Blog submitted by Alexander Urban
Alexander Urban is a student from ACS International School, through ORBIS' partnership with ACS Alexander was selected to participate in an internship for that allows students to take part in an ORBIS program overseas.
Enraptured. This is the feeling that I have had ever since Wednesday, September 17th, when my journey with ORBIS truly commenced. As a student, only 17 years of age, I have been given the most amazing opportunity: to accompany the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital team to Jaipur, India for ten days. I have been traveling with the team as a student observer and aide. Although I am quite young and as so far ignorant to the ways the world, I have been humbled in every sense of the word by the amazing people who comprise of the ORBIS team, and their commitment to making the world a better place.
Here, in the busy metropolis of Jaipur, ORBIS is planning a two-week program in which they will work alongside local ophthalmologists to teach and train them in specific ocular conditions. The objective is to help the hospitals and doctors so that they will be more able to diagnose and treat their patients effectively, improving the quality of eye care available, thus enabling the future of eye care in Jaipur to be of a high standard.
Having traveled to India before and witnessed firsthand the poverty that much of the populace find themselves in, as well as the inaccessibility of health care to many, it is very fulfilling to know that this time round, I will be able to give something back. So far, we have been taking pictures and documenting patient stories to publish. This has given us students the chance to communicate directly and openly to people with a different culture than our own. From this experience I have realized that irrespective of cultural differences, we all have identical physiological and emotional needs. This has been very insightful and I have already learned much from the experience.
ORBIS is dedicated to teaching doctors in their own communities how to best conduct proper eye surgery and ophthalmology. ORBIS is known for its Flying Eye Hospital – a DC-10 that has been converted into a fully functioning teaching hospital. Thus, much of the equipment on the DC-10 aircraft that ORBIS utilizes is especially designed to help train and hone one’s skills. Every time the ORBIS jet travels to where it is needed, its contents must be securely fastened to prevent damage. After landing, I was able to help ‘unpack’ the plane into ‘hospital mode’, which turned out to be a lot of fun because I got to see parts of a plane that no one but airport personnel usually see.
I did not need to spend a lot of time in the presence of the ORBIS eye doctors and surgeons to find out that they were all of the highest echelon of experts in their particular fields, and that these people took their jobs seriously. They were very well coordinated and organized, making the most of the time they had. Yet despite their hectic schedules, team members found time to answer any questions I had simply and completely, and to make me feel comfortable. Also, after spending a bit more time with them, it seems that the ORBIS team is more and more like a big family where everyone happens to have a medical role, rather than a group of people from all different kinds of backgrounds. This, I think, shows the true quality of the OBRIS team.