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Archive for September 18th, 2012

My one year experience as a volunteer in Trondheim – Norway gave me fulfillment

Posted by African Press International on September 18, 2012

My story in my own words: fulfillment Claudio (left), Antonella Straullu, and Dejan while in Trondheim - Norway as EVS volunteers Claudio (left), Antonella Straullu, and Dejan while in Trondheim – Norway as EVS volunteers

My name is Antonella from Sardinia in Italy. I was volunteering at the “section for adult education” (Enhet for Voksenopplæring), with three other volunteers – one from Italy and two from Bosnia. My experience in Trondheim, started one year ago, in August, ending July this year.

The organisation, in which we worked, deals with adults education, handling immigrants who escaped from wars and difficult situations in their countries to find new settlement in Norway. We were placed in different schools with different tasks. Personally, at first, I was assisting a multi-handicaped student.

I also had a “conversation group” and a “pronounciation group”, in which the students could improve their English skills, and this went on smoothly because I have a Master’s Degree in Languages and Literatures,.

It was a pleasure for me to work with them. I noticed they felt free to talk with me and to say their own opinion about everything, without being “scared” to offend someone, probably because I was not a “real” teacher and I was a foreigner like them.

With this, I don’t mean they said bad things about Norway or Norwegians (on the contrary, they were grateful to the country for taking them in). I just mean that sometimes, when you’re abroad, you feel guilty even if you say “I don’t like that food”, because you think your host could take it personally, misunderstanding what you really mean.

I was surprised of the fact that, even though they came from countries devastated by wars and violence, they always smiled and  were always ready to help one another.

I remember the first day I went to school, I couldn’t understand a word of Norwegian language, and just one of them could speak English. Despite this, a woman came to me, introduced herself and offered me some chocolate and nuts, and because I couldn’t understand her words, she tried to explain me everything using her hands. It was funny, and it made me feel like home: we Italians are famous for “talking with hands”.

When I was able to speak the language a little bit, I started working as assistant for a storytelling and singing teacher, where I helped, together with the other volunteers, in preparing a theatre piece, which was played in June.

In the meantime, thanks to my mentor, who introduced me to some friends, I had the possibility to work in the backstage of the Trondheim Music Festival, and to continue my kickboxing training at the gym, where, after a couple of months, they asked me to help them with the children training.

It was great, it gave me the possibility not only to do something I like, but also to make friends and improve my language skills.

During the year, we had two seminars, in which we met all the volunteers who were in Norway, located in different places, and it was good to get to know them and share our experiences.

It was nice to be in “Norway” for one year and I would really recommend it, even though, it needs to be said, not everything was “roses and flowers”, as we say in Italy – that means I had moments in which I really wondered why I had chosen to do it, and I wanted to quit as a volunteer.

Fortunately, I had friends who helped me a lot, and I found a “brother” in Claudio, the other Italian volunteer who was in my project, who helped me to go on and finish what I had started, even though we often argued…maybe because of our age difference – I’m 30 and he’s 22 and that led us to dwell in different points of view.

I really have to say thank you to everyone who made my year in Norway a positive one. My wish is to visit the country again in future!

I say to those in Norway: “Tusen Takk” – “Thank You – in English.




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US presidential candidate Romney loses to President Obama in careless whispers

Posted by African Press International on September 18, 2012

Romney was careless in May this year during a fundraising meeting. In a recently released tape, Romney is criticising the American people who need the government’s help from time to time. He was caught unaware when he uttered the demeaning words that shows that he is a man for the rich. Being elected President will therefore put the larger American population in danger because his government will pay no attention to their needs, like Obama’s government would like to do.

Romney accuses the larger American population of dependency on government hand-outs, saying such group of people will most definitely vote for Obama because he will give them unconditional aid for their survival.

The analysts now conclude that Romney is a don’t care presidential candidate who if voted in may not have his heart for the poor and needy American people.

It is now clear that if Romney is not tamed by those in charge of his campaign, more careless utterances may flow and will ruin him.

The Democrats will rejoice more, now that the debates will soon start, and President Obama is expected to pin down Romney by dwelling on the careless utterances considered by the Democrats as abuse directed against the poor and needy American people.

Romney’s uphill battle has just began and if not handle with care, this will cost him the presidential victory he so desires together with his supporters, The Tea Party Comrades.

The Tea Party is a group of Americans who want Romney in and Obama out. This is a group that sees no single right done by Obama. They simply want him out. This is a right-wing group very active in America, one that saw the light immediately President Obama took over power.



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Doctors’ strike affecting patients in Kenya

Posted by African Press International on September 18, 2012

By MAURICE ALAL, reporting from Kisumu. Kenya Maurice Alal.API reporter Kisumu.Kenya Maurice Alal.API reporter Kisumu.Kenya

The ongoing nationwide strike by nurses and other medical staff has completely paralyzed operations in nearly all the government health facilities in the country.

According to Nyanza Regional Director of Medical Services Dr Ojwang’ Lusi, although the region was yet to record any deaths, there were fears that most patients could be losing their lives across the region and the country.

He said most of the patients kept off the health facilities from the first day of the strike fearing that they will not be attended to.

Dr Lusi said the situation was already worsening and amicable solution should be reached as soon as possible to stop the suffering that many patients were going through as a result of the strike action.

“It is my prayer that this who thing is ended. The protagonist needs to see sense and seek mechanism that will end the strike. It is unfortunate that people will likely lose their lives because of this action,” he said.

A spot check by the writer revealed that patients who were seeking services in most government facilities for example in Kisumu remained unattended.

Some of the patient’ relatives were forced to relocate to other hospitals in town, most of them private. However it was a tough choice for others who could not afford to pay for the services rendered in the private facilities.

