Internship Report : Laetitia Van den Bossche , Summer 2014

Post date: Feb 04, 2015 12:56:28 AM

My name is Laetitia Van den Bossche, I am now 21 years old and study Medicine at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. I completed my

Bachelor’s degree just before traveling to Ghana and have now started my first year of Masters’ degree. Before coming to Ghana, I had already done some voluntary work, abroad as well as at home. Whilst in Ghana in July 2014, I participated in one of the Health projects, which consisted of me working in several wards of the local hospital. During my stay, I got to work at the Child Welfare Centre, the Buruli Ward, the Emergency Ward and the Labour Ward. I had a wonderful experience and my stay in the hospital taught me a lot about alternative ways to do medicine in countries with less resources. I also met quite a few lovely nurses and had the opportunity to exchange stories with them, which was a nice addition to the work experience.

Though I don’t consider myself to have played a major role in any medical accomplishment, I do have a few memories that will stay with me forever. One of them is the day I got to watch over a new born baby that was barely breathing when she got out of the womb. After a lot of attempts to get her lungs working, she finally started breathing on her own and after that I stayed by her side until my shift was over. Not because I was obligated to, but because I was both concerned and fascinated about her struggle to keep taking those life saving breaths. Her condition improved over the hours and just as I was about to leave, she was being transferred to a different hospital. I got to say goodbye to her, not knowing how or if she would improve after that but with the feeling that I got to be a small part of a the start of this strong baby girl’s life.

I would strongly advice all of the volunteers who consider taking part in the Health program to prepare yourselves well. I personally wouldn’t really call it “volunteering” as it is more an observing internship but it really is instructive. You get to learn about the alternative ways to do medicine, which you probably wouldn’t have the chance to experience at home and you interact with these amazing, kind hearted people. You might occasionally be shocked by some cases or situations at the hospital but that shouldn’t keep you from coming, on the contrary. As for living in Ghana, people in general are really sweet and helpful. Some places are more dangerous than others or don’t welcome tourists or volunteers as much, but that’s just like any other country in the world. Just make sure to know where you’re traveling and how you are going to get there beforehand because it can get tricky sometimes. Mostly people will guide you in the right direction, but there are also those who try to take advantage of you so it’s better to be prepared and informed.

Other than that, I had an unforgettable experience. I met wonderful people and made memories that will last for a lifetime. VPWA in itself is a great initiative and the way programs are started and funded are an example for other NGO’s. The affordable subscription fee is definitely a plus and the communication and support in Ghana itself are remarkable.

Thanks to all who have participated in making this an amazing experience!