Thank you, Gambia.

The 29th of December, I turned 29 years old. Thinking about my life and how it was a few years ago and knowing how my brain worked then I would, at this day, get panic. Panic, because I was different then than I am now. I would have anxiety of getting older, anxiety of the feeling that i’m not were I want to be in life. Anxiety of not being were everyone else wants me to be. I would get anxiety of the feeling that I need to step up in every way I can. Even If I had a bachelor degree, a good job and a stable economy.

I have always had high expections of myself. I always try to thrive for more and this can make you really exhausted to be honest. So thinking about my past ME, i’m glad for today. For not feeling anxiety anymore. For knowing that i’m doing what I can, I’m doing what I want to do, I’m following God’s plan, because yeah… I REALLY DO BELIEVE God has a plan for me.

The 29th of December 2017, I had an appointment with SOS Childrens Village here in The Gambia. Before that I spent 2 days to buy stuff for the kids for the money I had over. For the money friends of mine donated. At the 29th of December I went to SOS and donated… 56 pairs of shoes, new clothes and used clothes, 20 soccer balls and 5000 Gambian Dalasis. With me I had 100 small chips bags, 200 lollipops and candy. I had this with me because I knew that this would make the kids happy when we meet them up.

There is 98 children staying in SOS Childrens Village and I didnt have enough of things for every child, so the staff  divided the things between the childrens and will give it to them another time. So, I didnt give the clothes or the shoes directly to the kids, it would be to hard doing it honestly. Imagine finding the right size for each kid and the time wouldn’t even be enough because of the kids schedule.

After I gave the clothes and the shoes to the staff I went with a girl that lives in SOS and that I got to know through the hospital, to gather the kids. We gathered the kids in the playing ground and gave them chips, candy and soccer balls. They were playing soccer with us and we really had a great time. They were happy, I was happy seeing them happy and playing.

It feels good giving, feels good doing something for others. I want to continue with working in the field and I hope God will make that happen.

So, its time now. Its time to leave Gambia and fly back home to Sweden. The bags are packed and my flight is leaving in the night today. Though I miss my family and friends I don’t feel like I want to leave yet. I’m not done…

Ohh, I really do Love You Gambia, the smiling coast of Africa. You have giving me so much happiness and love. The people’s hospitality, the sun, the beautiful beaches and a lot lot lot more. The experience will forever be in my heart.

Thanks again to every one that made this happen with donating money and clothes and thanks to those that was in the field with me.

To all my friends… I want to say
… try to always help in every way you can, it doesnt matter what you do..Just do it… If you want to, if you feel like it…just act…if you feel that you will make a difference to someone…act! Even if the difference is really small. Just act and be there, be there in the world, be someone to someone else.

I will not stop blogging yet, will write one or 2 post in Sweden too, hopefully, if not something happens that makes me want to continue with the blogging 🙂

I want to wish you all a happy new year. Take care and love eachother.

Lots of love… ❤️

Below you will find the pictures of the day.

/Juoell

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Annonser

Giving back…

Hello my dear friends,
I know you have a lot to do with preparing for christmas. Food, baking, buying clothes and christmas gifts. I know the stress and I feel with you.

For once in my life i’m going to celebrate christmas in another place than home. A place in the sun. I look forward to something else and new, but I will of course miss my family and spending christmas home. I have friends over from Sweden now so i’m happy for that.

Well after I finished my work at the hospital, I realised how much the hospital gave me in experience. I don’t regret anything. I’m so happy that I did this. I’m happy that i’m always trying to challenge myself in different ways. I already miss the work there and the people working there. I have established a good relationship with some people there so i’m glad for that.

My plan for this trip was to finish my work at the hospital and afterwords continue with cherity work. I have now done one of my charity work.

I had a contact with a guy that know a friend of mine and he told me about a village/community that could be in need. This guy works with different kind of charity work in The Gambia.

After he told me about the Village I decided to do my first charity work there. The name of the Village is Hawba Village and is the oldest village in Sanyang but a small community of 8 families. The Village is approximately 120 years old.

