Egypt , Malaysia and the Red Project ..

       Hello , this is osama mahmoud , A 4th Year  medical student in Cairo University .  It has been exactly two weeks since my arrival to Malaysia and am falling in love with the beauty of the nature in this country .

     Actually , I have never imagined that I will pass by that multi cultural experience when I left Cairo on the 6th of August . But when I came here , Everything was different  from Egypt , the people , the language ,, the lifestyles and once i was in KL Sentral i expected that this journey will be full of excitement  . 

     The problem which I cannot avoid here in UKM Is the Ants and mosquitoes , and I remember on the first day I had a bottle of medication for Coughing , and I put it on my bureau , after 1 hour only , I found that the ants were  drinking the bottle , ha ha

    Another problem is the Spicy food which you find here in almost all the Indian restaurants  , and i`ll never forget my first experience my first experience with that kind of food . After breaking my fasting , I ordered Green Curry Soup and it was only one spoon and I felt that a bomb has  just exploded in my brain . Ha ha,, from that time I learned that take care about the food i order  in the next times

       Now  we are working on The Redproject for HIV/AIDS , which aims to spread the awareness of HIV/AIDS among the youth via Workshops for high school students and conferences for college students , and next week will be the first Workshop for me which will different from any other workshops i have ever had in Egypt , Once with different people and in a different country with a different country .   

        This will be a new experience which I hope to gain a lot from it and to help the students to gain more information about HIV/AIDS and how to protect themselves from that Epidemic  and to demonstrate  the difference between HIV virus and AIDS disease . Also , another goal of that workshop which I hope we can spread , is that person  living with HIV  ( pL HIV ) are not always bad people because of the stigma and prejudice  we have about HIV/AIDS Patients , you can deal with those pl HIV without being infected and those patients are victims of that damned virus.

      I had once seen an HIV patient in Cairo during a visit to Fever Hospital , and his case was delayed with Kaposi Sarcoma  and after two weeks only of this meeting I knew that he passed away  . I felt pain because we couldn’t help those patients ,, so I hope that we can spread HIV/AIDS  culture to keep the youth safe  and Help PL HIV to have normal life without discrimination .

  Finally ,, i`d like to say thank you to all the People here in UKM and all my friends from other LCs here in Malaysia for all the good time am having now with them  in that beautiful country .

 Osama Mahmoud  


Visiting wakehouse - It is not an end

We had a chance to go to a place called wakehouse - a place where the HIV patients stay. There are three wakehouses, for different kinds of patient - Men, women and children. The one that we visit was for women.

When we were on our way, the feeling of nervous and excitement was bumping harder and harder in my heart. We kept discussing what to do and what not to do during the visit. For example, not to be so straight forward and ask sensitive questions.
Finally, we arrived the place. The woman looked more energetic than we expected. She spoke pretty good English so it was easier for us to communicate with her. There were around 8 people waiting for us in the sitting room.

It was difficult to start as we did not know which type of questions would be offensive to them. So we asked some basic questions first, for instance, the age and the time that they discovered the existence of HIV. The atmosphere was getting better and better. Since not all of the patients were able to speak English, we had to ask a lady to translate for us.

A case I found really sad was the lady who spoke good English. She got HIV from her husband and she realized it after her husband had passed away. She still got the doubt whether her husband himself and his family knew it before they got married.
They even got a child and he was innocent. Fortunately, he was not HIV positive.
I was not feeling that sorry after I heard the rest of the story. The woman was having very positive attitude and energy. She had the courage to tell her family that she got HIV and so to her son as well. They accepted her and would visit her. Her son was getting married soon and would have a baby. I could feel the excitement and happiness from the woman and this is actually important for a HIV patient - to have positive attitude and energy.

I was impressed after visiting the wakehouse. The patient were much more positive than I expected. You will not feel sorry or sympathy for them. As living with HIV is not an end.



My last week in UKM

After spending more than five weeks in Malaysia, I find it hard to leave. During my stay I didn’t feel homesick because everyone made me feel home.  Although I can’t wait to see my family, friends and my university, leaving was so hard.  However staying in UKM in Malaysia was a real challenge, I learned a lot from this experience. Coming to a country doesn’t speak my first language, Arabic, being exposed to different life styles and traditions, meeting people from different backgrounds with different attitudes, getting out of my comfort zone and working in an international environment, gave another 10 year experience to my age. 

During my five week stay in Malaysia, I learned and educated others about HIV AIDS, I met good and made new friends, I got the chance to see new places, I met different people but was able to tolerate and accept their thoughts. After this rich experience I feel more independent, more experienced problem solving, more adaptable to various conditions and more respectable of the others. 

Hard times, sleepless nights and stressful moments were inevitable, but rather than breaking me, they made me. Hard times made me stronger and made me appreciate the value of time management.
When I am at my dear home, Egypt, I will always remember my first abroad country, the first lesson I learned, the first group I taught, about HIV, the first friend I met, the first mistake I did, the first dance, the first tear and the first laugh. 

