Monthly Archives: May 2017

My day in Marbella

Hola!

I have been doing my practical training here in Marbella, Spain. And I just love it! Of course sometimes I have been frustrated and missing home but most of the times I have enjoyed my time here. The weather has been perfect and food is delicious so I would say: all good in Marbella.

IMG_3339

Churros with chocolate

First I was in healthcare center and then I went to the hospital. In both places working habits has been quite different than in Finland. I think the biggest different is that everyone is in the same room. I mean everyone. There is a big room, like a small hall where is 8-12 tables were physiotherapist can do the treatment to the client. There is no curtains or walls so everyone can here everything. I think that is weird because in Finland it is very strict that you can not speak someones things to another. But no in Spain. For example if there was a baby everyone tried to entertain the baby. I think there is good and bad things that everyone is in the same room: clients made friends during their treatment period, but sometimes it is so noisy in the room that you can’t even here your own thoughts!

IMG_3240

The healthcare center and my colleague.

When I am not in work I try to explore the area as much as I can. I have visited cities nearby such as in Estepona, Fuengirola and also Sevilla. I have also done some hiking because Marbella is surrounded big mountains and you can walk up to the highest point named La concha. It means a shell and it is 1200m high! The view is absolutely amazing and when there is no clouds you can see Africa. Amazing right?

IMG_3400

At the top of the mountain, la concha

Like I said before: all good in Marbella

Saludos,

Veera

Postcard from Madrid, Spain

Hello my beautiful friends from all over the world!

I’m Erika, a 21-year-old student nurse from Tampere. Currently I’m living in Madrid and fulfilling my dreams. As a future nurse I’m doing my practical training here in Spain. The training is held in the city of Madrid and of course – only in Spanish. These past weeks have been very intense. Before departure my Spanish level was  B2  so I expect a huge change both in my nursing skills and in my Spanish.

My first placement took place in a health center in the neighborhood of Vallecas. My first day in health fulfilled every expectation I had – and much more. At 6 am I woke up and took the metro to Buenos Aires. I found the health centre easily with the help of Google Maps. But the problem is that I’m a typical Finn, so arrived 20 minutes early so I had to wait for the nurses at least 30 minutes.

Those 30 minutes felt like a lifetime because I was so nervous. At the same time, I felt excited to start my Erasmus but mostly I was terrified of meeting everyone. My worst fear was that my own tutor nurse, Diego, wouldn’t like me or we wouldn’t get along. So I waited, and soon I saw someone walking towards me. The first person who I met at the door was Manuela. She introduced me to Alejandra – one of the nurses in the health centre. Both of the girls were really nice. I got my ”bata” and I was shocked to get a” doctor’s jacket”. I was so amazed that I, a nursing student, could wear something as cool as that. In Finland they would never allow it: Those jackets are only for doctors. I think it’s nice that here everyone wears the same type of uniform. I’m so sick of the Finnish way of classifying everything and everyone to certain groups.

IMG_9990 IMG_9988

So the first thing Alejandra told me was to follow her to ”sacar sangre” which means taking blood samples. I had just changed my clothes and hadn’t even met my tutor nurse yet, and I was already asked to do something. I loved it! No one treated me like a foreign student, I was part of the team now. So I followed her and she showed me how to take blood samples from the veins of the arm. I felt terrified at first, because actually nurses in Finland don’t really do that: blood samples are taken by the laborants. We had practiced venepunctures at uni but I didn’t remember anything of it but I was ready to learn! Alejandra showed me the technique one by one and before I even realized I had taken the samples.

In the end of the practical training I was already taking blood samples independently. So much fun, right?

Sacando sangre
Sacando sangre
Vaccination a baby
Vaccination a baby

During the first week I realized the nurses in Spain and Finland in health centres do completely different things: In Spain the work consists of dealing with chronic patients, preventive work and helping either elderly or young people – at least in the health centre of Alcala de Guadaira.  In Finland most of the time I evaluated the need of the treatment (for example if the patient had sudden chest paint) and dealt people with flu, pain or other symptoms they didn’t have before. MostIy the workday in my home country consisted of giving people influenza shots and taking Streptococcus smears.

One of the biggest surprises for me was to notice that no one in the health centre used an automatic machine to measure blood pressure. I’m happy that I actually practiced manual blood pressure measuring (more than most of my classmates) because I thought I’d never use this skill anywhere outside school property. In Finland it’s very rare to see someone using the old fashioned way.  But anyway I was able to do it without any problems when I practiced a few times first. It was actually more fun to measure the blood pressure manually than with a machine.

