Short/Long Term Missions

Hannah Ellis Report

A little bit about me
I was born and brought up in Leeds, Yorkshire UK and moved away from home in 2001 to go to University in Birmingham, West Midlands UK. I have one younger sister and she too is away at university.
I have always wanted to become a nurse and am thoroughly enjoying my nursing training. I am due to qualify in summer 2005 and eventually hope to work in critical care.
As part of my training, we had the opportunity to undertake an overseas elective placement. Although nervous about the whole prospect, I chose Papua New Guinea (PNG) and had an amazing time. I travelled alone but met up with a friend on my return journey. This was the first time I had travelled and my first experience of a third world country. It was an incredible experience and something I highly recommend.

Why I chose to go to PNG:
  • To experience living and working in a third world country
  • There were established elective opportunities available
  • Somewhere ‘different’ in terms of climate and culture
  • To experience living in a country where English is not the first language
  • To go somewhere where I could actually be ‘of use’ to the people
What I gained from time in PNG:
  • What is normal for us in the UK is not normal for everybody
  • The skill of symptomatic diagnosis
  • Patience – the speed of work in PNG is very laid back!
  • A love for people as they are and for who they are
  • A greater understanding of another culture
  • What it is like to live in a foreign country
  • The importance of education to the development of a community
  • We are so lucky to have what we do
  • Confidence my ability to nurse and in myself
  • I can make a difference
  • God never leaves you – even in times when you’re really struggling and feel alone, He’s still there watching out for you, guiding and protecting you.
Things to take with you:
  • Water purification tablets
  • Maglite – for when there’s no electricity at night!
  • Mosquito repellent – plenty of mosquitoes!
  • Leatherman – knives are big and scary out there, a small pocket size one is handy!
  • Sunscreen – it gets very hot and you will burn!!
  • Sarong – useful to cover up with for cultural purposes or to protect from the sun
  • Personal CD player – for entertainment and to share your taste in music with the locals!
  • Decent walking sandals – to climb slippery hills carrying buckets of water, or to wade through rivers in!
  • Zip-off trousers/skirt – so you can protect yourself from mosquitoes by zipping on the bottom when it gets dark
  • Non-sterile gloves – to save using the precious resources out there
Tips for future travellers:
  • Have a few days in Cairns on route to alleviate jet lag - best done before arrival in a different culture
  • Buy an around the world ticket – this allows travelling on either side of the placement… you may as well having gone all that way!
  • Don’t believe the Aussie tales about PNG – there are taxi drivers and airport staff who although they have never been to PNG, have horror stories to tell. I never came across any problems on my trip – it was no different to cities back home in terms of safety.
  • Change all money needed for PNG before arriving there - banks are difficult to come by once in PNG. I found there were plenty of exchange places in Cairns (Australia) dealing in PNG Kina. Wear a money belt (for own peace of mind) – I felt safer doing this as I was travelling alone and had to carry lots of notes into the country
  • Have a place booked in Australia for return journey – telephones in PNG are a little unreliable and you may find it difficult to make an international call.
  • Take photos of family, friends, house, city etc – to show people your home country and help explain what life back home is like!
  • Go with an open mind – you can never imagine or plan for everything you will experience
  • Remember everything you see is ‘normal’ for the people – you are the abnormal’ one to them!!
  • Eat the local diet (within reason!) – this helps to integrate you with the locals and gives you a proper experience of the culture
  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep – past visitors to the country had promised to write, to return, to send things in the post… and never had. This had really upset the people.
Download the PowerPoint file on the Hannah Ellis Report.

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This web-site was last updated on the 20th of Nov. 2004