Vongai is studying public health at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. She joined the VACorps program in 2019, where she participated in a medical internship in the unique and beautiful country of Zimbabwe.
“Observing health care through the lens and context of Zimbabwe was truly an eye-opening experience. There are many ways to approach the practice of health care, and I was exposed to several different paths during my time there. Throughout the journey, there was also a great amount of cultural immersion and interactions with a diverse group of people from varying backgrounds. Overall, this was an experience that I will never forget.
My highlights include getting to attend a counseling session for a young mother caring for a child with cerebral palsy by herself. Her testimony was powerful hear, and it was a very interactive process in that the observers (including myself) were given the opportunity to ask the mother questions under the supervision of the counselor. All of the patients were extremely welcoming and the medical professionals we worked with there did everything they could to explain to us what was happening and why. Later on in my internship, I experienced a different aspect of health care. My favorite highlight there was witnessing the birth of two boys and then subsequently tending to the needs of the child while the mother recovered. At both locations, I also participated in outreach where I helped out with tasks such as taking vital signs, registering people, and interacting with the children while they underwent therapy.
My personal goal was to talk to the health care providers and understand the obstacles that they faced. If I end up working with similar populations of people, I felt it pertinent to hear first hand from the people who work within this health care setting on a day to day basis. I also wanted to network with people who could potentially become contacts for me in the future.”