Another silly difference I noticed in the daily life were the different measurements. During Diego’s consultation I tested the patient’s blood sugar many times but at first I couldn’t understand the results at all because in Spain the health care professional use. In Finland the ideal glucose levels are 4 to 7 mmol/L and after meal under 9 mmol/, if the patient has diabetes but here in Spain normally the goal is to keep the sugar under 150 mg/ml after a meal. Before meals the result of glucose test should be 70-145

The highlight of my practical training was without a doubt the paediatric nursing part. Me and Diego were working together with the specialized children’s doctor for couple of sessions. The kids came to the health centre for their monthly check up and I was able to vaccinate, measure and weight them – even the small babies. I mainly focused on small children from 28 days to 3 years old. I check the kid’s sight and reflexes like for example the Moro reflex and the walking reflex. Also it was very important to evaluate the movement and flexibility of the baby but also how tense the baby was. I love working with babies and I’d like study the profession of midwife one day.

Measuring and weighting the baby
Measuring and weighting the baby
Checking the reflexes of the baby
Checking the reflexes of the baby

I have lived in Madrid before, so my exchange is not the most typical one. I haven’t been doing many touristic thing anymore because I know the city and the culture pretty well already. My favorite things to do in Madrid are to have tinto de verano in Chueca, enjoy the amazing tortilla de patatas in lovely Malasaña and finish the day going out to Kapital. Also Madrid is a heaven on earth for shopaholics like me. There are stores EVERYWHERE. I mean, I bet there are at least 30 Zaras in the city center… Really bad situation for my budget.

Madrid rooftop
Madrid rooftop

KCHD9827

When I was living in Madrid the first time I didn’t have enough money to travel. Last summer I worked my ass off to be able to enjoy this Erasmus to the fullest… So this time I’ve been focusing on traveling on my spare time. I have been to traveling around Morocco, since I found extremely cheap flight to fly there. They cost 19 euros in total! Can you believe that? I had the chance to go to Sahara desert and ride a camel, stroll around the Medina in Marrakesh and be amazed by the amazing blue village of Chefchaouen. This trip felt surreal…

After Morocco I went to celebrate Las Fallas to Valencia. ALUSINANTE!

My ride of the day - Ali Baba
My ride of the day – Ali Baba
Sunset in the dunes
Sunset in the dunes
Las Fallas -fiesta in Valencia
Las Fallas -fiesta in Valencia

I also traveled to Palma de Mallorca with a friend. We did a stand up paddle surfing course to the caves of Mallorca. It was absolutely breathtaking.

SUPping in Mallorca
SUPping in Mallorca
Palma de Mallorca
Palma de Mallorca

Of course I had to go to Andalusia while I’m here in Spain. I spent my Semana Santa watching Easter parades that lasted for hours and hours. I was traveling solo and spend my nights in different hostel. I met so many amazing people from all over the world both in Sevilla and in Cordoba. Finally me and a Canadian girl decided to continue our trip together. I might need to go and visit her in Canada next.. I wouldn’t travel to the South again during Easter because there were so many people, that at one point I couldn’t even enter to my hostel. But it was definitely worth the trouble.

One of the patios
One of the patios
Cordoba and its patios. Flowers everywhere
Cordoba and its patios. Flowers everywhere
Sevilla - Plaza de España
Sevilla – Plaza de España

IMG_3457

Semana santa parade
Semana santa parade
The cathedral/mosque of Cordoba
The cathedral/mosque of Cordoba

Finally I did two separate trips to Portugal. First to Lisbon and later to Aveiro and Porto. If you haven’t been to Portugal yet, you should go there ASAP! Portugal is easy to reach from Spain. I can highly recommend the carpooling system called blabla.car which I took to go to Porto by myself. It’s safe and cheap. I don’t want to write more about my trips because I’m not talented enough to describe all the amazing experiences I gained during these visits. I can only encourage you to travel now, while you still have the time. Be brave and don’t be afraid to do things by yourself.  LET’S GET LOST! NOW!

