Hello, my name is Helen Harbon. I am a second year adult nursing student at Sheffield Hallam University. About 3 weeks ago now I came back from the trip of a lifetime in the Philippines where I made tonnes of amazing memories which will stay with me forever.
I heard about Work the World (WTW) from a university lecture on electives and also a year 3 student nurse who told me about her trip to Africa with WTW, which she was going on this year. Both recommended this company and I have to say I cannot fault them. I did not feel WTW was a company at all, more like friends! I felt fully supported right up until the day I left Heathrow and they were always there at the end of the line for all my queries and worries (I had loads).
When my friend Sarah and I arrived in Iloilo we were greeted by one of the in-country staff, who took us to the Work the World house and gave us a tour around the city the next morning. We were shattered after the long flight and were so relieved to find good food on the table and some friendly people at the house who welcomed us with open arms. The friends I made throughout the whole trip made it amazing and I will never forget them. As we were all medical students, nurses, medics and some physiotherapists we all travelled to and from the hospital together, sharing stories from that day’s work. We all travelled together during the weekends as well, which made the trip even better and never made me feel we were on our own or unsafe.
There are loads and loads of other places to go in the Philippines so we just touched the surface
The traveling we did in our 5 weeks was fantastic. We went to some absolutely out of this world places: Gigantes, Boracay, Antique, Guimaras and Mambukal. They were all beautiful in their own way and completely different from each other.
Gigantes was an island completely on its own in the middle of the sea; it had white sands and was surrounded by the bluest of seas. It was like walking on a James Bond film set. Boracay was a party island that also had white beaches and there we danced till dawn , having eaten at the restaurants on the beach and then enjoying happy hour a bit too much! With Antique we stayed in tiny wooden huts in the middle of a forest, climbed up waterfalls, went zip wiring and did lots of other adventurous stuff! The list is endless of what we did and where we went, but with a trip like that we felt we just had to go everywhere and grab every opportunity! There are loads and loads of other places to go in the Philippines so we just touched the surface.
they gave us lots of lovely presents and wrote us a letter which made us both cry because it was so lovely!
Sarah and I did the village experience in our last week in Guimaras which was my favourite week. The family took us under their wing and treated us like we were their own. It was the last week of the Mango festival so we were spoilt on things to do! They cooked us extremely good fresh food and made sure we were always happy and having fun. That week went by so quickly and at the end of the week they gave us lots of lovely presents and wrote us a letter which made us both cry because it was so lovely!
During the weeks we went to the hospital I spent time in: the Emergency Room, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the delivery room. It is a shock, how different everything is out there and I found parts of it difficult, however, that is the beauty with being able to go out there and be nosy. It opened my eyes to how lucky we are to have the services and facilities we have and I met some wonderful staff out there who made me realise you do not need all the money in the world to deliver good health care to patients.
When we were in the house during the week we were treated like royalty, the house was always spotlessly clean and food was amazing. The staff were so lovely and definitely deserve all the praise they get. Every Thursday we were treated to a barbecue, which was amazing, as well as a a karaoke/ going-out-dancing night. It was alot of fun. The staff came with us which made the evening even better. I will never forget the people that worked at the house because all of them contributed in some way to make this trip as good as it was.
This is starting to sound very emotional but I cannot express how amazing this trip was. It has helped me confidence-wise and also has opened my eyes to how beautiful a country such as the Philippines is. The people are so lovely and happy and it’s very true that you have more fun in the Philippines! Thank you to absolutely everyone involved.