Saturday, February 5, 2011

Farewell Philippines

Friday the fourth was a day that came far to fast. For the four of us just doing our community practicuum our time in the Philippines has come to an end. In the morning we gathered members of the community to implement our program which invovled health teaching on the topic of hypertension, which we had identified as an issue during the assessment phase of our community organization week. Our program, which we had been working on throughout the week, had the goal of  providing the community members with knowledge on hypertension that could help lead to a reduction in the incidence and prevalence of hypertension. Our assembly began with information on what hypertension is, its possible consequences and effects on a person's health and well being. A large number of people in the community believe that medication management is all that is needed to treat their hypertension. We provided information to the community about the influence of a healthy lifestyle can have on blood pressure. We prepared posters that depicted proper portion sizes of health foods and snacks. Unfortunately a lot of the snacks that the community members are eating are unhealthy, however they are boughten from the locally own family stores. This was an ethical issue for us to provide information on eating healthier snacks as our goal was not to take away from the source of income that the store owners rely on. Lastly, in regards to diet we provided food preperation modifications. For example; cutting off the fat from the meat and not eating it. Next we went into discussing the effect exercise has on blood pressure. We provided a number of physical activity suggestions. Some of which could be done while seated, as several comunity members have already suffered consequences of hyertension like stroke and have residual weakness. We were fortunate enough to collaborate with several physiotherapy students that helped in the exercise portion of our program. We ended the assembly by providing a healthy snack of fruit salad and a carrot papaya and tuna salad, that everyone enjoyed. We all had a great time interacting with the community members and were greatful to end the practicum with such a success.

That afternoon our instructor Miss Joy informed us we would be enjoying a culminating activity. We assumed this meant a get together to visit and say goodbye to all our new friends. However, we were mistaken. In the Philippines events are always done on a grander scale and we entered the auditorium to find a whole program dedicated the our West meets East experience. There were many amazing speeches given about our time spent in the Philippines and all the great things we had learned from one another. We also were entertained by beautiful songs and several dances too, of which both the Filippino and Canadian students took part in. There was also a heartwarming slide show presentation on our experiences. The Filippino students presented us with parting gifts and kind words about the friendships we had created. It was an emotional and moving exerince to see the impact that 2 to 4 weeks can have on a person. The activities were finished off in true Filippino style with a delicious array of foods.

The four of us cannot fully express in words the grattitude that we feel to all the people who have nade our experince as rewarding as it was. We had been looking forward to this trip for such a long time, years even, that we cannot believe it has come to an end. It has truely impacted each of us on both a professional and personal level. We would like to send out our many thanks to all the people who have made this experince such a success. First off we would to thank the University of Saskatchewan and Dean Lorna Butler from the college of nursing for providing us with this great opportunity to expand our horizons and learn at an international level. We would also like to thank Sister Carol and all of the staff and students from the University of St. Paul Iloilo for hosting us for our first two weeks. Another thank you to Dean Carmelita Dela Cruz-Divinagracia and all of the staff and students from the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center for hosting us for our second two weeks. The hospitality from both schools was overwhelming and they both provided us with truely beneficial learning experinces. We will greatly miss all of our new friends. We would also like to thank the remaining eight students for making our trip so memorable and wish you all the best on your remaining four weeks, you girls are amazing. We would also like to thank any of you out there that have been taking the time to follow our blog and share in our experinces. And last but not least, we would like to send a big thanks to Dr. Susan Kerry Fowler for being the spearhead of this program as we could not have done it without you.

As we say farewell to all of those we have had the honor of meeting in the Philippines we would like to leave you with a quote.                                                                                                                           

Some people come into our lives
and leave footprints on our hearts
and we are never ever the same.
-- Flavia Weedn

                                                All photos are posted with permission

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