Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #3

Linking up with Christine from Bookishly Boisterous for this post. In her words, It allows book bloggers (or any blogger, for that matter) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise.

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Book Review: Hives in Paradise

hiloThis was the first book I bought while on Semester at Sea.

Hives in Paradise by Midge Hill Mebane was sold to me at the Hilo Farmer’s Market on our second (and final) day in Hilo, Hawai’i by the author’s son. He also sold delicious macadamia nuts and home-grown cloves, and had a lot of interesting views about Hawai’i and their people. I wish I could remember his name, because the book mentions the children a lot. It is out of print, and self-published, and I got a signed copy, which was excellent.  Continue reading “Book Review: Hives in Paradise”

What Travelling the World Taught Me About Patient Care

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When I heard about Semester at Sea for the first time, I admit it was the idea of travelling the world that attracted me. I knew from a little bit of experience that travelling would enrich my perspectives and teach me more than any classroom, but really I was just thinking about all the places I had always dreamed of visiting, that could now become a reality.

Justifying such a long absence from campus meant that I had to identify teachable moments the program could provide. I came up with a whole report which I presented to my faculty (and which they miraculously accepted). I mentioned the virtues of travelling, and the work I would have to put in to carry a double course load, and then I mentioned the research I wanted to do: experiencing first-hand the public healthcare facilities in the various countries, as well as visiting alternative healers and assessing their role in primary healthcare.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Myanmar In My Eye

This week’s challenge with The Daily Post is titled The World Through Your Eyes.

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Myanmar was a fantastic country. Really like no place you’ve ever been; nothing like the rest of Asia. We were walking through a residential street (not lost, just strolling) and the sense of community in this street was strong. Everyone was having fun. Old men chewing betel nut and sharing stories (I assume), kids running around, men playing card games, men playing Foosball. For once, it seemed that people did not even notice us. I took many pictures that day, but this one is my favourite.

Booking It Around The World

Last week I posted about books for travelers, and I realised I never wrote about my forays into bookstores while traveling. Most Semester at Sea students decide to collect ONE THING in each country. One girl decided to buy a copy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in every country, preferably in a local language. Another chose Alice in Wonderland. I thought this was cool, except that a) I don’t have an all-time favourite book and b) I prefer books that I can read. So I decided to buy a book in every country, either about that country or by an author in that country. In English.


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Review: The Big Necessity by Rose George

One of the first things I noticed when I started traveling was international differences in public restrooms. In New York City I was met with the conundrum of a city that has everything except restrooms. In China I saw squat toilets for the first time – and refused to use them. Working in a hospital with filthy restrooms has given me a strong bladder. Then, when we hit our first official port for Semester at Sea (Japan) I saw the smartest loos alive.

What a pleasure, then, to read The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters while traveling. (The cover caught my eye – isn’t it wonderful?) Rose George literally goes everywhere with this book. She plunges into the depths of sewer systems in New York and London. She exposes the dirt and grit of the water we consume. And then she travels to the corners of the earth to see how other countries compare. Continue reading “Review: The Big Necessity by Rose George”

Semester at Sea: Happies and Crappies

sasfound2Yesterday was a whole month since I have been back in South Africa. That means that my whirlwind circumnavigating-the-world experience has been over for over a month! And I have written painfully little since I’ve been back. (What, I did have good reasons – namely exams and clinical rotations, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am.)

I spent a lot of time on the voyage missing home, but I also spent a lot of time having an incredibly rare experience. Needless to say, there are things I miss and things I was so glad to see the back of. Here are some of the things I miss… and don’t! Continue reading “Semester at Sea: Happies and Crappies”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

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I took this picture at Elmina Castle in Cape Coast, Ghana, during my visit there with Semester at Sea in April this year. We learned about the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in high school history class, and it was incredibly educational to visit this castle in the flesh. It was harrowing too. What a dark time in human history this was. I could almost feel the desperate yearning for escape that those in the slave trade must have felt – and very few of them would ever escape alive.

Linking up with The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.

Medical Monday: Disabled in Vietnam

In my Semester at Sea reflections, I return often to Vietnam. I think it was the first country to shock me, well and truly. It was not very easy to make my SAS experience medically-oriented, and I had to do a lot of hard work to learn about medicine in various countries. Vietnam was the country where the medicine came to me without having to be asked (much like the vendors, and the traffic).

We had a field lab for my Illness Narratives class (definitely one of the best classes OF MY LIFE, but more of that later). We visited an orphanage for disabled children and an elderly women’s home.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above (Floating Market, Vietnam)

It is the eve of my examinations, and I have been back in South Africa for exactly a week. It has been incredibly difficult to focus on studying. Fortunately I don’t start with the most difficult subject (which is not to say that I am not incredibly nervous).

Anyway, taking a break, this week’s theme for The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge is “From Above”. I did not anticipate difficulty in finding a good picture taken from above, but it was difficult! The picture here is from our visit to Vietnam in February. We went to a large floating market on the Mekong Delta one morning. It was a little quiet, because it was the end of the Tet holiday. Many people sell in bulk at this floating market, and many, many little children help their parents with the daily work.

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