Meet a FullSouler: Serena Meghji

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Hi, I’m Serena. I’m a Health Studies student at the University of Waterloo and will be entering my fourth and final year upon returning from Uganda. Until then, I will be working as FullSoul’s Public Health intern. Much of my work will relate to monitoring and evaluation of the Maternal Health Project during its implementation. This basically means that I will work alongside our stakeholders in order to better understand the activities of the program as they unfold. I am super excited to have arrived during a phase of the project, where I get to observe firsthand the culmination of all the hard work and dedication that has been invested by the FullSoul team to reach this point.

Fun Fact: My family is of East African descent. Both of my parents were born in Tanzania and immigrated to Canada as children. They have travelled back many times. I have only been once when I was just 8 years old. I’m happy to now be living in a country that is so close to where my family comes from and doing work to benefit mothers and babies who are not so far removed from my own origins.

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

What I am most looking forward to most is immersing myself into the culture and adjusting to a new version of normal. I love to travel and actively seek out novel experiences that challenge my current perception and worldview. I find that exposure to difference enables deeper understanding of oneself and is thus critical to growth. I also enjoy being exposed to diverse customs and ways of life and look forward to learning more about Ugandan culture during my internship. In addition, I am beyond ecstatic to get to enjoy the local produce and delicious foods that Mukono has to offer, which I would not be able to access at home.

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

Some interesting advice I received that I will attempt to put into effect during my internship is to be useful to the midwives’ in any way I can while doing observation shifts. The previous interns told me that this eased the dynamics somewhat and was a great way to quickly become accustomed to the work environment. This will also allow me to more closely observe what is working well and what isn’t and gain a clearer understanding of how things are taking place from a grounded perspective. I also got the advice to pack Kraft Dinner from the previous interns, which I found quite funny. I have to admit that I did follow their advice.

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

1. Movies-I made sure to upload a bunch of my favourites and a few that I’ve always wanted to watch on a USB stick. It will feel pleasantly odd to be watching a familiar film in such unfamiliar circumstances.
2. Snacks-I brought a bit of everything just in case I get a craving: chocolate, almonds, popcorn, and a couple boxes of Annie’s mac and cheese.
3. Flashlight-To be prepared for power outages.

How can we follow you on your journey?

My fellow interns and I will be sharing our experiences through FullSoul’s Instagram @fullsoulcanada https://www.instagram.com/fullsoulcanada/?hl=en  and the FullSoulCanada Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/FullSoulCanada. I will also relay some of my experience’s and reflections in a couple of blog posts.