I started this back in April. Mondays continue to be the bigger days but for a while this summer, with the government medical residents being on strike, and a special deal here of some type, many days all three benches overflowed with patients.
[Pictures from back in June on a busy day]
I introduce myself and explain that while they wait we can discuss medical or health issues. Some days I talk and answer questions for two hours, while other days no one wants to talk [or only a few return patients are waiting who've heard the normal chats already] Then I just walk back home.
The talks not only help people learn more about medical conditions and ways to prevent health issues but allows me to learn more about what they believe about the human body or medical topics.
Occasionally the nurses or other clinic staff ask me questions as well.
Three weeks ago I restarted teaching in the adult literacy classes on Monday afternoons, now getting a full hour a week. Today I was asked to pick up an extra hour of class tomorrow as the normal teachers are ill. OK-so I can add substitute teaching to my resume.
|still giving out chaya to those who want it|
Being in a classroom setting it is easier for me to prepare a topic to share. Easier does not equal easy.
Remember these adults may have just started school again or for the first time. They focus on basic reading, writing, and math skills. Even those who have been in the program for 5 years do not have all the education of a fourth or fifth grader, and don't study all subjects like science.
One of the first topics the mostly female class wished to discuss was menopause... I learned rapidly that I need to define all the terms when no one had a clue what a hormone was...
So I work to keep the words, examples and topics as simple as I can. This can get tricky as well due to Creole not having many of the words we generally use to describe medical topics. While most of the students have attended church for years-the French vocabulary heard in reading the Bible and hymns does NOT include all words needed for scientific topics.
The language limitation, levels of education, and complicated subjects make class interesting. This week we talked about skin-so I reviewed the definitions of bacteria, virus, parasite, and fungus.
Couldn't really find the word for fungus but the normal teacher provided me with it. Great! Used it during the hour only at the end to have the teacher confess that it was the word for fern. Oops. OK class forget that word and we'll use the word for mushroom instead!
Also interesting to hear what 'they say /I've heard'...some truth, some urban legend and some just wild ideas.
Trying to sort it all out can be tricky..especially when 'the doctor said'. Much wisdom needed trying to balance what I know to be true, keeping things simple enough to be understood, and trying to think/understand what the doctor meant/or what the patient may have misunderstood.
Having prepared for a full class on a topic helps me with some of the questions for the clinic chats as well...uterine fibroids for example.