Sunday, January 8, 2012

9 days and counting! Readying for Africa

The bags are (almost) packed! Shots and meds on Wednesday, first aide kit replenished, camera batteries and kindle charged, mosquito repellent and skin so soft purchased… got to pick up a mosquito net.

My name is Amelia, and this is my first trip with PINCC. I became acquainted with the organization last May, helped in the fundraiser in June, and waited until there was a trip that fit in my schedule. I will be going to Uganda and Kenya in two weeks. I am not a nurse or a doctor, I am a former teacher now nursing school candidate who will act as a community educator and all around support for the team while they train the host country medical staff on the identification and treatment of cervical cancer.

Today the team met in Oakland to prepare for the trip. At least 8 suitcases bigger than I have ever owned were packed with gauze, small cotton swabs, large cotton swabs, gloves, gloves and more gloves, pregnancy tests, LEEP machines and materials, exam kits that we put together, headlamps, alcohol solution, cytobrushes, pap sticks, syringes, loops, silver nitrate, lidocaine, and all kinds of instruments that I am only fairly familiar. Each suitcase had a packing list, each carefully thought out so that everything that was needed would be with us yet none would be over 50lbs, so no one would have to pay over sized luggage fees.

And what fun the day was! These are some terrific people going on this trip. Our fearless leader, Carol, has a Zen like quality that, regardless as to what is going on around her, keeps everyone calm and unfretted. Art, a retired OBGYN who plays drums and is studying Jazz piano has an elfish sparkle in his eyes, a joy of life seen in many people who are readying to embark on an adventure. Another Carol and Eva, two lively and cheerful nurses who have been to South America with PINCC, round out our team to Africa. The day went fast as we filled the suitcases, smiled and giggled at the stories and perused a book Barbara and John made of the last trip to Africa.

Many thanks to Kay, Pat, Carol, Art, Carol, Eva, Mitra, John, Barbara, Cheryl, Renee, Sujata and Karen for giving of their time in helping us prepare for this trip.

The bags are nearly packed. We are just about ready to go. For me, nine days and counting…

Amelia T. Hambrecht

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