There is a real difference between looking and seeing. Just as there is between listening and hearing.
My internship in a psychiatric centre in Rwanda really let me explore these differences. We can look at mental health care without seeing what it achieves, what is gained, or what is being missed. We can listen to peoples stories without hearing the deeper meaning for that individual. By allowing myself to be immersed in the environment at the centre, in their values, practice and looking and listening beyond the surface to the reasons behind practices and procedures meant I could not only make the most of my learning but also allowed any suggestions or concerns to come from an informed, reflective and ultimately respectful and helpful place.
Equally, I felt that the staff and patients truly saw and heard me. This mutual respect led to an open, collaborative and mutually beneficial learning and practicing environment as well as to friendships that will last a lifetime.
In terms of the GEI team, they always saw if we needed extra support and heard any concerns or feedback we had and worked conscientiously and effectively to resolve any concerns.
Thank you Rwanda, for giving me the opportunity to see and hear all you have to offer during my internship and for opening my eyes and ears to new ways to approach mental health care.