Lisbon
Lisbon
Praia costa nova in portugal
Praia costa nova in portugal
Cloudy Oporto
Cloudy Oporto
Riverside of Porto
Riverside of Porto

OTRR8726– With love, Erika

Greetings from MSU, United States

I have been studying in Michigan State University in East-Lansing. This is a great place, you could say that the campus is a town itself. If you compare a regular Finnish campus to the campus in MSU it couldn’t be more different!

Michigan State University Main Campus PDF Graphic

https://maps.msu.edu/

As you can see the campus area is a lot bigger than for example the campus area in TAMK. Since I am writing my thesis, big and important difference for me is the library. It is open basically 24 hours a day and there is a cafeteria.

In addition to doing my thesis I have also visited in different social services provided by the university. First of all in the US there is different education system which, in my case, means that in here I would graduate as a Bachelor of Social Work in stead of Bachelor of Social Services. Since in Finland we make difference between social workers and Bachelors of Social Services and in the US they don’t, it is obvious that there are also differences on job descriptions.

If the education system is different so is the social service system. For example MSU offers a lot of services on it’s own for students but there are also community programs which you can read more about in here: http://socialwork.msu.edu/Programs/Community-Outreach/Community-Programs

As I mentioned, the campus is a town itself and there are different activities like student groups or activities organized by OISS (Office for International Students and Scholars). Since we are in America, you can guess that foot ball is a big deal. “Go green, go white!” echoes in the streets of East-Lansing when Spartans play. Underneath there is a photo of Spartan Statue.

Aiheeseen liittyvä kuva

http://testimages.tourtheten.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/SpartyStatueFront-300×260.jpg

So there is a lot to see in MSU! I am so grateful for this experience and if someone asked, I would definitely recommend MSU for a place to study.

Best,

Sini

Greetings from NC State University!

Studying here in NC State has been very different compared to Tamk. Here we have only few hours of lectures in a week. For one class there is only about 2-3 hours of lectures but there is way more homework than in Tamk. Also in here they give us lot of midterms during the year and also final exams in the end. I study engineering and engineering professors do give a lot of homework every week.

 

I have been living in international dorm called Alexander hall on main campus. It has been great experience because I got to meet lot of people all over the world. We have had lot of trips with people of Alexander hall for example we have been hiking in mountains, we have been travelling to Chicago and Washington. There has been lot of events on campus too like every few weeks we have this thing called cups of culture where group of people from same country makes some traditional food for everyone and they also tell about their culture. We have coffee talks every two weeks where people just gather drink coffee and talk about some interesting/important topics. Living with these people has been so nice and interesting.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle alexander hall nc state

Here is a picture of Alexander hall

received_1269184526447088

This picture is taken from Chicago and these are some of the people of Alexaner hall

Bonjour à tous!

I can’t believe how fast the time has gone during my semester in Nice, southern France! I’ve been here for over three months now and I only have three weeks left. These past months have been the greatest of my life and I’m already stressing about leaving, I’m not ready! First few weeks went by in a blur when life was all about new places, new people, different language and beginning of studies, but after getting used to everything I’ve really enjoyed my life here. After all, how can you not when the sun is shining 95 % of the time?

P1240041

I’m studying at IPAG Business School which is a private school that has campuses here in Nice but also in Paris, Los Angeles and Kunming. When compared to TAMK, the school is very small and I was really surprised when I first got here. There is no actual cafeteria where you could buy lunch, but only a small café that serves sandwiches and other small snacks. During lunchtime everyone just goes to boulangeries (little bakeries) near the school and eat plain baguettes. There is nothing more French than people walking in the street with a baguette in their hand.

P1290063

Studying compared to TAMK has been a little more challenging than what I expected. We usually have seperate lectures and tutorials from the courses which mean that in lectures we just sit and listen, and in tutorials we do group projects in small groups. Lectures are very similar than lectures in TAMK but the strong French accent has made listening to the teachers sometimes very difficult. Also the tutorials are something that took me awhile to get used to. In TAMK we are used to doing our group projects on our own schedule whereever and whenever we want so sitting in a classroom writing a project together with the group feels sometimes very unefficient.

P2060089

I usually only have a few hours of school a day so I have a lot of freetime! Still I feel like I don’t have enough time to do all the things I want to do and visit all the places I want to see! I live with my Finnish roommate so I never get lonely and usually we spend our days hanging out with our friends, taking trips to nearby towns, doing a little shopping and tanning at the beach. Traveling around the French Riviera is very easy and cheap, for example a bus ticket to Monaco costs only 1,50e! Going around in Nice is also very easy since the city is relatively small, there is one tram line going from one end of the city to another and there are also the bikes (vélo bleu) that you can rent. The city is very cozy and cute and life here is very relaxed. Local people spend their evenings just hanging out at the beach which is so different from the busy Finnish lifestyle.

