Fantastic Pharmacy Students!
on Jason and Anna in Mbarara (Uganda), 24/Apr/2010 14:15, 34 days ago
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One of the Second Year Pharmacy students came to see me this week, to tell me that the students were arranging a farewell tea party for Jason and I - I have to say I was very touched. Sometimes it's easy to think you haven't achieved much in your time as a volunteer, but when the students show they appreciate what you've done, it makes it all worthwhile.It's never an easy decision to move to a completely different country and work there, especially when the information you've had about the job is quite vague, and you don't really know what to expect. You arrive at your new place of work and are shown your office in the department, your colleagues are lovely but aren't always around, as they have to supplement their incomes with other jobs - at first I found it quite lonely, as I was used to being really busy all the time as a pharmacist in Liverpool and interacting with customers and other staff members.When I began to teach, I realised that the students here are absolutely FANTASTIC - they have made these past 15 months so memorable for me. I was assigned the task of teaching Pharmaceutical Technology to the students (i.e. how tablets etc are made) - and I was terrified, as I hadn't looked at any of that stuff since I was at university myself (where, if I'm being totally honest, I didn't particularly enjoy the subject anyway). However, I understood how important it was to teach the students to the best of my ability - I have spent so many hours making notes from textbooks, finding things out on the internet, and preparing lecture notes. Practical sessions have been more or less impossible, as we have neither the laboratory facilities nor the equipment to conduct pharm tech practicals. I have felt sorry for the students at times, as it is quite a dry and boring subject, and I have enormous respect for the ability they have to learn and understand theory without seeing any of it in action. They are all super-intelligent students, who will make brilliant pharmacists, and I am proud of all of them.At the start of the tea party, some of the students did speeches to thank Jason and I for our efforts in the pharmacy department. Although Jason is in the Institute of Computer Science, he has helped my department by facilitating a presentation skills workshop, rolling out the Learning Management System for pharmacy students, and many other things.  The speeches were moving, and often humorous - one student recounted the day he got thrown out of a lecture by me for being 25 minutes late (fair enough, if you ask me!).  I had a tear in my eye during most of the speeches, as it suddenly dawned on me that we're going home in 6 weeks, and I will really miss Uganda, especially the pharmacy students at MUST.We got presented with certificates from the Pharmacy Students Association and the Medical Students Association, to recognise our efforts - they'd even been signed by the Dean of Medicine. Then the students presented me with a plaque to display on my wall - you can see it in the picture below:The wall-plaque the students presented to meAfter the 'official' bit of the party (you have to remember that most Ugandan functions are extremely formal), it was time for tea, chapattis, and bananas, followed by group photos:All the Fantastic Pharmacy StudentsThe Third Year BPharm GroupMy Tutor Group - Second Year BPharmThe Second Year GirlsThe Second Year BoysA few of the Fourth Year BPharm StudentsI still can't believe how much effort these students went to to organise a party for us; we really enjoyed it and I will miss them all.