The experience I had with IMA was entirely different than any health care or outreach experience I have had previously. Outside of hospital placements, it was wonderful getting to know the other participants on the program while learning about the culture of Mombasa, Kenya. The program mentors were phenomenal- extremely supportive and accommodated to my exact interests. They went out of their way to ensure I was having a good experience and had the opportunity to do everything I wanted to. The accommodations were very nice and in a very safe neighbourhood and we had incredible meals prepared by the resident chef. Regarding hospital placements, the experience is what you make of it. You need to be ready to dive in, be proactive, and build relationships. I underestimated how challenging the hospital placement would be, in terms of how mentally and emotionally draining it was. There are things I saw and experienced in the hospital that have made a permanent mark in my mind. I gained valuable insight into how cultural differences impact health care, being aware of the way things are done differently due to either cultural differences or systemic differences. In many ways my mind grew, my heart expanded, and my heart broke. I am incredibly grateful to have had this experience, and I know it will stay with me. I am confident that this experience will forever change the person that I am and the nurse that I am.
I valued having a combination of time in the hospital with time in the community. My favorite days were when we would visit schools and have hygiene clinics and medical clinics.
I went on the Masai Mara Safari and it was incredible. It was definitely worth the cost to do it. If you are going to Africa, it is something you need to do while you are there. My group had an amazing driver who educated us on all the animals we saw. We got right up close to so many different animals. The accommodations we stayed in were also extremely nice!