 

All in all, I really enjoy my time here and I’m going to use the time I have left as well as possible. There is still so much to do and see and I also want to have some time to just enjoy the weather and atmosphere here.

 

-Eveliina

Greetings from NC, US

Greetings from North Carolina!

Semester here is getting close to the end, which is sad, but I have enjoyed every single day in here. I think there is a lot of difference in studying here than back in Finland, at least in engineering. First of all I have to say that I study in North Carolina State University and it has very good engineering programs for undergraduate students as a public state school.

As most people probably know already, there is a lot more homework in US schools compared to Finland. The grades are constructed (in most cases) from you homework, projects, midterms and finals. In Finland we usually have only one or two exams per semester. Both has their pros and cons, but there is no denying that studying all the time the whole semester helps you to learn. But as a exchange student, I have to say that sometimes there is too much work, since I would like to travel and have a social life etc.

Compared to the Finnish university life, the American students take studying way more seriously and are much more concerned about their grades than Finnish students.

THE CITY AND SPORTS

Okay, enough of studying, lets talk about the city and sports.

raleigh

Raleigh is the capital of the state of North Carolina. There is about 400 000 people living in Raleigh and about 40 000 people studying at NC State. The campus is about four miles away from downtown, which is not too far away at all if you ask me. The downtown area in Raleigh has a quite few bars and nightclubs which offer live music and things to do for college students.

SPORTS

The school of course has it’s own football and basketball teams and it is a huge deal.

stadium

The Carter Finley stadium has a capacity for almost 60 000 people. It is free for students to go watch the football games. Also what I personally liked a lot it the tailgating before the games. People arrive to the parking lots few hours before the game and have a barbeque, play corn hole, throw football and play many other games and socialize.

Close to the campus there is also the PNC arena where the NHL ice hockey team Carolina Hurricanes play.

arena

As a Finnish person I was very happy to see few NHL games and that the arena was so close to the campus.

LIVING ON CAMPUS

Most students here live on campus which is good idea if you ask me. You are close to your classes and don’t have to commute too much (well depends where you live on campus). Since the campus is quite big, there is a free bus lines going around the campus all day and most of the night too.

ncsu

Since NC State is a public state school the classrooms can (especially in the freshman level) get quite crowded (about 300 people max). But on junior and senior level classes the size drops to a reasonable level (about 20 – 30 people in a classroom).

To sum it up, I really enjoyed the time I have spent here in NC State, especially the student life and all the trips we did with other exchange students and Americans.

Greetings from Linköping, Sweden

I have had three months to explore a country which is very similar to my home country Finland. Even though people would say it is almost the same than in Finland… I don’t agree. There are many things that are different in a good and a bad way.

When I left for the exchange, I decided to enjoy my stay in Sweden and also see as much as I can. During the weekends we often travelled to different cities like Norrköping, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Västerås and Stockholm just to name a few. And those weekends taught us a lot about Sweden as a country and a society. We wanted to experience if there were any differences for example in public transports or customer service compared to Finland.linkö_2

One of the best parts of my exchange was the first week – the orientation week where I met all the crazy people all over the world. We spent the week together and we formed a temporary family. We were cooking, dancing and partying with our Swedish teacher and learning Swedish habits. We had great tutors too whom introduced us Swedish food and drinks around the country. We were singing the national songs and dancing and just learning what is it to be a Swede.

But when the real studying started I got really tired. Education in Sweden has higher standards and I was studying at a university instead of a school of applied sciences. The studies have actually consisted mainly of practices during this three months.

First practice was in the city of Finspång which is about a one-hour bus journey from the Linköping. Luckily I got a free buss card so the location wasn’t that bad and the practice place was great. Second practice was about five minutes’ bicycle ride from my home so I got a bit more time to sleep too. This practice was the hardest, but I learned so much of it. There I also had many opportunities to choose what I wanted to learn and see. Last practice was in Linköpings university’s hospital student ward. There are only students working and the supervisors are helping us if needed. Last practice really gave a chance to see how far I have become in my studies and to see myself as a physiotherapist. I’m so thankful for all these places and those supervisors for giving me the opportunity to learn and grow as a physio.

