Before I begin, I have to make one thing clear: I’ve wanted to visit Uganda for a very, very long time. So much so that when I went to India last summer, I began planning my next trip the very moment I returned home. You can imagine my sheer excitement when I was able to sign up for Semester in Development, a program that takes university students to Uganda to study and complete an internship.
In high school, I spent lots of time traveling with Me to We and Free the Children. I went to Kenya and Ghana throughout grades ten and twelve, and those trips showed me how much I love the world. They made learning more exciting, introduced me to amazing people, and ended up having special place in my heart; they’ve helped me discover my passions and grow as a person. And this trip to Uganda, I’m sure, will be exactly the same.
I’m currently studying Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. My choice of major spurred from not only my interest in global health, but through living a life filled with medical issues. I’ve had countless surgeries and procedures, and I’ve been in and out of the hospital since I was born. As a result, though, I’m connected to people all over the world with similar conditions as me. That alone makes it really interesting to learn about various health care systems.
One person in particular, however, really inspired me to pursue this field. He has made a massive impact on my life—I wouldn’t be who I am today without him. He is Shafique Pirani, my pediatric orthopedic surgeon, and I met him the day I was born.
The doctors and nurses who delivered me could tell there was something very wrong with my leg. I was diagnosed with posteromedial tibial bowing (PMTB) and a leg length discrepancy (LLD). In grade two, I began having surgeries to correct the birth defect.
Throughout the process, I learned that my surgeon was from Uganda. I saw him so often that he felt like a member of my own family, and I eventually met his family, too. I loved hearing all about his trips back to Uganda to work on a sustainable development project for club foot; he inspired me to think and care about world events, and I often focused my school projects on Uganda as a result of my connection with him.
“I saw [my surgeon] so often that he felt like a member of my own family.”
During my time abroad, there’s a wild amount of things I want to do. At first, I considered listing things like “don’t procrastinate” or “study more”, but I realized that I should be a little more specific (and a whole lot more realistic). Not only that, but a bucket list should be fun—not school-related!
Miranda’s Awesome Travel Bucket List
1. Finish two books I’ve been wanting to read
2. Enjoy some breathtaking scenery
3. Eat somewhere new
4. Meet new people
5. Visit the clinic my surgeon worked with
6. Spend time on a beach
7. See some animals
8. Make homemade meals
9. Find time for creativity
10. Practice a new language
11. Take a photo that makes me smile
12. Continue doing yoga
13. Learn a new game
14. Share more of my journey with others
15. Go to Rwanda
16. Connect with friends I have yet to meet in person
17. Visit the Nile
18. Leave airports during longer layovers
19. Check out non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and learn about what they’re doing
20. Try something completely new to me
I look forward to sharing this journey with you, and I hope it can inspire you to go on your own adventure someday!
Photo courtesy of Amanda Bedford.
Miranda Tymoschuk will be writing weekly posts about her travels in Uganda and surrounding areas; tune in each week to read about her adventures and how she’s making a difference in the world.
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.