By Tosin Ariyo
After many months of nail-biting planning, I have finally arrived in Zambia. It has been ten days, and I am still as excited as I was on the 1st day…a little overwhelmed but excited still. Zambia is vastly different from Nigeria, although I had wrongly assumed that they would be similar because they are on the same continent. But that could not be any further from the truth. The food, the culture, the people…the beauty in diversity.
I hit the ground running. My first day in the country and I was asked to report to the office because the WHO Regional Director for Africa was visiting. Glad to see that it is a woman, and I am in good company. In choosing public health as a career path, the WHO has always been sort of a prototype for my goals; therefore, having the opportunity to road test my acquired knowledge and skills with the organization was quite experiential. As one of the frontier institutes of public health, the WHO is involved in its member countries’ activities towards improving and sustaining the health of its population; this serves to provide practical scenarios of how public health is implemented intra and inter-nationally.
As an African in the diaspora, getting an international field placement to ‘road test’ my acquired knowledge and skills is very beneficial and illuminating. My foundational motivations for choosing a career in public health are renewed as I am able to see a different work, health and life culture than what I have lived, and what I learned.
It is going to be a great summer in the safari!