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Using Humor To Teach Female Empowerment

Jalandhar, India - Seth Mazow, Interplast staff:  During the weekend between our two weeks of work, the team saw a bit of the surrounding areas.  Twice a day, a subset of the team would return to the hospital to monitor the progress of patients in their recovery and make sure that there were no urgent complications that required attention.

During one of these visits, plastic surgeon Eric Mooney and translator/coordinator Madhu Anand were talking with Nisha's parents about her recovery. Everything was going well, and Madhu and Eric asked if Nisha was going to be allowed outside of the house.  Nisha's mother said no, that her daughters are rarely allowed to leave and Eric, the father of three daughters, jokingly said that he approved.

A good laugh was shared by all, as a father's protectiveness regarding his daughters is one of those universal feelings.  The moment allowed all of us to come together for a little bit, and bridge the gap between doctor and patient, rich and poor.

It also allowed Madhu the chance, with everyone feeling more comfortable, to tell Nisha's mother in all seriousness that education is the key to opportunity for Nisha, and she should be allowed some freedom accordingly.

There is often a significant cultural gap between the aid giver and receiver.  Humor and relaying shared experiences are important tools in bridging this gap and increasing the effectiveness of humanitarian work. 

Apologies for the bad audio in the video, the recovery room is a loud and hectic place.

Paula And An Unhappy Camper

  Paula And An Unhappy Camper 
  Originally uploaded by interplast.

Jalandhar, India - Seth Mazow, Interplast staff:  Paula is a recovery room nurse. She monitors the patients as they wake up from anesthesia. This little guy just woke up from hand surgery, which is usually pretty painful. As you can see by the look on his face, he's not a very happy camper.

Dancing After The Ceremony

During the ceremony, the students put on a dance performance featuring traditional south Indian dancing as well as modern, Bollywood-esque numbers.  After the ceremony, the nursing students danced on stage just for fun.

They pulled up the somewhat reticent Interplast nurses, who were a little embarrassed at their lack of Indian dancing skills.  Plus, they were a little nervous about moving around so much in their saris, which they felt were precariously held together. 

The students, however, would hear none of it.  They wouldn't take no for an answer and pulled up the Interplast nurses on stage, much to everyone's delight.  Through the riot of color, you can seen them in the background.

Dawn Addressing Nursing Students

  Dawn Addressing Nursing Students 
  Originally uploaded by interplast.

At the ceremony, Dawn addressed the nursing students as the guest of honor and told them to respect themselves, as nursing is a respectable profession.

All of the nursing students told the Interplast nurses that in India, nurses are not well respected. This was a common complaint, and hopefully they took Dawn's words to heart.

Tour of Nursing School Facilities

  Phoenix Nursing School Facilities 
  Originally uploaded by interplast.

Jalandhar, India - Seth Mazow, Interplast staff:  The teachers took our nurses for a tour of the facilities. This is the mock recovery room, where the students are taught about proper post-op care.

Candle Lighting

  Candle Lighting 
  Originally uploaded by interplast.

Jalandhar, India - Seth Mazow, Interplast staff:  All of the Interplast nurses had a role of honor at the candle lighting ceremony. In this photo, nurses Careen Andrada and Jodi Clements light the candles of the students. After all the candles were lit, everyone recited the nurse's oath.

Nurses Invited to Candle Lighting Ceremony

  Interplast Nurses in Saris 
  Originally uploaded by interplast.

Jalandhar, India - Seth Mazow, Interplast staff:  Dawn Lambie made such an impression as a nurse educator on the local nursing students that they wanted her and the rest of the nurses to go to a candle lighting ceremony at the nursing school. To my knowledge, it was the first time that Interplast nurses have been so honored.

Some of the lecturers came to the hotel early to dress up the nurses in traditional saris for the ceremony. They looked stunning.

Jalandhar Nursing Students Discuss Lessons

Jalandhar, India - Seth Mazow, Interplast staff:  I talked with some of the nursing students after one of Dawn's lectures and asked them about what they learned.  It's a little hard to hear since the rest of the students were leaving the lecture room and we couldn't really break away to a quieter place.  Sorry!

Successful Surgery For Nisha

  Nisha In The Recovery Room 
  Originally uploaded by interplast.

Jalandhar, India - Seth Mazow, Interplast staff:  Nisha's surgery went very well. Even though she is wearing a brace, you can see that the burn contracture has been released and her head is now free from her chest.

Nisha Going Under Anesthesia

  Nisha About To Have Surgery 
  Originally uploaded by interplast.

Jalandhar, India - Seth Mazow, Interplast staff:  Nisha is shown here on the operating table, wincing as the anesthesia is injected into her wrist. As eager as she was to have the surgery, she was a little scared of the needle.

Global Health