We were also participating Linköping’s Medical Students Olympic games with our exchange group. From the first Swedish lesson our group learned a word ”snälla” and that was also our teams name. In this Olympic game there were four different competitions and they tested us in eating, drinking, power and speed. I was involved with two games. First one was eating a candy as fast as I can without using my hands. In the second competition the task was to transport a bottle of water with a tampon on my waist for a 10-meter distance. The latter demanded speed, accuracy and concentration.

Biggest part of my exchange was FOOD. I really love food and Sweden gave me a chance to enjoy it. We were doing many international potlucks and there I had a chance to taste foods from all-over the world, for example sushi from Japan and tortillas from Mexico. Gothenburg gave me the best and the biggest cinnamon buns in my whole life. And if you love meat, I can suggest to have the Swedish meatballs. And of course if you like sweet stuff, Sweden is the place to go. They are having “fika” (drinking coffee and eating pastries) almost all day every day.linkö_3

There are many possibilities to do and to see sports in Linköping and in the neighboring. There is an ice-hockey team in Linköping and I was really enjoying their big games and that dedication the team and the supporters were showing. Near Linköping you can go to watch basketball. There are also chances to go to watch and play football, handball and other sports. We also had a chance to go to do paintball and laserwar for free, and those I can warmly recommend.linkö_4

So if you are interested to learn Swedish, to be a part of student happenings and to learn more about your own field of study… I would warmly recommend Sweden and especially Linköping.
linkö_1

Greetings from Austria

It´s now almost my third month in Krems, Austria and what can I say… I love it here! This city is a rather small place with only 20 000 inhabitants but that’s one of the reasons why I like being here. Compared to Tampere there is not much fuss all the time and its nice for a change. In here you get to know to the people well and places come really familiar because it´s not a big city. The center is beautiful with its old buildings and many churches.

Krems an der Donau
Krems an der Donau

I live in this kind of student dormitory which is called Stuwo. It´s a bit far from the university but at least you get exercise when you walk to school and back. A lot of people have bought a bike and at first I was going to do the same but then I decided that I want to spend my money on something else, for example travelling.

IMC University of Appiled Sciences Krems
IMC University of Appiled Sciences Krems

What else is great is that Austria is in the center of the Europe and in few hours by a bus or a train you can go to different countries and its extremely cheap. I have already been in Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland and later I might go to Germany as well.

A picture from Zakopane, Poland.
A picture from Zakopane, Poland.

What came as a bit of a shock for me when I arrived here was the fact that basically everything is closed on Sundays. Austrians are mostly catholic people and that why Sundays are resting days for them. Not even during the week’s shops are open late. Everything closes at eight at the latest. Another thing which I don’t like is that you can smoke inside bars and clubs. There is no fresh air anywhere and when you get home all your clothes and hair smell like cigarettes.

The original Sacher Torte in Hotel Sacher, Vienna
The original Sacher Torte in Hotel Sacher, Vienna

Despite those things I do enjoy being here. I have made a lot of friends and most of them live in this same place as me. My friends from Finland have come to visit me and my parents are coming in the end of May. Then we are going to travel around Austria. I´m going to stay here in Krems until June and I´m looking forward to see what this exchange has yet to offer me!

Ahoj! Greetings from Zlín

Hello!

My studies here in Zlín, Czech Republic, are leaning towards the end. It’s going to be also the end of amazing semester with many great new people I have met here.

When we arrived, we had Welcome Week before official starting of studies. During the week there was lots of events like bowling, pub tour, trips, etc to get familiar with each other. This week was really amazing and got to know so much about many different cultures.

First weeks of studying was basically introduction of teachers and studying environment. University has mostly really modern equipment, laboratories and measurement facilities. Each faculty have different buildings, below is a map of University buildings in Zlín.

Capture

 

Main building, and library is situated in U13. I have been studying in Faculty of Applied Informatics in a building called U5, below is a picture of my faculty.

u5

Studying here is not really much different than it is in Finland, teaching methods are mostly same. Only thing is different is that teachers are not really strict and don’t really require anything else that you will do the tasks they give at some point. I find it not too good, because you will really lose your motivation to study. Still after all in general I’ve enjoyed my studies here.

Living in Zlín is really cheap, sometimes food costs like half of the equivalent in Finland. Local people don’t really speak English here so sometimes it can be difficult to deal with them. Usually using universal sign language does the trick or then other helpful local who can speak English will help.