At the Jaramogi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kisumu, security guards allegedly stopped some relatives of patients admitted at the facility from being moved to other hospitals over claims that they had not cleared the hospital bills.

Most private hospitals in the city however recorded booming business as the number of patients streamed in to seek medical attention.

The strike that began on Wednesday has seen doctors also join their colleagues in other department like nurses, lab technicians and technologist, and other hospital staff to press for the payment of various allowances that inclusive of amongst others, strenuous allowances.

The strike follows the failure by the government to award salary increment needed by the health experts. The government through the Ministry of Medical services and that of Public Health and Sanitation appeared to disown the earlier agreements it entered into with officials of the striking health staff describing the organization that gave the strike notices as an illegal entity.

However the minister for Medical Services Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o said the strike was illegal and insisted that the striking nurses should go back to work immediately.
According to the minister, the government agreed to pay the allowances demanded beginning July this year appealing to the workers to wait until then, but so far that has not been honoured as per the doctors’ claims.

However, the top officials who represent the striking medical staff accused the government of short-changing them by sacking some of the nurses. At Homabay, Migori, Siaya and Bondo the district hospitals most nurses kept off their usual work places choosing instead to stay at home.

Only Centre for Disease Control and Kenya Medical Research Institute (CDC/KEMRI) personnel who have been conducting various research activities using Siaya district hospitals were on call assisting the desperate patients, some whom they could handle their medical needs.

It was the same at Kombewa district hospital where research scientists working with Waltereed Project became a god send to patients seeking treatment at the hospital which is adjacent to the Kombewa clinical research centre.

Amongst the worst hit by the strike were patients who had been scheduled to undergo various surgical operations this week. There is also apprehension amongst relatives of those who have a date with their surgeons for the coming week.

A resident from Rachuonyo North district, Daniel Owino who has a patient set to undergo a surgical operation on Wednesday next week at the Jaramogi Teaching and Referral hospital said he was wondering whether the procedure will be carried out now that the strike is on.

“I took my wife to the facility two weeks ago and the doctors who examined her asked me to avail her on Thursday for the operation for the operation but now it may not be done,” he said.

At the Jaramogi for instance, surgeries are normally conducted on Wednesday and Thursday of every week. During this period the doctors operate on up to even ten patients. In most facilities in Nyanza doctors were reportedly responding to emergence cases to save lives.

It was the same case at Kisumu District hospital where Dr AggreyAkula the hospital’s medical superintendent had to remain in the theatre for several hours doing operations.

Apart from their current demands to be paid various allowances by the government, striking hospital workers also want the ministry of medical services to employ more nurses and doctors to help cope with the huge demand of medical services.

However, six months ago, doctors downed their tools countrywide that saw a number of people loss their lives and leave operations in the government medical facilities paralyzed.


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Kenya: The violence has displaced about 30,000 people

Posted by African Press International on September 18, 2012

Needs rise among Tana River violence survivors, displaced

Pondering the next move…The violence has displaced about 30,000 people

MOMBASA,  – The month-long violence in Kenya’s Tana River District has left a broad wake of destruction and need.  Health facilities, inundated by people injured in the conflict, are struggling to cope with insufficient medical supplies, say officials, and tens of thousands remain displaced.

“Our facility is overstretched as a result of the casualties we received from the Tana clashes,” Morris Buni, Malindi District Hospital’s medical superintendent, told IRIN.  The hospital is attending to at least 32 critically injured patients who suffered gunshot wounds, cuts, burns and spear injuries.

“We are in urgent need of non-pharmaceutical supplies like gloves, bandages, needle and syringes,” he said, adding that the facility has not been affected by an ongoing nationwide doctors’ strike over pay.

The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) has recently appealed for blood donations to plug a shortage at the Malindi and Coast Provincial hospitals, where most of the survivors are receiving care.

“Our appeal for blood donation has received [a] good response from members of the public and many are turning up to donate blood, which will help those who urgently need it,” Mwanaisha Hamisi, the acting KRCS Coast Province assistant secretary general, told IRIN.

But not all of the injured have been able to access medical care. “There are those with injuries who were never admitted but need medical aid. Nearby hospitals should be equipped so as to help them,” Hamisi added.

Thousands seek refuge

The Tana River clashes, between the pastoralist Orma and the farming Pokomo communities, have killed at least 118 people and displaced thousands others.

“At least 10,119 persons are in internally displaced persons camps while another 8,560 are being housed by relatives and friends. In Malindi [County], we have another 5,000 people also uprooted from Tana River. The exact figure is hard to tell because these people are always on the move, but it could be around 30,000,” said Hamisi.

“Those living in camps urgently require food and non-food items like blankets. We have received some of these from well-wishers, but we continue to appeal for more.”

Most of the displaced are currently living in temporary camps in the Dide Waride, Witu and Mpeketoni areas with others moving further to the Mamburi, Marerani and Lamu areas. Some families are also seeking refuge in swampy forests along the Tana River shores in the Kau, Kilelangwani, Tizama Lako and Ozi areas where conditions are harsh, according to KRCS.

“As the numbers increase, so does the risk of disease outbreaks, with women and children being most vulnerable,” said KRCS in a statement.

Andrew Mondoh, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Special Programmes , told IRIN that food supplies have been distributed to those affected by the clashes. “As we speak, we have given out soya beans, cooking oil, beef and rice to help those affected by the clashes. In the meantime, we will be exploring ways to provide any help as urgently as it may be required,” he said.

Relative calm has returned to the Tana River region following the deployment of over 1,000 police officers there. Members of parliament had earlier sought to compel the government to send military forces to quell the violence.

ko/aw/rz source


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