Why are there so many people from North America and Europe here trying to educate “the people” about this illness that so affects the populations on this continent?
Arusha is the headquarters for medical students and undergrads to come here to “teach”. Even as MedOutreach, we do high school teaching about this pandemic (for only one week, at the end of the trip).
I lamented this on the phone to Mat yesterday. How weird it seems, that all these Americans (mostly) come to this city knowing nothing of AIDS, and yet plan to spend weeks “educating the people here” about their own public health situation. What a development conundrum, again. When I asked Mat how I could go about our own high school teaching in a valuable and sensical manner, he suggested that I approach the high school presentation with a prefice: that even though we do have HIV in Canada, the students are the experts on how HIV and AIDS affects their lives here, their families and their friends. They are the experts on determining how they will cope with it, prevent it, live with it. All I am here to do is answer their specific medical questions on the disease and its transmission and treatment. This sounded good to me. I like it!
I like the medical niche. It is protective. I don’t have to pretend or assume I understand the context or can advise on the health-related development (anywhere except in my own country). Instead I can just be a medical resource, which seems more appropriate. Yes?