People here are really socially active and they tend to sit on pub with lot of friends or family. Pub is the soul of Czech peoples lives, and usually there is really amazing atmosphere.  Service in pub is also mostly really good, serving is always done to table and you don’t need to get up to bar counter for orders, so the service will come to you

Possibilities to travel here are astonishing, and I have visited Italy, Austria, Poland. Alone inside Czech Republic there is so much to see for example capital city Prague, Český Krumlov and many more. Below are only few pictures of all my trips here.

20170401_131312

View in Prague

20170305_114741

Main square in Krakow, Poland

20170321_124826

Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria

After all these trips I have always left astonished by all the things I’ve seen, and I really want to visit most of them again! Before I go back to Finland I will also visit Budapest in Hungary.

I can really recommend visiting Czech Republic the people and places are so great!

With kind wishes,

-Tero

 

 

 

 

Tewali buzibu, meaning no problem!

Greetings from Uganda! We’re way past the halfway of our trip. As an experience Uganda has been very all surrounded experience that I can’t really analyze it very deeply in one blog post. We’ve experienced many different things and we still have plenty of those left before coming back to Finland. Some of the experiences have been amazing, incredible and something we only get to experience once in a lifetime. Some experiences have been very rough and they require a lot of processing even after returning to Finland. Whenever I talk to someone in Finland and they ask what’s going on in Uganda, the usual answer is nothing much, just the normal every day life. That is why I’ll be mostly focusing on our every day life in here instead of the adventures we’ve had.

IMAG1713
Happy children after immunization!

 IMAG1634 

IMAG0086

After our orientation week all 11 of us spent four weeks in Mpigi. I think Fanny already covered that in her blog post, so I’ll be telling what’s been happening ever since. Four of us spent our holiday week in Zanzibar (which I can absolutely recommend to anyone, it was absolutely gorgeous and I don’t think I’ve ever been that relaxed), meanwhile others were exploring Uganda through safari, gorilla tracking and visiting Pygmi-village (yes I am serious). After our holiday some of us, me included, came to Kampala. We are living in a small hostel called La’Villa. I’ve been working at China-Uganda Friendship Hospital Naguru. Naguru is a bigger, public hospital. I have been working in antenatal with pregnant women, in postnatal (vaccinating, family planning, postnatal ward, NICU) and now in labour ward.  Some days in antenatal there were over 150 mothers a day and at maternity ward there are many people on the same bed and the floors are full of people sleeping on mattresses. The hallways are full of people; pregnant women, accident victims, emergency gyne patients, family members and hospital staff. I think it’s fair to say that maternity as a medical area is a big part of the public health care here.

There are no privacy at the hospitals. At the labour ward in Naguru there are three beds for deliveries and in between there are not even curtains. They suture with hands, sometimes the midwives don’t even use instruments. They are used to cutting episiotomy with a razer blade and without local anesthetics. We see a lot of things here that we would never have seen in Finland. Like our friend Peter always says, “it’s not right, it’s not wrong, it’s just different.” We have witnessed a lot of nurses slapping, yelling or laughing at the patients. The nurses seem to have the power here over the patients and they use it. Ofcourse there are those lovely nurses who really treat the patients nicely as well. Because we witness a lot of rough things here, we can’t take it personally. If we did and didn’t know how to process these things we see, hear and experience, we wouldn’t be able to last the three months in here. Luckily there are those wonderful, positive things every day that keep us happy most of the time. This has been an incredible experience and I gotta tell you, you learn a lot about yourself, your own values and you don’t come back the same person you were when you first came here. Our group has also been absolutely amazing. There are no words to describe Africa and it totally has stolen our hearts.

IMAG2990
Delivery room at Naguru hospital
IMAG2995
Washing the instruments in the delivery room
IMAG2906
Bagging drugs has become very familiar work for us at the hospitals

Our normal day starts with the breakfast. Either we eat at the hostel (bred, an omelette and tea) or we make porrige and coffee. We made this possible by buying water heaters. At 7:30 am the university ride comes to pick us up and takes us to the hospital. But then again, we live in African time so 7:30 am can actually mean 7:30 am or 9 am. “In Africa we have time, we don’t have watches”. One morning it was raining and they just let us know that they’ll pick us up when the rain stops. Even the nurses first came to work once the rain had stopped.

