Blog: Odisha experience, chilly Delhi and Assam adventures

Dr Mhoira Leng
23rd March 2014

Mentorship participants
Warning; Delhi in January is really quite chilly. Picture me going to sleep with a wooly hat and wrapped like a parcel in scarves. What was not chilly was meeting again with the Emmanuel Hospital Association palliative care colleagues and sharing together about mentorship.  I think
Himalayas by air

Baptist Hospital, Tezpur
this is one of the most crucial areas in building capacity. Mentorship helps another become more self aware, builds confidence, challenges and supports the identification of areas needing growth and facilitates mobilising resources and making changes. As ever Chitra and I worked together joined by Ann Thyle and Marion Mathias who is a GP from Herefordshire. We are seeking to support the development of mentorship within EHA and to offer some further external mentorship support though colleagues such as Marion. Straight away we visited one of the dedicated and visionary leaders and her team at Baptist Hospital Tezpur, but this will be retold more in a future post. However, Marion is soon doing another big challenge; the Paris Marathon. Please consider giving to Cairdeas through her justgiving page. Many many thanks Marion and power to your knees!!
Claire and Beci
With Anjum, Dinesh at IAPCON
We then travelled to our 3rd state of Orissa, joined by a team from MPCU, Beci, Claire, Alastair, Julia and Ivan. I was so so proud of our team presenting 7 abstracts and 1 paper and being recognised with several prizes. EHA also presented and also shared prizes (well done Ann)and Chitra's team presented some innovative work in the area of mental health with similar recognition. It is not just about prizes of course but the opportunity to share, have work appreciated and affirmed, encourage others and continue to see palliative care developed and lives changed. Thanks to the teams from AIIMS and Bhubaneswar for organising a great conference.
For Ivan it was a journey of first experiences, not least being the sole black man at the conference. He tells me he now knows how difficult it is when people stare at you all the time because your skin colour looks different!! He has shared some of his experiences for this post.
MPCU team in Bhubaneswar
'I was in India from the 11th-20th of February 2014 to attend the 21st Indian Association of Palliative Conference as part of the Team from Makerere Palliative Care Unit. I coordinate the team of volunteers at MPCU who are invaluable in providing practical psychosocial and spiritual support to the patients with palliative care needs. There were so many firsts for me; it was my first time to travel by aeroplane, first time to present a paper at a palliative care conference of any kind and overall it was a lifetime experience for me. I presented a paper on “Integration of Volunteers within a Hospital setting” giving the experience of Mulago Hospital where I am based. I was quite nervous since it was my first time to make a presentation at a conference of such a magnitude. I was even more shocked at the awards ceremony when I won joint first prize for my presentation. I enjoyed interacting with palliative care practitioners from various countries and India especially that has good volunteer palliative care services. It was a rich experience for me.
Ivan and Alastair at the Taj
It was not only work, together with my colleagues, we were able to experience and see some of the historical monuments of India, eating their delicacies and experiencing bits of their culture. My highlight was our visit to the magnificent Taj Mahal which left me in awe.  India is a very wonderful country, the people were warm and friendly. Overall it was an experience of a lifetime that I will live to tell my children about, and I want to appreciate all those who made it possible for me to attend the

conference and special thanks to my Boss who has been a good mentor to us all at MPCU'
As you know Ivan is one of our team members who is receiving a Cairdeas scholarship to continue his theological studies and to attend this conference. Thanks to all who contribute so faithfully in so many ways.