Hend El-Taher

My stressful week in UKM

This week at work was so stressful. Several tasks were assigned to my communication department and to me in specific. One of them was to do a country presentation at work on Wednesday 12th. Another one is to do at least two blog posts and write reflection after the workshop I conduct and to write news letter. Finally, the most important task was to give a workshop to high school students.
    The purpose of the country presentation is to introduce Egypt, its culture, heritage, traditions and the problems facing the country. During the presentation, I tried to represent my country well and to touch on the misconception about the Egyptians as Muslim Arabs or “Pharaohs”. I also talked about my educational experience at AUC and the cultural shock that I had during my first week in Malaysia.
    Another task was to conduct the first workshop. Before the first workshop, I was concerned about the big number of attendees and their young age. Most of the students range from 12 to 14 years old, which means that it might be hard to control them. Another challenge was that they might not be familiar with my accent in English. Not only this, but understanding some English and medical terms might also be hard. For this, intensive preparations were essential to avoid any difficulties during the workshop. Another thing that my team was concerned about is that it is a conservative school, so we decided to eliminate parts of our topic such as condom demonstration, oral and penetrative sex and to mention them quickly without detailed explanation.
   After the workshop, and in general, the outcome was satisfactory, especially that this was the first time  AIESEC has a workshop attended by that big number

   Although the students seemed bored in the middle of the workshop, we tried to have games to energize them.  The students were following most of the time with the MCs, which was obvious when they were asked some questions and they were able to answer most of them. If the team succeeded to correct, at least, one misconception about HIV AIDS or make them understand only one fact about the epidemic, it is satisfactory
Hend El-Taher


My first week in UKM

Being a senior student at The American University in Cairo, living in a multicultural environment and having friends from all over the world did not protect me from cultural shock.  This is how I can describe my first day in UKM Malaysia. Part of the fact is that this is my first time I go abroad alone.
Before I come to Malaysia, I neither had time for thinking about expectations regarding the nature of my internship nor my accommodation in general. 
The nature of my job wasn’t shocking for me because I am always looking forward to challenging myself with new tasks to add spices to my life.  But, yes, it is the first time I work in AIDS project, and it is the first time I read that much about the disease.
Interestingly enough, I realized how ignorant some Egyptians, including me, regarding AIDS epidemic. But there is no wonder when one notices that AIDS is not widespread in Egypt compared to Western and Southern Africa.
I guess the most challenging or shocking thing in my job will be visiting infected people. Not because I get scared of them, but because sometimes I’m very emotional and it is hard to hold my tears.
The real shock happened once I arrived and saw the bathrooms. There is something I know very well about myself; I can adapt to any circumstances except “comfortable bathrooms”. The first day, seriously I didn’t know how these toilets are used because I have never used them before.
Another challenge I’m still facing is Monkeys. For me, Monkey = Lion, which made my first night sleepless; especially when I was told that monkeys can sneak to my rooms through the window.
Sadly, not only monkeys are my weak point, but I also get scared of insects and spiders. But I am so happy to realize that after my second day, I don’t care if a lizard or a “small” insect passes next to me.
Hend El-Taher

OILEY FROM HONG KONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HI this is Oiley, I am a student from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. This is my second time in Kuala Lumpur!!!! I love both indoor and outdoor volleyball =)!!!

Cultural Shocks
This is my 10th days in Kuala Lumpur already, I had tons of fun. Meanwhile, I had a lot of cultural shocks as well.

The first one was on the way back to my accommodation place from the airport – the KLIA line. When I was walking down to the platform, I saw a train already stopped with its door closed. I slow down myself as I thought the train was going to leave. However, IT IS NOT. It had left when I reached the platform.

30 minutes later, another train came. I got into train and grabbed a seat. The seat was comfortable. UNFORTUNATELY, when I tried to get off from the train at my stop, the door did not open itself!! I was panic, I did not know what to do. I was lucky because a man pressed the BUTTON for me. The door opened and I could get off from the train. Otherwise, I would be staying in the train until the FINAL stop.
I did not expect the second one came that soon. I went to the bathroom and there was a water pipe. I thought it was for cleaning the floor or flushing the toilet. I was shocked by the truth actually, really eyes opening.

My first day night out was to Kajang, there were two AIESECers here bringing to buy some necessities. We went to Econsave, this supermarket actually was 10 times bigger than the one in Hong Kong. I was amazed and understood the reason that they had to tight our bags as it is too pricy to have CCTV all around this place.

After that, we went for dinner. I ordered DURIAN ICE BLENDED and a mixed KEBAB, I had already tried durian in Hong Kong and I loved it. However, this did not apply to everyone, one of us who is from Russia, not really into the king of raw fruit. “We should leave soon, it smells like gas” the girl said. It was one of the funniest joke I ever heard.


                                                      Group Picture in Kajang

First Meal in Kuala Lumpur
                                                       Rice Dumplings!!!! Malaysia Style


the struggle of a HIV positive

In the slums of Bangladesh's capital, drug use is fuelling a new crisis. Most of Dhaka's drug users are young, homeless and unemployed. Bangladesh is one of the world's poorest countries, with 60 million people living below the poverty line. For those struggling to survive in its capital, life can seem devoid of hope 

While Bangladesh still has a low HIV prevalence in the general population, with less than 0.1% of the population living with the virus, among injecting drug users it is spreading at a worrying rate

The low prevalence of HIV in Bangladesh means there is a lack of knowledge and understanding about the virus. Stigma and discrimination are rife

In Dhaka, where most of Bangladesh's 23,000 injecting drug users live, 7% of them are HIV positive. In one neighbourhood, where the largest concentration of injecting drug users live, 11% are infected

Mozibor Begum was a heroin addict for eight years. He started injecting drugs as a young man, when his parents arranged a marriage for him. He did not want to get married and felt out of control. After the marriage, heroin became a way to escape the life that had been forced upon him

Begum injected heroin every day. Like so many drug users he shared needles. "There were so many reasons for this," he says. "Sometimes there was a fear of the police, so we had to do it quickly, sometimes I didn't have enough money so I'd buy a hit with other people. Often we just had one needle." In 2004 he discovered he was HIV positive. He became depressed. "I had no hope," he says. "My family presumed I wouldn't live for long. I'm not sure they cared. I took money from my mother and was not a good husband to my wife."

To be continued.....

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