Humber graduate speaks about internship in Uganda and Haiti
By: Kezia Hinds, Work study, Marketing and Communications, Humber College
This article originally appeared on Humber Communiquè
Tinika Sampson has always known that she’s lucky to live in Canada – and her internship experiences in Uganda and Haiti have reinforced that sense of gratitude.
For the past three months, Sampson, a recent graduate of Humber’s Child and Youth Worker program, has spent her days interning at two HIV/AIDS prevention clinics in Uganda providing support for mothers and children infected with HIV/AIDS.
They were different groups and two different places, but both were experiences the young graduate says she will never forget.
|Tinika Sampson volunteering at a school Uganda|
“I’ve learned to be very grateful. To be grateful that I am living in a country where I have the opportunity to go to school, speak my mind, to disagree, to say no. Freedom is a good feeling and not everyone has that opportunity to be free,” says Sampson.
While in Uganda, Sampson interned with the Tumaini AIDS and Prevention Program(TAPP) and the Rural Orphans Widows AIDSNetwork (ROWAN) while staying in the village of Muwanga . Having to walk 15 minutes for a pail of water or bicycle to the clinics were just part of the rich, new culture she was exposed to.
Having rebounded from the abyss of civil war and economic catastrophe, Uganda is becoming relatively prosperous. However, although the Ugandan government is advocating for universal education there are still problems with accessing schooling. Subsidized HIV/AIDS medicine is also very expensive.
“Whenever I walk to the clinics, everyone would stop and greet me on the way. They told me ‘Welcome back to Africa.’ They really embraced and looked up to me. Life is never perfect – even here in Canada things aren’t perfect – but the Ugandans embraced those struggles in a positive way,” says Sampson.
And her time in Haiti had similar experiences.
“The girls I worked with in the orphanage are all educated. Some of them had lost their parents to the 2010 earthquake, others to abuse or poverty, but the girls were so full of life. They all wanted to be married and have a better life. When you ask them what they want to be they all said doctors,” explains Sampson.
Sampson will return to Haiti next year to assist with a medical program and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in International Development.
“The simple foundation Humber instilled in me as a child and youth worker is that you should not be judgmental. You need to love and you need to realize everyone has different perceptions and perceives things differently. You can’t approach others with a hierarchy or superiority. You need to form allies and work with people.”