The past two days have left us inspired, empowered, and…. very tired. However, this tired has been one that I think all of us have welcomed with arms wide open and we would not have it any other way.
Yesterday began with the opportunity for the physical therapy students to present an in-service to a group of 50+ teachers and government officials for the city of Francistown. This city is very blessed to have so many teachers, teachers’ aides, and caregivers in their school systems that are willing and ready to learn all information to help them provide care to children with special needs. They are actively advocating for their “learners” (how they refer to the students here in Botswana) on a daily basis. The PT students were able to instruct them in the proper way to perform transfers and range of motion exercises and also educate them in proper body mechanics. The teachers were so proud of themselves and each other every time they would successfully complete a transfers and they were so appreciative of our help.
Meanwhile, the SLP and Audiology students were busy at the Progressive Physical Therapy clinic screening more than 50 children during the morning session alone. They were able to provide recommendations and advice to help improve each child’s impairments and guide them to where they needed to seek further medical attention. Not only were they able to help screen children with speech and hearing needs, but they were also able to provide screening and helpful recommendation for children with physical impairments despite being short resources due to the PT students being absent. PT students then joined in the afternoon to continue helping to screen additional children. I have to say that my favorite part of that day was my discussion with the Speech and audiology students about the physical care they were able to give to the children and hear how excited they were to be able to help the children in that way. This is just one reason that I am proud to call these individuals my teammates and my future colleagues. Understandably, when the day finally ended I can 100% confirm that we were all dragging our feet on the walk home, tired, but feeling accomplished.
Today we were able to visit one of the many villages in Botswana, the Tatitown Kgotia, and perform, balance, hearing, and cognitive screenings to members of their community. One of the best parts about this trip, is that nothing goes as we planned, but somehow turns out to be better than we could have imagined. We were able to provide fall prevention strategies, hearing recommendations, and strategies to improve memory to over 50 individuals and we were so blessed by their many words of thanks and appreciation. Today was not only a day of encouragement for the individuals we were able to work with, but it was also a day of growth for our teams. We were able to identify areas that needed improvement in order to best benefit the patient and we were also able to make modifications and adjust to unexpected obstacles while appreciative the integral part that we had in making today go smoothly.