At work we usually have our lunch between 12-13 o’clock. Our lunch break lasts an hour. We either have the local food for lunch, or we buy banana, yogurt or samosa (this local dough triangle with beans or meet inside of it). Our day ends between 14-16 o’clock, depending on where we happen to work. We come home with the university ride (which comes when it comes), with boda bodas (local motorcycles which is very dangerous with the traffics and without a helmet on) or with an Uber-taxi which has been the safest and cheapest way of getting home on time. When it’s dinner time, we mostly eat in our rooms noodles with something. If we’re in the mood for something else, we eat at the hostel or we go somewhere else to eat. We don’t do much in the evenings. We go to the store, buy water or chill together, sometimes with our local friends. 

A part of our normal life is also dealing with the Ugandan shillings. One euro is about 3500 shillings. Mostly I don’t do the calculations in my head anymore. After our trip to Zanzibar we had to calculate Tanzanian shillings to euros and those to Ugandan shillings. Sometimes it can be a bit tricky. We’ve also learned how to bargain (but most of us are still very bad at it). The Mzungu-prices are about double to what the locals pay, so you need to know how to get the price down. 

I’ve also realized how much we take things for granted in Finland. For example, shower and tap water. In here, a shower means washing ourselves under a small, cold water trip under the shower tap. We carry our water from the stores. We like to buy 18 liter bottles, then pour that one into 5 liter bottles and from those again into 1,5 liter bottles. If we buy cold water, it’s not gonna stay cold for a long time. We do our laundry by hand, mostly in the cold water. We don’t really go anywhere alone and walking in the dark is not safe nor much fun. We haven’t been much sick, but lately seems like we are having more stomach problems than we did before.

Now it’s starting to be colder here. The finnish storms are nothing compared to the ones we have here. We love to watch the lightnings and the storms.

IMAG2249
Susanna washing her laundry with Pascol

The Ugandan traffic is veeeery trafficy. You go where you can pass. I will never complain about the small bumps on the road in Finland ever again. The Ugandan people are very religious and because there are a lot of muslims in here, we hear a lot of prayer calls. There are a lot of chickens and goats walking free on the streets. We see the poverty everywhere. There are a lot of slum areas and some of us have been able to go and actually do homevisits. We see a lot of people begging for money and selling things on the roads and on the streets. But then there are also those veeery rich people and the contrast is huge. Corruption is also a big problem here.

IMAG0031
Traffic

IMAG2242     

Most of the Ugandan food is carbs. They eat fish, some chicken and meat. Matoke and Ugali are very common food here and you can get them anywhere. Matoke is a mash made of bananas and Ugali is a mash made of maize flower. Chapati-bread is amazingly good and also those samosas I was writing about earlier. A common street food is a Rolex, which is an omelette wrapped in a chapati. They make this amazing peanut sauce in here as well. You can buy chips from almost anywhere. Cabbage salad and spinach salad are very common as well as peas and beans. We absolutely love the fruits here and I don’t know how we’ll get used to eating the fruits from Finnish stores again.

IMAG2121

Part of our every day life in here is dealing with the mosquitos. We sleep under a mosquito net. We (well mostly me) scratch when it itches. There are also other bugs in here. But luckily these mosquitos in here don’t make the noise the ones in Finland do, so it’s not nearly as annoying. And the bites itch for a while but then they stop itching very quickly.

IMAG2986
We deal with mosquito bites every day

The Ugandan people are amazing. They are so nice, friendly and open minded. It doesn’t matter how poor they are, if you are a guest they give you the last bite of everything they have. The Ugandan children are so happy and even they are very open minded. Sometimes the communication is tricky. Some people speak English with an unclear accent and some mumble a lot. I only dare to ask “what?” so many times. Because sometimes it’s hard for us to understand what Ugandan people are saying and for them to understand our accent, we’ve learned to communicate with just different noises. We’ve also learned the most important words and phrases in Luganda. For me, that mostly means words and phrases that get me through delivery with a mother who doesn’t speak English. Our English has also gotten way worse since we’ve been here, so it might take some work after coming back to Finland to get our English back. We find ourselves using phrases like “even me”, “we move now by the way” as a result of dealing with certain Ugandan people.

So this is what our every day life is like for us. I am sure we will have the biggest culture shock when we return to Finland in a few weeks but until then we are trying to enjoy the last weeks in here.

IMAG2751
Zanzibar<3

-Elsa