OK, I do. And so does pretty much everyone else, including the administrators of these institutions. But that’s besides the point.
Every so often I find myself roaming around the Official Website of the Official Alma Mater of the Padre and stumble upon something cool, in this case, a profile of a kid I knew (one of the 12 I met during my four-year tenure at Bates).
Bates profiles Neil Tarabadkar ’08, who had the double distinction of being “mentored” by the sloppiest, laziest human I know (my roommate throughout college), and also receiving my favorite (appropriate) nickname of anyone at Bates: the Goodbus. Great bad joke.
Anyway, the Goodbus’ time at Bates may have been, like the rest of us, a coddled cocoon of free food and “learning,” but his time abroad appears to have actually been both interesting and beneficial. He spent half his junior year in Denmark, which he describes as the typical safe abroad experience, but then half in South Africa, where he got experience with an EMT unit in a relatively dangerous area.
I chose to work in a rural hospital. I was stationed in the pediatric department, but I was pretty much like a lab tech or an emergency room tech. They literally let me do anything. I drew blood, started IVs and sutured….I’ve had basic EMT training, but in the U.S. we’re still not allowed to do all of that stuff. In South Africa, we would be trained for about a day on a specific task. Then we had to show the doctors that we could do it a couple times while they were there. Then they just let us go on our own. The whole reasoning was that they had staffing shortages. Anyone they thought capable could help.
My favorite part is the matter-of-fact way he answers a question about the typical patients in South Africa — which he described as being unsafe to walk around at night:
The emergency room cases were usually from car crashes, gunshots or stab wounds. The chronic patients were almost 95 percent HIV- or tuberculosis-positive. Some patients spoke broken English, but the majority spoke Zulu. I had to learn Zulu. Now I’ve pretty much forgotten it, but while I was there I could converse.
Good Lord. I spent my junior year ten feet from the basketball bench, hoping to hear what play we were drawing up during the last seconds, then returning to my room to read for ten minutes and play Madden for an hour. I think the Goodbus and I had different experiences.