So I decided to provide the families with grosseries that they need and that they can store. Me and another person that helped me got in to a taxi and went and bought 50 kilo Rice, 30 kg potatoes, 20 Kg Onions, 40 x 250g pasta, 21 liter of cooking oil and lollipops for the kids. We also got approximately 60 soaps that usually are really appreciated.

After having everything that I wanted to provide the families with, we took a taxi that drove 30 minutes until we arrived to the village. There we met the guy that told me about the village. He presented me to some people there and told a guy that lives there to tell the families to come to our place so they could be a part of this.

We then started to divide the grosseries in how many families they were. At that time they said it was 6 families. So we fixed 6 bags for each item.

Afterwords the families took the bags, we talked a bit and prayed. We then took pictures. It really felt good doing all of this… it felt good being in the field doing the work yourself and seeing the faces you are helping. Getting to talk with those people and seeing their reactions. Hanging with the children. I thought to myself…. I want to do more of similar work. I want to be in the field!

The families and I give thanks to all of my friends that was a part of this through donating money and to those who donated clothes. The clothes has yet not be given to children but stay tuned because I have something booked the 29th of December in SOS Childrens home.

I want to give a special thanks to Retsam and Kebba that made this happen and to Retsam and Demba for the help at that day.

I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas. Don’t forget to do some charity work if you can, or donate something to an organisation.

One organisation that’s close to my heart is Bopeto Sweden. Go in and read about them http://www.bopeto.com.

Two weeks left now in the smiling coast of Africa.

It goes to fast….

Well, you will hear from me soon.

Below you will find the pictures of that day.

Lots of love to all of you ❤️
/Juoell
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It’s time…

Let me start with saying that it feels that it has been a long time ago since I wrote something in my blog. Honestly, I’ve had so much things to do and the time is just running by really fast…I mean it’s Christmas soon and the year is soon to be finished. It’s crazy isn’t?! …that the years are going so fast and we are just getting older and older, hopefully wiser too :).

Either way, the day has come to say goodbye. This past Friday was my last day on the hospital. My weeks here in the hospital has been such an experience. I have seen, talked and have been taking care of so many different patients with so many different diagnosis. I have seen patients struggling with tuberculosis, I have seen patients struggling with malaria, I have seen patients struggling with heart diseases and I have seen patients struggling with breathing problems etc. More than that, I have seen the pain and sorrow in a mothers eyes when we couldn’t save her child. The pain in the mothers eyes knowing that she just lost her child. I have seen the frustration in another mothers eyes because of not knowing if her child will get better anytime soon. I have seen a son’s heartache and tears when losing his father, the wife’s pain losing her husband. I have seen a patient that don’t want to stay alive anymore because of the pain and the frustration of not knowing what will happen. I have seen dead bodies getting wrapped in the white fabric after the family have said goodbye. I have gotten to know patients and the day after, not seeing them anymore because they have passed away.  I swear, I tear up just thinking about this. I can’t even explain the pain I felt seeing families in heartache and you feel so helpless. What can you say to them? What should you say to them? Should I say I’m sorry? Would that even help or would it make it worse? Should I stay? Or should I walk away? I don’t know, I never found out either. I could never get used to seeing all of this. Many people in my surroundings said to me that I would, but I didn’t.

It hurts so much knowing that in some cases the patient could be saved if the patient was for example in a country like Sweden were we have materials and machines that probably could help the patient. I asked the people working there how they manage with seeing patients pass away so often like they do and one answer I got was …”we are used to it now”….”it happens when you work so many years in this conditions”. I asked myself if that would be the case for me? Would I get used to it?!

My work here hasn’t been easy and with that I mean that it has not been easy mentally. I can’t lie about that. I will have the patients that I’ve treated in my heart and in my mind, forever, I think. I can close my eyes and I see them, either happy that we helped them or sad that it went as it did. Either way, this experience and the patients in it will always be in my heart.

I want to tell you about a happy place in my heart. I wrote earlier about a pediatric patient that had a heart disease that couldn’t be treated here, that the family need to try to go to Europe for surgical help. Do you remember this child? Well, the child got better and was discharged from the hospital. The mother has after that brought the child twice to the hospital and called me to come and visit. I swear, every time I see this child, the kisses I give…ohh the child is the cutest ever. I will continue having contact with the mother and hopefully create a good relationship with them.

