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No Place Like Home

Clinician's Brief

June 2016

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No Place Like Home

Jessie and the team arrived back in the United States on May 15, after an incredible adventure in Malawi with Mission Rabies. We are proud of their efforts, and grateful to have them home. Interested in being a part of the team next year? Be sure to follow Clinician's Brief on Facebook to hear about upcoming opportunities.

Our last night in Malawi, Chelsea and I had an unforgettable experience—with a bug. By 10 PM, we had finished up our packing and were asleep in bed. At 11 PM, we both woke to a loud buzzing noise, like a car driving by or a cellphone vibrating. It was neither of those things. We realized instead that there was an enormous, unidentified mutant-bug flying around our room. Chelsea refused to leave her bed, so I climbed out of bed and turned on the bedroom light, then quickly returned to my bed and stood up inside of my mosquito net, ready for battle. The bug had been circling my net, so I rolled up a magazine (thank you, People!) and stood there, weapon at the ready, waiting patiently for the bug to come into view. When it landed on top of a cabinet near my bed, I took my chance, attacking it with the magazine (I got at least 15 good whacks in). Chelsea, of course, filmed the entire escapade.

Jessie and Chelsea’s unidentified mutant-bug, after suffering fatal wounds from People Magazine.  

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We left Malawi on Friday afternoon, May 13 and arrived back in Oklahoma on May 15, after 2 days of travel. Chris, Chelsea and I had a little trouble at the Malawi airport. When we arrived at the ticketing counter, they informed us they did not have tickets for us. The ticket agent took our passports and told us to wait in a designated area, assuring us that she would come retrieve us—with our passports—so we waited patiently. After a surprisingly short wait, they called us up to the desk and handed us tickets and passports. Woo! Once we got through security, we realized that the rest of the Brief Media volunteers had been waiting on the other side, prepared to dial the emergency contact for our travel agent.

On the flight from Malawi to Johannesburg, I took the opportunity to indulge in a bit of Malawi’s white wine. It was enjoyable to reminisce with the volunteers about our experience and to simply relax on the plane! It felt like a luxury to just sit and talk with each other, after being constantly busy the past 2 weeks. It was a perfect way to end the trip.

Even though the flights from Johannesburg to Frankfurt and Frankfurt to Houston were each 10 hours, I felt like the longest flight was from Houston to Tulsa. We were ready to see our families and friends and share our experiences! I was greeted at the airport with a wonderful welcome sign made by my daughter, as well as hugs from my whole family.

As I reflect on this trip, words cannot express what the experience meant to me. We made a difference on so many levels.

The Malawi Community

The appreciation they had for the mission and the people who were involved was heartwarming to say the least. I will never forget the surprise in their voices and their faces when we told them we had come from another country to help them. 

There is no place like home—but if you were to ask me about a second Mission Rabies trip, I would just say, “When do we leave?”

The Animals

These animals are not used to veterinary care and, in some cases, any care at all. I am grateful for the opportunity to provide rabies prevention for them and offer advice to their owners to provide better quality of life. It felt good to be a voice for these animals.

Malawian Children

Their faces say it all. They yearn for knowledge and want to just watch us. Whether watching through the windows of a school for 6 hours, following us door to door, or sitting in their school listening to one of our team, they were constantly with us. They are so happy and each moment with them brought me so much joy.

Mission Rabies Representatives

What an amazing group of people! Mission Rabies has put so much thought and effort into these vaccine drives. The energy they project is contagious and sets the mood for a productive and memorable experience.

Brief Media Volunteers

Each of our 8 volunteers did an amazing job and were so thankful to be there for the cause. I built some fantastic friendships and professional relationships for which I am so grateful. I have received numerous emails and even a sweet gift in the mail from a volunteer thanking us for the opportunity to participate.

Chelsea and Jessie, sharing their experiences with the rest of the company.

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Brief Media

Chelsea and I are so proud to have been selected, not only to represent Brief Media, but also to experience this life-changing initiative. This trip provided a perspective and an understanding that we will always carry with us, and we will not forget the love we felt for the community and animals. Thank you for the experience of a lifetime.

There is no place like home—but if you were to ask me about a second Mission Rabies trip, I would just say, “When do we leave?”—Jessie Foley

JESSIE FOLEY has a degree in veterinary technology from Cedar Valley College, as well as a degree in advertising and public relations from University of Arkansas. For the past 2 years, she has been production editor for Brief Media. She was previously on the veterinary nurse team at University of Tennessee Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Foley led Brief Media's efforts to build a team of volunteers for the Mission Rabies Mega Vaccine Drive in Malawi, Africa, and joined the team in Africa for a two-week segment of the vaccine drive.

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