DailyAfirmation (dailyafirmation) wrote,

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Service-learning@MEDWorld, Bill's annual dinner-deck party, and an episode of This American Life...

At 9:00 at the Center for Excellence in Curricular Engagement (CECE) at NC State, I met Myra, James, Caitlin, Heather, Michael, Alissa, and Elizabeth. James is Myra's new boyfriend, and it was great to meet him. Caitlin, Heather, and Michael are all students, and this was their first service-learning immersion. Good kids.

Our service today was with MEDWorld in Chapel Hill.

MEDWorld is a volunteer organization that was designed to collect and recycle unused medical supplies that would otherwise be discarded. The materials we collect are sent to developing countries where they can be used in clinics and hospitals serving the poor. MEDWorld is an environmentally responsible alternative for our hospitals to re-use disposable recyclable material to save lives across the world.

After meeting Tessa, the volunteer coordinator, we were ushered into their little warehouse, which was in somewhat of a disarray. After a brief introduction to MEDWorld and its mission, we "divided and conquered."

"This first job," Tessa said, "is kind of monotonous. It's just breaking up these small boxes of items and putting them all into a bigger box."

"I like monotony and routine," I said.

"So do I," said Michael, to my surprise. He and I moved to that section, and Alissa joined us, as it was a job for three.

The three of us had pretty much constant conversation over the course of four hours—no surprise, I guess, with Alissa and me in the group. Michael talked a whole lot more than I expected him to, though, and he asked a lot of questions, which I liked.

Between the three of us we unboxed and reboxed over 1,000 "Solution Sets," and about as many "Epidural 500 ML Cover Bags."

With about a half hour left, Alissa and I moved over to what Myra and James were doing and helped out there. We were foraging through a big blue container of mixed and tangled scissors, clamps, hemostats, tweezers, and various other gizmos that we counted as "instruments."

Alissa and I filled two small boxes each with 100 items of the scissors/clamps/hemostats variety, 100 tweezers, and 20 instruments. The box was then padded with from two to 12 (body) drapes.

Tessa said in the beginning that if we weren't disgusted enough with the cost of health care in this country, we would be by the time we left there after seeing all of the waste that all of us are paying for. She was right about that. It's sicko.

Back at CECE, we spent about 45 minutes in "Reflection," which is a critical aspect of service-learning—the thing that differentiates it from simply being a volunteer service activity.

We started off by listing on a white board all the things that happened today. This part is purely descriptive (the what); that is, no evaluation (the why or what it all means) at this point.

After that, we moved into the evaluative phase, where we went out into the hallway, designated one door as the "totally agree" end of the hall, and another door as the "totally disagree" end of the hall. Then, statements were read, and we took a stance somewhere on the spectrum. The statements were such as these:
  • I like volunteering at places that have a few volunteers as opposed to one that has many, many volunteers.

  • I believe what we did today made a difference in combating global health care inequities. (Something to that effect.)

  • I believe the United States is responsible for making sure the supplies it sends to Third World countries are safe.

  • I believe that MEDWorld has a responsibility to verify the contacts with whom they turn over their supplies for shipment overseas.

  • I believe that the reused supplies that we helped pack today were safe for use in a Third World country.

  • I would volunteer at MEDWorld again.
For each statement, a couple of people were asked to explain their position in the spectrum, and as they explained their point of view, you could move more toward the agree or disagree end if they made a point that resonated with you.

The final part of reflection, if the service-learning was done as part of a service-learning class, would have been to then tie in what we'd experienced volunteering at MEDWorld into the class lessons, which presumably would have been about the topic involved, in this case, Global Healthcare.

It was a great "last hurrah" for me with CECE, for as long as I've been involved there, I hadn't participated in an official Reflection.

I got home with about an hour to spare before leaving for Bill's annual Dinner-Deck Party.

We couldn't have asked for better weather. Bill always has a "top-notch, top-shelf" bar set up on the deck, and the annual dinner is always catered BBQ, which is always delicious. This year was no exception.

Robert and I left there at about 8:00, and stayed in for the night. We started to do a crossword puzzle, but neither one of us was really into it. We set it aside.

We put on the August 3rd episode of This American Life called Blame it on Art, which was okay, but not one of my favorites overall.

I proudly turned the lights out at about 10:30. Happy Pride Day.
Tags: accomplishments, community work, curricular engagement, friends, podcasts, service-learning

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