It was hard saying goodbye to the people working there. Especially the people I worked really closed with, in The Gate Clinic. I really felt that I was one in the crew and I really had it fun with them. And ohhh, I have learned so much, especially in the gate clinic were the staff nurse always worked with me as a team. I will always appreciate everything they’ve done for me and that they took me in, in the “family”.

I will come back and visit someday, if God will.

Down are some pictures of some of the staff in the hospital and just a few pictures of The Gambia.

I still have 25 days left here in Gambia, so stay tuned for more blog posts.

Loving The Smiling Coast…

/Juoell

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Paediatric ward

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When I started the hospital I got introduced to the paediatric ward and the patients in it. In the paediatric ward there are patients with different kind of conditions like for example…heart problems, breathing problems, pneumonia, malaria, sepsis, malnutrition etc. Most of the patients stay for more than one week, some of them stay several weeks because of their condition.

I meet different kind of patients in the paediatric ward and the patients are often there with their mother. The mother takes care of the child with everything needed and we take care of everything that’s related to medicine. In the paediatric ward it’s approximately 16 patients staying there and each of them with their mother. All of them staying in the same room and using the same toilet etc. I know, it’s a lot! With 16 patients, but they are managing kinda good there.

I would like to tell you a bit about different cases I’ve met. There was one patient, approximately one year old that was admitted because of breathing problems. The mother didnt know what causes the childs problem. The child was treated with oxygen and IV medication. They later found out that the child has a heart problem, probably occurred at birth. The doctor told the mother that they couldn’t treat the heart condition but that they can try to ease the symptoms that the child was experiencing at that moment. Furthermore, the doctor told the mother that the child will hopefully get better here and get discharged but that the child can get bad again, not knowing when that will happen. The doctor also told the mother that she needs to try to find a sponsor for a surgery in Europe.  The “only” problem with taking the child to Europe is that the mother/parents/family don’t have enough money to do this, and God knows how much that can cost?! The mother begged me to help them in any way I could and the only answer I could give her is that ”I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how I could help you with this”. Damn, that really made me feel so helpless.

One other patient, turning 2 years old also got admitted with breathing problems, this child killed me to be honest. The child couldn’t even breathe well. You could hear the bad breathing and the struggle the child had with the breathing. It’s not easy having breathing problems you know, not that I’ve experienced it in that way ever before but I’ve seen a lot of adult people with problems in the lungs, with having a lot of difficulties breathing and you can see the anxiety in their face when they’re struggling to get air. Imagine a child with this problem. This child really touched my heart, because nothing helped, not the breathing machines, oxygen and not the medication. The only thing that was in my mind is that the child needs INTENSIVE CARE immediately but there is nothing like that here. I could see the frustration in the mother’s eyes. Imagine you being a parent and not being able to help ease your child’s symptoms. Though, I’m not a parent, I’m trying to imagine the pain the mother is going through.

Another story is a one week old child that stopped breathing, the heart just stopped beating. They did CPR for 20 min and the child was getting heartbeat on and of, unfortunately they couldn’t save the childs life. That’s just…. heartbreaking. 

Before I started the hospital I tried to convince myself that I will not get that affected of people’s conditions because I still have worked in hospitals in Sweden, either as a nurse student or as a nurse. I have been working with patients that have done surgical procedures and end up with me a few days later for rehabilitation. I have been working with cancer patients. I have been seeing a lot and different kind of cases.  I tried to convince myself that I’ve seen a lot of things that’s hard to see and experience. I tried to convince myself that I’ve seen enough to handle the things that I would see here. I tried to convince myself that it will be hard in the beginning but that it will go over as the time goes. I was wrong. It’s HARD!!

I can’t lie about me taking home the cases and thinking about them. I think a lot about the children and their situations. They told us so many times in the nursing school that you need to learn to leave the cases at work. That we need to learn to leave the patients at work and come home living not letting the patients affect you in your daily life. But HOW do you do that? Do someone have a solution to this? A good solution to it? Because I DON’T KNOW!

