I’m All In…

It’s official. I have put in my notice at work and am about to start working towards a career in Global Health.

For a few days after I quit I was in a sort of trance… I kept asking myself: “Is this really happening? Did I just quit a perfect clinical job, with great mentors, in one of the most beautiful places in Canada?  This is suppose to be a big snow year! What am I doing?”

But, mixed in with all of that uncertainty is excitement – I just quit my job to go head first into what I really want to do! I can’t deny that my passion is global health. Since I first learned about community based rehabilitation and had the amazing opportunity to go on a placement to Nepal (with a fantastic PT, travel buddy, and friend, Caitlin Dubiel) I have been seeking ways to get more involved and dedicate my career to this amazing field. A field that the more I learn, the more my mind is blown, which leads me to be even more fired up about learning more and contributing in a meaningful way.

So, here’s the plan:

January 2015 – I will be going to to Samuha in India with 4 amazing physiotherapy students from the University of British Columbia  to serve as their preceptor. Samuha is an incredible community based rehabilitation (CBR) project in the South of India that serves to improve rehabilitation and care for persons with a disability. Our goal will be to work with the CBR workers in paediatrics and to further develop the spinal cord injury rehabilitation unit.

The project has been supported and developed for over 20 years by Hilary Crowley and the Samuha Overseas Development Agency (SODA). Hilary is a physiotherapist who has mentored over 20 students at Samuha, she is the recipient of the 2013 Enid Graham Memorial Lecture (watch lecture here), which is the highest honour you can receive as a physiotherapist in Canada. On top of this she is an all around great person. Hilary is now serving another role – acting as my mentor in many ways.

March 2015 – I will be going back to Nepal with 2 awesome physiotherapy students from Queen’s University. There, we are going to work at the Special Education and Rehabilitation Centre (SERC) and the International Friendship Children’s Hospital (IFCH). Our goal here will be to work with the local PTs and educate the local rehabilitation assistants on paediatric rehabilitation. We will also be further developing the Outpatient physiotherapy department at IFCH that Caitlin and I helped start while we were on placement. To learn more click on the links or check out the article that Caitlin and I wrote for the Global Health Division (GHD) website.

May 2015 World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) Conference in Singapore

June 2015 Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) Congress in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

After this, time will tell… maybe research, maybe more field work. I’m sure I’ll figure it out along the way.

And It Begins…..

After 3 rejected Indian visas, 3 exams, and 35 hours of transit we finally arrived in Kathmandu.

Our journey began in Toronto last Monday. Along with our personal bags, we checked a hockey bag full of equipment and a wheelchair ramp with little resistance from the airlines (partly thanks to the X-Ring). The supplies were donated by BABU and a number of incredible sponsors and are to be shared between the International Friendship Children’s Hospital (IFCH) and Special Education and Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled Children (SERC), where we will be volunteering.

Luckily, we just missed the hurricane and we on time for our 7 1/2 hour flight to London. We arrived at Heathrow International Airport in the early morning and of course had to experience some of the local culture by enjoying a Guinness. Our next flight was 9 hours to India. Our neighbor was a young Nepalese man named Deezee who shared some of his local knowledge despite the fact that he has never been treking or spent any time in the mountains. Continue reading “And It Begins…..”

Caitlin’s Post: #2

Post number two….To pick up where Phil left off.

Quick note in regards to the rubble that Phil mentioned. We were chatting with some folks we met who are all currently living and working in Nepal and apparently, a number of months ago, the Nepali government decided it was time to widen the roads. As a result, portions of all of the buildings were demolished in order to make room. Apparently, the people have known that this was going to happen for many many years. But it finally happened. Some of the project nearer to where we are living has been completed and you would never really know it happened. Along the route to work, however, piles and piles remain of what WAS a number of store fronts and houses. Basically, people are in the process of rebuilding what they have left a few meters back from where it was. There is bamboo scaffolding everywhere and one can’t help but wonder about the location of load bearing walls….!! Continue reading “Caitlin’s Post: #2”