. I can’t wait to
begin making memories and forming new bonds beginning with the members of our team, each coming from one of three of Northeast Pennsylvania’s distinguished institutions.
We are led by Dr. Linda Winkler, Professor of Anthropology of Wilkes University who is guiding her 35st group of students and colleagues on a global study abroad immersion. This is her 19th trip to East Africa. Dr. Winkler has been involved in community health projects in this region since 2002. This trip, she will be continuing work on her ongoing project on maternal and neonatal health outcomes with myself, Shana Noon and Megan McGovern. Dr. Winkler has experienced Karagwe’s rich culture, friendship, hospitality, community and transition over the years and her unique perspective will help to enrich what promises to be a wonderful experience. She has won a Paul Harris Rotary International Award for her projects in Tanzania and a University of Pittsburgh Teaching Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award for her global programs.
Also from Wilkes University, we are joined by Dr. Evene Estwick, an Associate Professor in Communication Studies. Her research focuses include international media, globalization and the media, Caribbean media, as well as developmental and intercultural communication. Dr. Estwick has served as a faculty advisor for study abroad and community service trips in Turkey, Tanzania, Peru, Belize, and Dominican Republic. This is the Dr. Estwick’s fifth year as a faculty advisor in the Tanzania Study Abroad program and she will continue her work with Radio Karagwe, the local community radio station. Dr. Estwick and Dr. Winkjler recently received a grant to support a joint community health project using radio in Tanzania.
Joining us from Misericordia University is Dr. Cynthia Mailloux, a Nursing Department professor and chairperson. Her primary area of practice focuses on nursing education and curriculum development. Dr. Mailloux’s research interests evolve around the principles of “learner empowerment”,”nursing autonomy”and outcomes of “patient navigation systems”. Dr. Mailloux was the 2001 recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award from Penn State Worthington Scranton, 2004 Pennsylvania Nurse Research Award presented by the Pennsylvania State Nurse Association and in 2013 the Pauly and Sidney Friedman Faculty Award for Service from
Misericordia University. She was a 2015 AACN Wharton Nurse Leadership Scholar. This is the second year that Dr. Mailloux has participated in the Global Health course offered in Tanzania.
As for the rest of the team, I will let them introduce themselves:
Hello! I am Shana Noon. I just finished my junior year of nursing school at Wilkes University. I am excited and grateful for this opportunity to study abroad in Tanzania. I cannot wait to learn more about the culture and meet new people. I only once briefly traveled outside of the United States for an Alternative Spring Break trip to Costa Rica. In addition to Alternative Spring Break, I am very involved on campus. I am a Resident Assistant, Bystander Peer Trainer, and I tutor nursing courses. I am so ready for this adventure in Tanzania for four weeks! I’m interested to come to understand the differences in health care, challenges that nurses and other health care professionals face, and how culture and resources affect the approach to treatment. I believe my time in Tanzania will provide me with more global awareness and expose me to experiences that I may not have gotten the chance to see in the United States. I’m not going to waste a single moment during my time in Tanzania. I want to learn and see as much as I can because I believe this experience will make me a better nurse.
My name is Megan McGovern and I am currently a junior at Wilkes University. At school, I am a double major, studying both Biology/Pre- Med and Spanish. I aspire to get accepted into medical school and become an emergency physician. I have been to numerous countries around the world, but this is my first trip to Africa! I am very fortunate and blessed to be a part of this once in a lifetime experience!
While in Tanzania, I will be studying and gathering information concerning the caesarean section dangers and rates of C-section procedures in comparison to America.
I’m Katie Hurley and I’m entering my senior year at Misericordia University. I am from a small town in Pennsylvania called Sayre, which is right on the border of New York. I’ve been working as a care partner at the hospital, but have also worked at an ice cream shop and a boutique in the past. My favorite things are probably ice cream and mac and cheese, you can never have too much! I like doing things outdoors but also like to relax and watch movies. I’ve never been out of the country so this will be a very new experience for me! I’m excited but nervous at the same time. Going on this trip is far outside my comfort zone but I think it’ll be a great experience.
Hi, I’m Haley, and here’s a short biography about who I am and why, in just a few shorts day, I am headed to Tanzania, Africa. I love people. I love meeting them, getting to know them, and most of all, taking care of them when they need help the most; little kids, especially. Children’s innate optimism combined with a maturity level that perfectly matches my own is what leads me to become a pediatric
nurse. Along with this, I’ve always been interested in understanding why some groups of people remain living in poverty with little opportunity to progress. As a nurse, I hope to someday be able to help change the lives of children growing up in this type of environment. I am also cursed with a very powerful case of wanderlust, so to combine all of the things that fascinate me with a trip to Karagwe, Tanzania is a dream come true.
My name is Lexi Giannone. I am from Long Island, NY and I am a senior nursing student at Misericordia University. Africa has always been a place that I’ve dreamed of visiting, but I never thought I would be going there to extend a helping hand doing what I love to do. This trip will definitely be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I wasn’t always a nursing major. I actually changed my major from speech language
pathology to nursing. Nursing, to me, is about empathy, caring for someone, and advocating for that person. I have grown to be very passionate about my future profession, and everything that it takes to be a nurse. I’m hoping that while we are in Tanzania I am able to work with many children. I am overwhelmed with emotions as I prepare for this trip since I have never done anything like this before.
My name is Lisa Tondora. Currently, I am a Licensed Practical Nurse attending the part-time evening accelerated RN BSN nursing program at Misericordia University. I have been a resident of Northeastern Pennsylvania my whole life. I have one wonderful son currently serving in the United States Navy. I crave knowledge and find myself searching for new challenges and activities to satisfy my interest. My
belief is that humor is an important quality to possess, especially when working closely with colleagues, patients, and families. I am a firm believer in treating others with respect, dignity, equality, and kindness. My spontaneous nature brought me to the decision to engage myself in traveling to Tanzania.
Meeting people of different cultural backgrounds is exciting for me. My hope is to meet new people as well as gain lifelong friendships. There is no doubt in my mind this will be and opportunity of a lifetime.
My name is Ambika Ramesh. I attended the University of Pittsburgh for my undergraduate studies. I majored in Neuroscience with a mind and focus on medicine. Through shadowing physicians, volunteering in hospitals, and working as a nursing aide, I was propelled towards the field of medicine. Before my junior year, I volunteered abroad in India at the Manasa Foundation. The Manasa foundation
is dedicated to providing homeless women with mental illness shelter, treatment, and employment. My experiences abroad sparked my interest in rural medicine and providing care to underserved communities. I recently graduated from The Commonwealth Medical College and received my Masters in Biomedical Sciences. This will be my very first study abroad experience and my very first time in Africa! I look forward to learning about the culture and people of Tanzania. More so, I am grateful for the opportunity to volunteer at Nyakahanga Designated District Hospital and work with its staff,
patients, and students.
My name is Meghna Kataky and I’m currently from Atlanta, Georgia (although I’ve lived in several other locations around the US including Kentucky, Ohio, Minnesota, Missouri, and Pennsylvania). I received my undergraduate degree in Healthcare Management at Washington University in St. Louis, and this year, I completed my Master in Biomedical Sciences degree at The Commonwealth Medical College. In
regard to this community service trip to Tanzania, in addition to learning as much as I can about health care in Tanzania, I hope to take in as much as possible about Tanzanian culture and customs. I am particularly interested in exploring two areas while in Tanzania: observing the lives and health of children and entering the discussion on the prevalence of depression in Tanzania. Additionally, I look
forward to the opportunity to travel on a safari within the Serengeti.