It’s hard working with sick children and not being able to help them as you wish you could. It’s hard knowing there are limitations in this country and many other developing countries. It’s hard knowing that the health care don’t have everything that’s needed to help patients with different conditions. Though, to be really honest the health care crew are doing their best, they really are doing a good job.

I have 2 weeks left here in the hospital before starting my other mission: to provide poor children and families with clothes, toys and food. Two weeks left…the time really goes fast. I think about all the things I can sometimes complain about in life that I really don’t need to complain about. I realized it now. But the human is built like that, it doesn’t matter how much you have, you will still complain and I’m not an exception.

I wish that every one of you that can help with different kind of charity, to DO it. You are HELPING someone in the world with your actions. Just do it, be there for someone.

Bless ❤
/Juoell

Have I told you why?

Throwback!

3,5 years has gone, 3,5 years since I took my bachelor degree in Nursing. Doing and fulfilling a bachelor degree made me, of course, feel proud of myself. It made me feel excitement for the work that I was going to do, like hey.. I will be a part of either; making someone’s life better, work with prevention and be a part of saving someone’s life etc. How amazing is that?! Right?! 3,5 years has gone… and yes I am proud of the person I have become, I’m not going to lie. I’m independent, have a good job, I’m positive to higher education and I’m always trying to educate myself, because like they say… Education Is POWER, right?! It wasn’t long ago I finished a semester in America in Cal State University San Marcos. This 3,5 years has giving me a lot, more knowledge and a better self but something was still missing. I’m not fully satisfied, I want more! I want to do more…

The year was 2016, the month was October/November. I packed my bags and went with friends to a country I never thought I would visit. I went to Gambia. The purpose of this trip was a close friend’s wedding. Damn, I couldn’t be happier for her meeting her love. I was so excited for the wedding but before the trip my heart was just pounding because of me being nervous of what will come. Because of me not knowing what I should expect. Also because….remember what I told you guys?!  I’m TERRIFIED of creepy things like bugs/insects/spiders/cockroaches, I’m sensitive to that maaaan (haha). So what should this country give me? What would this country make me face? I didn’t know.

Bags checked in and the flight was leaving to Banjul, Gambia. Before I even knew about it, I landed. Ahh, this country…let me tell you about last year’s trip to this country. I experienced my dear friend’s wedding, I hanged out with friends, enjoying the sun/heat and the people there. I had a blast to be really honest. It felt like all of my troubles that I had before when leaving Sweden was just blown away. I felt light, not heavy anymore. My heart was happy. I could see the small things that I didn’t see before and really enjoy them. I could smile at life again, damn it felt like it was a really long time ago I could do that. But in Gambia, I also saw poverty. I remembered specially one day. I was sitting in a car with two friends of mine and a Gambian guy that became my friend. We were going to do a day trip, you know like tourist do :).  During the drive I saw a lot of poverty, children that I wished had more, children that needed more. Though this, it still feels like they were happy in some way? Smiling and greeting at you. At that exact moment I started to think that I could do a volunteering in Gambia. And after this trip, I started planning, sending in my application to a hospital in Gambia when I was still studying In America. I still remember the email that I got from the hospital, saying that I’m approved. I was in Mexico celebrating my spring break, and wow how happy I was getting this news. I’m in America and enjoying life there, but at the same time began to plan the trip to the lovely country called Gambia.

The year was 2017 and I’m back from America. I’m now looking forward to my trip to Gambia. To be a small help to people in need. I went back to my work that I have in Sweden. My first month back from America was nice, I was satisfied and in one word: available, mentally and physically. But afterword’s it just went down again. As the months ended I felt that I was back in routine again, the same old circle, just walking and walking in this circle called life and not feeling that I’m enough, not feeling that I’m doing enough. I was there but at the same time I wasn’t. My friend’s or family didn’t even need to tell me that because I FELT IT. Something was wrong and at that moment I just felt happy that I was soon leaving my country Sweden to do something MORE in a small country called Gambia.

The year is 2017, the month is November and the date is the 16th. I’m here, in Gambia. Working in conditions that are totally different to Sweden, with people that needs it. I’m here and trying. I’m here, NO…like I MEAN….It really feels like I’m here….In the world. I’m not only “available” but really “satisfied”. I still haven’t done 25 % of what I’m here for to do, but I’m looking forward to complete all of my plans.

