Posted on 15 May, 2013

This post is by Shirley Wong, Biomedical Engineer, Rwanda.

Hi all,

My name is Shirley, I am a biomedical engineer and this, my first Open Heart International trip, has been a fantastic experience so far.

As a newbie, you don’t know what to expect and I got on the plane in Sydney feeling slightly out of my depth – the unknown is a bit scary, no matter which country you are in! I came on the trip, looking forward to my first visit in Africa but also hoping to bring something to this team too. All I can say is I have learnt so much. And I know that there is so much more to come.

Everyday I’ve met new members of the team and heard countless stories of their other OHI trips around the world (the good, the bad and the amazingly funny!) and you can just tell how much everyone loves these trips – not just for the travel and experience but the difference it really makes to others.

Everyone here is great (awesomely skilled, might be a more accurate description) at their job and working with others with so much passion with a common goal at the end is truly inspiring.

Some memorable moments so far besides my time in the hospital has been packing into the boot of the truck with 5 others (a total of 11 in the car) and rolling out the back like a cartoon clown car; taking 3 days to work out how to have a warm shower (who knew that red meant cold!), and staring at glow-in-the-dark tonic water at bar that plays Phil Collins on repeat. Only in Rwanda?

Rwanda is so amazingly beautiful and green, the view from the hospital still takes my breath away everyday – not what I expected at all! Though I’ve travelled half way across the world, it’s funny how hospital staff are universally surprised that I am a Biomed – it’s amazingly flattering though.


Tags:  East Africa,