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

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