Barrhead teen Kyrie Bauer has finally set foot on Canadian soil for the first time in two months.
Kyrie’s mom, Colleen Bauer, and the rest of her family anxiously awaited her return from Tanzania, where she spent her days working in the obstetrics, gynecology and pediatrics departments of a regional hospital. She has yet to make her way back to Barrhead, as she is attending the Boston Marathon with her mother.
Colleen said her daughter’s experience has been life-changing.
“Kyrie has experienced some very neat things, and she has worked with some very warm-hearted people,” Colleen Bauer said. “She has seen some very heart-breaking things, with children and mothers dying, things that would have easily been prevented had those people had access to a health-care system like that of Canada.”
Colleen said her daughter watched a mother die after hemorrhaging, and it wouldn’t have been a problem here, but they don’t have blood for transfusions. There’s a huge shortage because of the high incidence of HIV/AIDS and malaria, which means something as common place as a blood transfusion isn’t so easy there.
“Kyrie worked in the pediatrics ward one week, and she told me how heartbreaking it was to see children who weigh next to nothing with very thin arms and legs, and she said there’s no life in them. They don’t have the energy to lift their heads and look at you.”
As a mother, Colleen said it’s tough knowing what her daughter is going through and not being able to help her.
“She has told me that when she gets home, her emotions are going to explode because she has to keep it bottled up while she is working,” Colleen said. “She has to keep going, and if she breaks down there, then she wouldn’t be able to continue.”
The pair communicates through text messages, and Colleen said she felt helpless.
“She would tell me she had a horrible day, and she watched a baby die,” she said. “I don’t think a person can go through this and ever be the same. I don’t know whether or not she will go into a medical career, but she has had some really amazing opportunities. Medically, she had done things you wouldn’t be able to do until your fifth year of medical school.”
During her time in Tanzania, Kyrie kept a blog and anyone who is interested in viewing her entries can log onto 2011helloworld.blogspot.com.