Being here has inspired me to continue down the tract of maternal healthcare and obstetrics. I am even inspired to get involved in politics and start my own clinic. There were some parts of the program that I expected to be a little different but because I have been encouraged to continue studying traditional medicine and get more involved in healthcare policy making, I am forever changed and that is what is most important. I even learned more about myself and the importance of families through my homestay. The trip overall has significantly impacted me and though I was unsure about the program and not entirely knowledgeable about what exactly I would be studying, I am thankful that I was able to be a apart of this study abroad experience.
Before coming to Madagascar, I did not know exactly what I would be studying. Yes, the program’s theme was partially on traditional medicine but I did not know what traditional medicine encompassed. Beginning with the first trip to see the traditional healer, Lazaina, I instantly became aware of how important and dynamic traditional medicine actually was. From the first group interview I learned how these men and women are selected and chosen to be given the gift of healing. It was not just something they chose and because of that, not simply for the love of science or money, they devoted their lives to providing healthcare and support to their community. It did not take long for me to find a connection with traditional medicine because right from that moment I knew it was more than just healing the body but it was for curing the mind and the spirit. As a nursing major, I understand the importance of caring for someone holistically and it excited me to see what traditional medicine offered society and how it could positively influence Western medicine
The use of medicinal plants was not something completely new to me but being able to dig deeper into just how many plants were available and the vast amount of diseases and illnesses they could cure was remarkable. Ethnobotany was never something that I thought would interest me because I am not into nature and did not appreciate the healing power of plants until coming to Madagascar. Yet, I am now fascinated; I yearn to learn more about and study plants that can be used during childbirth and for female gynecological problems. I want even want to ask my grandmother what other plants or roots her mother used back when she was growing up. She always has some home remedy for common illnesses.