Clarity Recruitment is delighted to sponsor Terrence Sematon on his up coming volunteer trip to Uganda. Terrence is keeping us up to date on his preparations for his trip, his first blog post is below. Clarity are always excited to see pharmacists thinking outside the box and enaging in new initiatives, if any pharmacist is looking for support in any venture please give Anthony a ring in the Dublin office.
My name is Terry. I’m a 26-year-old pharmacist working in a large university teaching hospital in Dublin, In less than 24 hours, I will embark on my first volunteering trip overseas with the not-for-profit organization Nurture Africa. The destination is Nansana, Uganda, and I’ll spend three weeks there.
Since 2003, Nurture Africa has been striving to improve the quality of life of vulnerable Ugandan children, many of whom are infected with HIV/ AIDS. Through sustainable development projects, Nurture Africa provides access to healthcare and psycho-social support which allow children to lead healthier, happier lives. During my time in Uganda, I will be working in Nurture Africa's Paediatric HIV Community Healthcare Project, which provides HIV-positive children with life-saving medication, advice on nutrition and psychological support. I will also be delivering educational workshops in local schools on issues such as children's rights, sexual health, drug use and first aid.
Volunteering in the developing world has been an ambition of mine since I was a teenager, most likely because it appeals to my own love of travel as well as a desire to experience a country and culture which is still developing. I am very fortunate therefore than my training as a Pharmacist has enabled me to undertake this adventure, and hopefully to make a positive impact on the lives of the people and patients I met. As a Pharmacist, I hope to use my unique professional knowledge and skill set to help and advise the Project on medicine procurement, medicine storage and distribution, optimising the therapeutic use of medicines and minimising wastage.
To get to this point has taken almost eight months of preparation, and has involved two training days, three vaccinations, multiple Facebook groups and an innumerable amount of emails. However, the most challenging part of all was fundraising. In order to travel, each volunteer was required to raise a minimum of 2100e. To reach my target, I undertook three fundraising efforts. The first was a table quiz in the Square Ball in Dublin city centre, which thankfully was a great success and very well attended by friends and work colleagues. The second event took place at home in County Laois, and was based on the popular TV show ‘The Cube’. Given the increased size and complexity, the event was shared with another Nurture Africa volunteer. The money raised far exceeded our expectations and we were incredibly grateful to the participants for making it such a fun and rewarding night. To complete my fundraising, seven friends and I braved the mud to complete the 12km ‘Hell and Back’ obstacle course in Kilruddery Estate. Amazingly, the sun shined on us for the entire day, although we still managed to cross the finish line soaking wet and covered in mud.
My working week will be Monday to Friday, during which my time will be divided between the Clinic/Pharmacy, visiting schools to deliver workshops and visiting patients in their homes. It’s not all work, however, and one weekend I hope to travel on safari to see some of Uganda’s stunning landscape and wildlife. I’m certainly nervous, but my overwhelming feeling is excitement. I also can’t wait to meet my fellow volunteers; a diverse group of medical students, nurses, primary school teachers, engineers and general skills workers.
My next blog post will recount my time spent in Uganda, and described some of my highlights (and low points, if there are any!). What I’ve learned from this experience so far is that people are extraordinarily generous in their time, enthusiasm and indeed money when it comes to supporting a charitable cause. The whole Clarity team deserves an honourable mention in this regard due to their very generous donation, which sponsored many of the prizes raffled in my fundraising events.