Ever wondered what an ideal holiday looks like?.... hahahaha, yeah. I used to think that way too. Movies, catching up on food, family time, making out with friends… lots and lots of play, or if you come from a family of teachers, then be sure of holiday classes all in the name of “preparing you for the next class”. Surprisingly, that’s the mediocre kind of life. After being a part of Open Dreams, I learned that three major events characterize an ideal holiday: Volunteering, Networking; which comes mostly through attending life changing events, conferences or anything in that light and lastly, family time.
The first part of my holiday got me involved in a community action project. The project was aimed at reaching out to internally displaced people in the North West Region with primary motives being to let them know we care and to get them to hold on to the fact that they still possessed breath and strength to move on. This project took close to a month of preparation, planning, implementation and evaluation. Together with a few others, we went into the field to see for ourselves the conditions these people actually live in. It was a sight which literally caused tears to roll down my cheeks. We had sessions where we got to talk with some of them, being the listening ear they needed or the shoulder they needed for some support. At the end of it all, we organized a small package for each of them. It was not a big package per say but it was a package from a heart of love and the smiles we generated from their faces were worth more than anything we could ask for. It left me feeling very fulfilled.
The next and most exciting part of my holiday was a health conference I attended in Rwanda and I was privileged to be one of the four Cameroonians present. Not neglecting the fact that such conferences boost your network, they actually do make you think more and out of the box. I had the opportunity to see the drone system for drug delivery in Rwanda. One of the keynote speakers was our very own Cameroonian, Dr. Estella Ewo, a member of “Doctors Without Borders”. Gone are those days when people in the medical world did not want to get involved in politics. We had the Minister of Health of Rwanda who being a medical doctor is able to better influence health care in her country. The senior policy advisor for Somali is a nurse and as a policy maker, it goes without saying that health policies will be looked into discretely. A key point which I’ll remember is the fact that although Africans have the most diseases, their genome data is not up to 5% of the world total. It’s no doubt the adverse effects of drugs turn to be so severe in the African population. It’s time for Africans to stand up and address health in the African context rather than trying to “copy and paste” from the West. Being a part of this conference leaves me rest assured that the health care system of Africa is up for the best and most importantly, I am part of the health revolution, to make the present appalling nature of the African Health care system a thing of the past.
With the Minister of Health for Rwanda and Vice Chancellor of University of Global Health Equity, Rwanda
Last day of the conference at Ubumwe Hotel.
…I’m back to the routine class-library and very little “me time” but I’m glad I could make the best out of my holiday. My vacation is actually worth missing.