Currently typing this in Melbourne airport waiting for my delayed plane. Getting to Melbourne was drama in itself, but that's for another post. Good to see people still visit my blog (not that I really care).
So over two weeks ago at end of May, I went to NZ with OneSight. I managed to get a 'scholarship' i.e. all expenses paid trip to visit Rotorua in the North Island to do school screening for kids. I've been to South Island before on a 'budget' trip 4 years ago to Queenstown, so was super excited to visit NZ again for free whilst getting clinical experience. Coincidentally, OneSight is the charity of where I work, so even though I was the 'UNSW Student', I understood all the business talk.
We saw a total of 1223 kids and adults throughout 4 and a bit days! Take into account, normally an optom see between 8-14 patients on average per day. We had a team of 15 of 4 optoms, plus dispensers, store managers, hr staff. It was sooo hectic, and third and fourth day only had about 10mins for lunch. NZ doesn't have Medicare, so people have to pay for their own eye test. Children under 18 have free health care stuff, but most of the time parents ceebs bringing them in. It was amazing giving kids glasses, even if super cheap and not the proper script due to equipment and not a proper setting. You really wonder how they do see with their bad vision. We gave people free glasses and a quick eye test if they failed the screening. Mainly schools from around the area came in, and we set up in a school hall. Apparently this trip was relatively easier since we didn't have to set up and pack each day, and were based in the same place.
There's too much too recount, so as per my usual travel posts, dot points of random thoughts. No time to upload photos either, but I'm sure those who follow me on Snapchat saw stuff from my week.
- Flying into North Island, you have green hills and mountains are less impressive, whilst flying into South Island you see gorgeous snow capped mountains, or just very big and pointy mountains in general. South Island is prettier, but I guess I didn't have time to explore North Island like Hobbiton.
- Auckland airport is quite small.
- Weather wasn't really that cold, maybe 2 deg in morning, max 15 deg during the day, but we had old school heaters inside.
- Rotorua is a 3hr drive from Auckland, and the grass is so green all the way through, it's so lush.
- Improved some clinical skills and how to talk to kids.
- Stayed in a cute motel/apartment with 2 levels, and fit 6 people into it, with separate beds. Only one bathroom though.
- No time for sight seeing or even go to the cbd since everyday was clinic, but they did organise some night activities. Didn't extend my trip since I was going to Melbs two days after I got back.
- NZ kids can sing so well, and harmonise so well. They're taught singing or something as part of their schooling. Most learn Maori as a first language.
- Kids don't wear shoes either, like running in the grass at 8:30am in 5 deg weather, and they are all just barefooted. When we first saw that, we were like, wow, so weird.
- Loved learning about the Maori culture.
- Sunday night was pizza night delivered to our apartment
- Monday night taco night
- Tuesday visiting an old Maori village and geysers (it's called geysir in Iceland lol) and their version of an RSL club. Rotorua is a geothermal village, so underground there's a lot of heat and warm water. Also the town does stink like sulfur/rotten eggs. Just my luck I was sick the whole week, but I guess I smelt less of the sulfur. The village is like small huts, quite interesting, but tbh, doesn't look that comfy.
- Wednesday night went to the skyline buffet and luge. It's the same company as the Queenstown one, but went up there after sunset so was all dark. This time went before sunset to enjoy the view, and had time to go on the luge. The advanced one was shorted but quite fun, since parts of it is quite steep and you sort of fly off the track whilst going down, so cool to have some 'air time'. The views were amazing, with so many glass windows. Everyone was surprised at how much I could eat. Tbh, it's not that much compared to before, but yeah, ate more than some guys lol.
- Thursday night was a cultural night at Tamaki Maori Village. There was a contact who our team leader leased with, and the person who runs the tourist attraction is one of her relatives, so pretty sure we could get a discount. Didn't pay for it since OneSight paid for the Wed buffet and this Village thing. So cool learning about it all and how they used to live. It's cool trying traditional food. It was a really homely buffet, and people were also surprised how I also ate so much two nights in a row.
- Friday morning saw some patients, but then headed to the airport after. Loved looking at all the greenery on the way back.
- We got these really cute pins as a souvenir/memorable thing. They also have us some picture books in Maori about their legends/culture.
Probably more thoughts but writing this after a hectic 2 weeks in Melbourne.
Really amazing experience helping people who can't even access eye care. I guess being overseas makes it even more exciting. Hope to be on another clinic in the future.