Meet a FullSouler: Vinussa Rameshshanker

It’s nice to meet all of you, my name is Vinussa (some people call me Vinu) and you can see me in the photo rocking all blue in the mountains of Peru.

I’m currently a fourth year Bachelors of Public Health student at the University of Waterloo, but for the next few months I’ll have the pleasure of joining FullSoul in the International Consultant – Public Health role. Most of my work will revolve around working with FullSoul’s present and future partner hospitals to better understand how the Maternal Medical Kit Project is being implemented, what’s working well, and also what isn’t.

Oh, and a random tidbit about myself – you may have guessed from my photo that I love to travel – the next destination on my list is Utah, they’ve got the most amazing national parks!

Can you tell us what you are looking forward to the most?

I mentioned that I’m studying Public Health, but that’s a pretty broad term. My real passion lies within the field of global health and development – I realized this at the young age of 17. At the time, I was starting to learn about just how enormous the world is, how much the lives of different people vary, and just how much of those differences are matters of social justice and human rights. The trickiest challenges that we face today such as poverty and maternal and child health are complex issues, and it can be extremely difficult to grasp how these problems continue to exist, let alone how these problems can be made better. As daunting as it may be, the first step is to learn – to learn about these wicked problems, to learn from my fellow FullSoulers in Uganda and Canada, and to learn from those whom are first-hand experiencing the problems that together we can solve. To sum all of that up, I think what I’m looking forward to most is to learn.

 How are feeling as you prepare for your trip? 

Never could I have anticipated how crazy of an emotional rollercoaster I would be riding the last few weeks prior to flying out to Uganda. I often find myself laying awake at night unable to sleep, completely and utterly excited to be embarking on my journey with FullSoul. Yet at the same time, I also find myself feeling stressed as I recognize just how much change I will be experiencing, especially during my first few weeks in Uganda. In a sense, I think both of these contrasting emotions are two sides of the same coin.

Did you get any interesting advice from previous interns or others to prep you for the trip? 

 The most interesting advice that I received from a Professor of mine was to, simply put, ‘roll with the punches.’ The line really struck a chord with me. As I prepare for this trip at home in Canada, there are so many unknowns about how the next few months will unfold. I am 100% sure that there will be much that I experience which will be unexpected and completely different to the experiences I am familiar with in my day-to-day routine. Rolling with the punches speaks to the importance of going in with an open mind, adapting to the ‘new’, and learning from whatever and whomever is around me.

What are the top 3 things you are for sure packing?

Definitely a tricky question, but I would say the top three would be:

  1. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – this is my absolute favourite novel that I can never get tired of re-reading.
  2. A few photos of my family in a small envelope – they never fail to make me smile, and I can’t imagine not bringing some photos along with me.

My journal – I’ve been an avid writer since I was in elementary school and it’s definitely a core part of who I am.

How can we follow you on your journey?

Through the FullSoul instagram @fullsoulcanada and the FullSoul Canada Facebook page! From time to time I will also write a few blog posts.