Month: September 2019

Meet a FullSouler: Alison Elliott

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Heya, my name is Alison Elliott, I’m in my 3rd year of Planning, and I’m thrilled to be sharing my FullSoul experience! This will be my third co-op term, and my first international placement. I’ll be taking on the role of Project Manager, working alongside my colleagues Lorien and Anna to distinguish problems and solution in maternal health. I’ll individually be working on the ongoing Global Grant application with the Rotary Club of Uganda, the implementation plan, the FullSoul budgeting scheme, and the blogs/social media. I’m a very outgoing and adventurous person who loves skiing, horse riding, hiking and travelling. I’m very excited to begin this journey with FullSoul 🙂

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

I’m most looking forward to embracing a new place. I’ve never been to Uganda, let alone Africa, and I know I’ll learn many valuable lessons when there; whether as simple as learning to cross the road or as complex as communication and personal growth. I’m also looking forward to building the FullSoul family and working for an NGO that has such an important call to arms. Never in my undergraduate degree did I think I would be working in an organisation in maternal/public health, and I now cannot wait to start doing so.

How are feeling as you prepare for your trip? 

Part of me is feeling extremely ready to jump into it, but part of me is quite nervous. I think the idea of being so far from home physically and not exactly knowing how often I’ll be able to contact home is scary. I think my colleagues and most past interns have felt the same way at times, and reasonably so! But all things considered, I am feeling excited and prepared to start working for FullSoul, and I know that once I’m settled in Uganda, I’ll feel settled in my mind as well. I am someone who can adapt easily and can see the positive side of situations, so I know that I’ll be okay!

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

One of the most important notes I got was from Olivia, the last terms project manager. She told me to be confident in myself and feel assured that I can do my job well. As a co-op student it’s easy to second-guess yourself and feel overwhelmed by the real time demands of the workforce, but she reminded me to take a breath and remember that I am capable of doing my job and doing it well.

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

  1. Notebook: for journal and drawing purposes as well as note taking on the fly
  2. Cliff bars: quick easy boost of protein!
  3. Vitaminsgotta stay strong

How can we follow you on your journey?

You can follow my journey (as well as my colleagues’) on the FullSoul social media account, but additionally you can check out my personal Instagram (@alisonfielliott)!

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Meet a FullSouler: Lorien Boyce

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Hi, my name is Lorien, and I am a third-year student of Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo. I’ll be taking over as the field engineer intern for the next few months, meaning that I’ll be working closely with the other interns and some of the hardworking midwives in Uganda to identify and improve any shortcomings that may exist with FullSoul’s MMK (maternal medical kit) program. Something about myself is that I love talking to people and hearing their stories! My interests include worldbuilding and storytelling, the great outdoors, and waste management.

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

I am incredibly excited and grateful for the opportunity to learn about a problem space by talking to those who know it best. My experience so far has taught me that there is a lot to learn from simply listening to others and asking questions. I’m looking forward to gaining new friends and teachers from all walks of life as I work to become a better engineer.

I am also excited to see Ugandan geography and flora! Hopefully I’ll get at least a few chances to see and learn about the local plants, climate, and landscape. At home, I’m happiest when I’m walking or hiking with my family, and I’ve been told there are a few hikes in Uganda that I might be able to plan for.

How are feeling as you prepare for your trip?

Every time I travel, I have a hard time knowing how to feel beforehand. Mostly, I can just sense the mountain of unknowns that I will have to face in the coming weeks. FullSoul has done a great job at preparing us as much as possible for living and working in a new culture and climate, but I’m still anticipating some culture shock, some exhaustion, some confusion, and some many more hours of researching and learning and reading. The hardest part of any internship is building new habits and adapting old ones to work in a new environment. I am glad I have two other interns that I’ll have as a support system, and I am eager to reconnect with them in the coming days!

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

Absolutely! I’m prepared to make a lot of homemade suppers with beans, rice, and fruit (YUM – these are already my staples) and I’m bringing some Tupperware for meal prepping. I had to find some long skirts for the hotter weather I’m about to experience, which means I won’t be able to count on my trusty jeans and threadbare pullovers anymore. Other advice I’ve received is to learn to conserve cell data for daily work, use bodas and taxis to get around, and walk slower than I would at home.

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

  • My notebook for scribbles, doodles, and letters
  • Good shoes for walking and [hopefully] hiking
  • One or two good books

How can we follow you on your journey?

The FullSoul media outlets and this blog! I hope to contribute a few entries during the next few months.

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Meet a FullSouler: Anna-Kay Smith

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Hey everyone, my name is Anna-Kay (my friends and family call me Anna) and I am super excited to be sharing my journey in Uganda with you all. I am currently in my third year of Health Studies at the University of Waterloo, but for the next few months I have the opportunity to work with FullSoul as the Monitoring and Evaluation Intern. My job entails working with FullSoul’s partner hospitals to understand the Maternal Health Project and conduct an evaluation to see what works well and if there are ways it can be implemented better.

A fun fact about me is that I absolutely love anything music related, whether it’s playing instruments (I can play trumpet and piano), listening to music or watching musical theatre performances (the next show I want to see is Hamilton)!

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

Going into University I knew I wanted to travel abroad – either on an exchange term or a co-op abroad. When I heard about Christina and FullSoul I was enthused to find a position that allowed me to travel and combined that with my passion in Global Health. When I think about my time over the next couple of months, I don’t know if I can just pinpoint a single thing that I am looking forward to the most. This past semester I took my favourite class of university – ‘‘social determinants of health’, where I learned about social and economic conditions that influence the health of populations and individuals. I am grateful for the opportunity to take the knowledge that I have gained in school and further learn about the complexities of maternal and child health issues. I also cannot wait to immerse myself in the culture and build new relationships and connections with the locals.

How are feeling as you prepare for your trip? 

As I’m writing this there are three more days before I fly out to Uganda and it still doesn’t feel like it is actually going to happen. I have definitely experienced a rollercoaster of emotions these past couple of weeks. Although this experience is something that I have envisioned for myself for a while, there is still so much uncertainty and change that comes along with it that makes me anxious. Despite that, I know that the experience is going to be life-changing and am super excited to be in the country.

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

I love this question because I’ve gotten so much advice from friends and family that has physically and mentally prepared me for the trip. Something that I really appreciated was advice from the previous interns on how to communicate with the locals. They taught us some common Ugandan phrases and told us about different mannerisms used there that would help us communicate better. My role as the monitoring and evaluation intern is heavily focused on relationship building so going into Uganda with this knowledge makes me a lot more confident with my day to day interactions.

What are the top 3 things you are for sure packing?
  1. Camera – instead of writing in a physical journal I wanted to try making video journals, as well as create ‘day in my life’ videos that I can share with future interns
  2. Chocolate! – highly advised by a previous intern (thanks Olivia!)
  3. Books – I plan on reading (and sleeping!) a lot during the 17 hour flight!
How can we follow you on your journey?

You can follow my journey on the FullSoul Instagram page @fullsoulcanada and the FullSoul Canada Facebook page, as well as my personal Instagram page @annakay_1999.

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