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Junior Medical Student Electives, Volunteer and Study Abroad
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Junior Medical Student Electives, Volunteer and Study Abroad

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Elective Africa - Mombasa

My name is Simon, I undertook a medical elective in Mombasa, Kenya in 2013 with two other friends through Elective Africa. I can honestly say that it was one of the best experiences of my life. Not only was I able to have the experience of working/learning and helping in one of their hospitals, but they provided the opportunity for us to volunteer at a local primary school. We taught children and partook in school activities like dancing, athletics and sport. To see young and poor children having such joy in their lives really helped us reflect on our own lives.
The program also offers trips to the masai mara where you can try your luck at spotting the big five. Accomodation was all provided for and secure with breakfast, lunch and dinner provided. The chef was exceptional, lovely and deserves a special mention, you're the best Dollas!
All the staff are kind, helpful and friendly. I honestly could not have asked for a better experience and cannot recommend them more highly.

Overall Rating

5/ 10

  • Academics

    4

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    4

  • Health & Safety

    3

  • Community

    6

Elective Africa

Time of my life experience. At the airport I was picked up by one of the staff members to assist me to the accomodation. First night at the residence: was exhausted and wanted to sleep and felt a bit awkward as one of the staff members wanted me to go out to town with the others, but we luckily we ended up staying home. Made a good connection with some of the staff members and allso the other students. In Malindi we were too many girls and some troubles arised. This was not very well handled by the staff. It was quite a different experience to see the town and the hospital for someone coming from Scandinavia. At the hospital the staff were superb, so gentle and welcoming for the students. I had the possibility to assist on different types of surgery which I could never have done in my own country. Amazingly well treated by all the staff, it was completely fantastic. Allso so heartbreaking to see the patients..
We went on a safari and saw the Masai people(?). Nice trip but the bus was terrible as they changed it from an exelent air conditioned bus with snacks to a hopeless bus with open windows, so much dust(!) and minimal comfort. I felt that they took advantage of our payment. But the trip otherwise was very cool. We saw some hippos on a frightingly close distance, and all the other elegant animals on the african plain.
Generaly on the residence: very nice dinner(!), delicious fruits, lack of different types of food for breakfast & lunch, someone was stealing our money(!)- should have been some kind of locker for it. The accomodation was nice, exept for lots of mosquitos by the water so I would recommend the house in the height, and there was lack of hot water sometimes. Aircondition in one of the rooms was programmed for a sleeping bag ment for mountain hinking and this made me ill. Allso I had a stomach infection from the kitchen. The staff aided me to get to a hospital. I was prepared to clean my clothes in a washing mashine, but as there was none it would have been nice to know beforehand that you wash your clothes by hand, (soaking them in an hour is the trick and you have to either buy a bucket or agree with other students to reserve the bidet for cleaning- wich is an exelent solution).
All in all: met some great people and had a very special experience which I will never forget.

  • Elective Africa responded to this review January 06, 2015 at 1:27 AM

    Dear MM,
    We are glad you had some awesome, nice experience especially at the hospital and acknowledge some challenges you experienced.
    Since 2011 when you attended the program we have made wonderful changes to the program to satisfy our clients, which is reflected by the most recent participants Anne and Steven’s review for placement in the same location in 2014. Here are some of the changes so far done:
    1.Shared accommodation information is shared in our website, our information booklet and pre-departure document, where we also advice on the limited spaces. Accommodation is usually 3-4 persons per room depending on the room size. Clients with special accommodation needs such as couples are advised to let us know in advance so that we can make arrangements for them.
    2.We have consulted Phares our Operations Coordinator in regard to the issue of loss of items. He however notified us that nothing was mentioned about losing of items. However we are very sorry and wish you could have provided us with more details of what was missing to help rectify the situation. However, currently we have installed lockers for those who have items that require safe storage. In addition, we continuously advise students to be careful, as they will be living in a community.
    3.We acknowledge that we sourced for a tour van for safari transfer from Mombasa to Nairobi, and it disappointed on the quality. This is the only time that we hired a different kind of transport system than what we had used before or even use today. We vetted the service provider based on recommendations from another organization. It was never our intention to provide a poor service and we sincerely apologize for it. Currently we do not process any safari trips without an air ticket from Mombasa that is for Kenya. This is to ensure safety and security of the clients in addition to satisfactory service.
    4.We previously offered only one cooked meal for dinner; for lunch we offered cold cuts for sandwiches and breakfast items were provided for self-service. Currently we offer two cooked meals and we share our menus with our clients to encourage flexibility and incorporate feedback from clients on an ongoing basis. In addition students get to pick collectively once a week what they would like to have both for lunch and dinner. Based on this past summer feedback from our Arusha, Tanzania clients we will be having Barbeques every week.
    5.It is unfortunate you fell ill. We can assure you we have not had such an incident since then. We continuously check to ensure that our staff upholds high levels of cleanliness. In addition, with Malindi’s tropical climate, it is inevitable not to have certain parasites like mosquitos. All the beds have mosquito nets and students are advised to carry mosquito repellants (which is also in our predeparture document) and clients are advised to visit their physician to obtain necessary vaccines. We do hope you are keeping well.
    6.All bathrooms are fitted with working instant showers and only in the case of a blackout is when the water could be cold. In 2011 we didn't have any power back up. Our main locations Mombasa and Migori are currently fitted with power back up. Any other house we open is going to have the same power back up as we have noted it is indeed an inconvenience.
    7.Air condition. An AC is a necessity in our hot locations such as Mombasa and Malindi. All bedrooms have them. Other participants would be uncomfortable with no AC and we encourage dialogue between housemates to handle such matters which can be out of our control.
    8.As per our information booklet we had communicated the options available then was to do personal laundry or request the coordinator to organize for someone to clean at a reasonable fee. We have since added free laundry services as part of our package once a week.

    We are glad you shared your experience with us. Every feedback is highly valued as we work to offer the best to our participants. Ever since 2011 a lot has changed and we are happy to have served you in the best possible way we could then. We regret every issue that caused your discomfort and hence will even work harder to continuously improve our services

    Sincerely,
    Elective Africa.