I really am glad that there are people/friends that wanted to be a part of this and helped with money, clothes and toys/games. I will after finishing up my work in the hospital start my other ”work” with providing some kids and families with basic things that they need. Gambia will give thanks to you.

Stay tuned for what will come…

I’ll be in touch!

Lots of love ❤

/Juoell

The hospital

The first week has gone and I’m now starting my second week here in the hospital. I have a lot of feelings after this week but I dont even know if I can put it into words.

Well, let me try…

I started the first days in the hospital with introduction. I got to see the ward and how they work there and I got to see the gate clinic. Furthermore I got a introduction to the place and my responsibilites to it.

The ward is where patients are hospitalized with different kind of diseases/sickness or problems. Here you see infants/children and adults with sickness. To be honest, working with infants/children isn’t eazy. My heart aches every time I see them with all the tubes and all the medication they get. My heart aches even more seeing children having malnutrition. Because it’s a lot of them. I feel helpless and that’s a feeling I really dislike.

When it comes to the gate clinic patients comes to see a doctor or a nurse for different kind of problems. It can be skin ratches, coughing, fever and stomach ache etc. You as a doctor or a nurse do your evaluation and prescribe medication. I swear to God nurses here are like doctors. I’ve been going with a doctor/nurse and doing evaluations, feeling on stomachs and listening to the lungs etc. We have been working as a team, he explains to me what I should look for and I tell him what I noticed when I examine patients. Afterwords we have discussions. HE TEACHES ME! I appreciate the time in the gate clinic, because I really do learn a lot there.

The gate clinic reminds me actually of my work in Sweden, in the primary health care clinic in Stockholm. So it’s familiar to me.

The health care here in this hospital is better than I expected but still not what you are used to. Let me tell all my swedish friends, we should be glad having the healthcare we have in Sweden, with all the machines that’s available for us and all the hospitals and clinics we have, so the patient can get the best care possible.

I just wish people could see and experience what I experience every day here. To be really honest with you guys, I’m tired! Not physically but mentally.

Though I’m feeling all of this, I’m happy that God has given me the opportunity to be a part of this.

I’m writing this post on my break to be honest. Just felt like writing down a bit of my feelings, but this is not even 25% of what I’m feeling.

Thank you for following my blog. Continue with that! 🙂

Lots of love to all of you from all the way in Gambia! ❤

/Juoell

 

 

What’s happened since I arrived in The Gambia?

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Got out from the airplane and The Gambia heat just hit my face, the same feeling as the last time I was here. I arrived late in the night and went directly to the hotel room. I booked a hotel for the first two days just to prepare the moving into the house that I rented for my stay here. The second night in the hotel the electricity went off and didn’t come back again until the morning after. Damn, that night was really hot. Ohhh, but this was just the beginning….

You know, Gambia have problems with their electricity going off for several hours. The heat that I have experienced the past 4 days in this house has been, to be honest, terrible. I have AC in the house but of course it doesn’t work when the electricity is off. The news are that the electricity will function normally in December…. Oh I’m crossing my fingers and toes.

Furthermore, I SAW COCKROACHES in the house, more specific under the sink in the kitchen. Everyone that knows me knows how much I hate cockroaches. Without overreacting, I went into shock and felt tears coming. I really do hate cockroaches and the only thing I can hear from people here is that ”This is normal, THIS IS AFRICA”. Well yeah…I know…. and afterwords thinking quietly ”is it now that I need to face my fears”?

Well, the day before I arrived to the house the owner put white ”poison” powder that killed the bugs and other creepy things that shouldn’t be there, though they missed to put powder under the sink. So after the finding of the cockroaches, we just put powder everywhere and killed a few cockroaches and I have now been 3 days without seeing any cockroach. I just pray to God that it will continue like this.

This past days have been intense because of all the preparing, but let me tell you this…I’m happy! It’s something about Gambia that makes your heart just smile. The people’s hospitality is the BEST, the beaches are beautiful and I’m just excited for what will come…

PS: I started my internship at the hospital yesterday, I will tell you all about it in the end of this week 😉 DS.

To be continued….

/Juoell