Amy Champagne, a recent graduate of the University of New Orleans and former member of the U.S. Marine Corps, is Project HOPE’s Public Affairs Officer for the first rotation of Pacific Partnership 2013, a humanitarian mission to the islands of the South Pacific orchestrated by the U.S. Navy. Amy also recently served as the Volunteer Operations Coordinator for New Horizons 2013, a humanitarian mission focused on improving obstetric care in Belize.
Two days after arriving in Washington D.C. from the memorable New Horizons 2013 mission, I found myself in the pursuit of more adventure. I was ready to take on Pacific Partnership 2013, a humanitarian mission and training exercise to which Project HOPE is supplying medical volunteers.
Once I arrived on the ship, I began meeting the individuals with whom I would later become familiar. As part of a 12-person team of Project HOPE volunteers, my colleagues and I would spend hours participating in community service events together. I quickly realized, as I saw and counted the blue shirts with the large Project HOPE logo, that this would be my team. It did not take long for me to realize there are some great people in our group whom I really wanted to spend some time getting to know.
Dr. Ray Majkrzak and Rose Wilson, RN
Dr. Ray Majkrzak and Rose Wilson spent a week on the Island of Savaii with partnering nations Australia, New Zealand, France and Canada.
Dr. Majkrzak conducted medical screenings in the village clinic, the health fair and Tuosavii hospital. During the health fair, Dr. Majkrzak conducted medical screenings of special needs individuals for the upcoming Special Olympics in Samoa. He described the local clinic as being nice and clean. During his time in Samoa, Dr. Majkrzak saw roughly 20 patients per day. He mentioned that, while in Tuosavii Hospital, he taught ultrasound procedures and other obstetrical topics to nurses and midwives.
“It was great to learn some of the basics of the Samoan healthcare system,” said Dr. Majkrzak. “The Samoans served food as a sign of gratitude and thanked the group many times.”
Lisa Bassett, RN
Lisa Bassett contributed to the health fair engagement, which was held in conjunction with the Special Olympics athlete screenings in the capital city of Apia. She assisted in the education of the Samoans on various topics including alcohol awareness, smoking and ways to reduce high blood pressure.
“It doesn’t matter how old a person is, their race or gender, the thirst for knowledge is still there,” said Lisa.
The Samoan people expressed their gratitude for the information. Lisa also presented lectures on healthy lifestyles and improving diet.
“As an emergency room nurse, sometimes I have to think outside box. This experience had me thinking even more outside of the box because I had to adjust what I taught to match the resources available locally.”
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