This wasn't their first experience in Africa, but as many know, each country is different and unique. Below is a conversation had with the midwives before their departure.
Q: How did you come across the King's Village?
The year before, the two midwives did an internship at another clinic in Zimbabwe. This year they had plans to return but with a denied visa into the country, they sought out other opportunities. A classmate completed her internship here at the King's Village the year before and recommended they look into coming here as well. Knowing that everything happens for a reason, the midwives had one week to plan and prepare to travel to Ghana, but felt confident this was exactly where they were suppose to be.
Q: How is the experience different here than at home?
Participating in internship hours here allows for more practical skill building. The midwives were able to deliver breeched babies and twins which is not common in the Netherlands and Belgium to do at their level. Taking an internship in a developing country also allows for training on the unexpected.
"In Europe, everything is controlled," one of the midwives shared.
In western countries, it's very easy for deliveries to be controlled, to know what to expect. The midwives shared how it was rewarding to learn how to change their expectations. They were challenged with opportunities to think quickly and creatively during their time here.
Q: Can you share one of the most memorable shifts you had during your time here?Due to the pressure of having a certain number of babies to deliver for college "There was one shift where we worked 23 hours straight. That shift we delivered 6 babies in total," Miriam shared as the midwives looked at each other and both laughed. They shared how this particular night they delivered one baby after another.The midwives took the night shift during their time at the Medical Centre. They enjoyed working the night shift and felt like they got to know the staff they worked with well.
Q: Did you feel there was a difficult language barrier?
"When the women are in labor it can be difficult," Miriam shared. "But it's because of the pain. After they delivered all of a sudden they spoke English," Marieke laughs. Overall the language barrier isn't a problem for our volunteers because the nursing staff are always willing to help when something isn't being communicated well.
Q: Were you able to complete all the requirements for your internship?
Miriam had already completed her program so she came to support Marieke but they delivered 35 babies together during their stay here. They also got to do community visits where they did health education on breastfeeding. After visiting the villages they saw some of the ladies from those communities come to the clinic a few days later.
Q: What next for both of you once you return?
Marieke will start another internship before graduating this summer and Miriam will start job hunting. The two don't know exactly what the future holds but they do plan to continue to work together as a team. They work so well together and enjoy sharing this passion.
We want to send a huge, "Thank you", to Miriam and Marieke for their work completed here at the King's Village. We are thankful for their skills and hard work dedicated to the people of Northern Ghana during their stay.