Team Togo

After only a few days of being home I still can’t believe that I just got back from three weeks in Ghana and Togo. It was a whirl­wind expe­ri­ence, but I learned so much and really enjoyed work­ing with our won­der­ful UW team. This was a great expe­ri­ence as a primer for my ser­vice in Peace Corps next year in Togo. In many ways it helped me get a bet­ter under­stand­ing of what liv­ing in Togo will be like.
I learned so much work­ing in the clin­ics. Before I left for Togo, I was a lit­tle unsure how my knowl­edge in pub­lic health would be very use­ful in a clinic, but I real­ized that so many of the sys­temic prob­lems in Togo directly affect the peo­ple com­ing into the clin­ics. For exam­ple, we saw in many clin­ics that peo­ple were unable to go to the hos­pi­tal because of trans­porta­tion or the cost of hos­pi­tal­iza­tion. These chal­lenges were dif­fi­cult to face and really drew on my ini­tial thoughts that Togo is a for­got­ten coun­try. There was much less aid seen in Togo com­pared to Ghana. The infra­struc­ture was sig­nif­i­cantly worse and there was a clear dif­fer­ence in acces­si­bil­ity from one coun­try to the other. It made me really appre­ci­ate that I choose to spend the first 4 days and the last 4 days in Ghana and use the com­par­i­son to bet­ter under­stand the need in Togo.
This was a fan­tas­tic expe­ri­ence and it really put the con­cepts that I have learned in health stud­ies and other BIS classes into a real world perspective.IMGP3341

Go, Go to TOGO

Blog Writ­ten 7/9/2014 by Aimee Desrochers, Major: Health Stud­ies, Study Abroad: Togo

As I orga­nize my clothes, bug repel­lant, and mos­quito net into one back pack to bring to Togo, West Africa tomor­row I won­der if I will be pack­ing up all the same things in a year to start the Peace Corps. Tomor­row I am leav­ing for about three weeks in Togo to learn about global health in a resource poor set­ting. I am so excited to learn from the orga­ni­za­tions and peo­ple we are going to be work­ing with for 10 days and get hands on expe­ri­ence in global health. I am a senior in the health stud­ies pro­gram and when I grad­u­ate in Decem­ber I will be leav­ing for two years, liv­ing in Togo for the Peace Corps. I am so for­tu­nate to be able to study abroad there before I move there and get a bet­ter under­stand­ing of what my life will be like there.

I am leav­ing a lit­tle ear­lier than the rest of the group and doing some sight see­ing in Ghana and stay­ing a lit­tle longer at the end to hope­fully meet fel­low peace corps work­ing in the area I may be sta­tioned. For ten days we are work­ing with a team of nurses and doc­tors to pro­vide pri­mary health care and screen­ing to indi­vid­u­als with lit­tle access and resources. I am going to be doing wind shield sur­veys and com­mu­nity assess­ments to deter­mine what the com­mu­nity wants and what resources they have. I am look­ing for­ward to learn­ing from the com­mu­ni­ties about their lives and what they want for their com­mu­ni­ties in the future. This is going to be an amaz­ing expe­ri­ence and I can­not believe I am leav­ing tomorrow.