[We Care, We Share] Story from Yeshey: Bhutanese UNV Nurse in Congo

 

 

Brief background about myself.

My name is Yeshey Zangmo and I am from a place called Wamrong, which is in Eastern Bhutan. I am the eldest amongst eight siblings and a mother to two college-going children. I attended my junior high school in Wamrong, and this is also the reason why my parents chose to run a small local business there for a living and to make education accessible to me and my siblings. After high school, I graduated with a Diploma in Nursing and midwifery from the then Royal Institute of Health and Sciences in December of 1999. Later in the year 2009, I graduated with a Bachelor’s in nursing from La Trobe University, Australia. I continued my further study in India and graduated with a Masters in Community Health Nursing in 2012.

 

Back in my country Bhutan, I have worked in the capacity of Staff Nurse and Chief Nurse in various District hospitals for 19 years. However, my inquisitive mind and passion to work in the multicultural environment have brought me to various parts of the world. Each time I travelled, I could feel that both my personal and professional experience enriched to the level I have never imagined before. My short work experience in the Middle East in 2016 as a Nurse Manager not only allowed me to learn the Arabic language, but my strong belief in volunteerism has paved my way to DRC, Congo as a UNV Nurse in January of 2018, where I also got chance to learn French language. Working as a UNV Nurse with MONUSCO and living in the most difficult locations for the past two years, has only made me a stronger and better human being ready to tackle even bigger challenges in my life.

 

My reason for working as a UNV Nurse

My association with the UNV program dates to when I was in Nursing school in Bhutan. I used to work along with the doctors who came as a UNVs to Bhutan. These doctors made a good impression on me and since then I always had an aspiration to contribute my own experiences, knowledge, and skills just like one of them some day. Moreover, in my country, I am also one of the 4th batch of DeSuups who underwent DeSuung Programme, the Guardian of Peace training in 2012. Undergoing this programme which is the brainchild of our His Majesty the King, enhanced my volunteerism values further and motivated me to contribute in my own little way to make this world a better place for everyone to thrive, no matter which part of the world you are in. As a DeSuup, I have had many opportunities to volunteer and serve within my own communities wholeheartedly and with a sense of pride understanding that, it is more important to be a good human being first and to act with the right intention in our heart. Personally, being born to grandparents and parents who are an ardent Buddhist spiritual practitioner, I also have an inherent belief in Karmic connection and destiny. If not for a Nurse, I do not see myself in any other profession in my life. This profession only makes people like me and others even more humane. I believe I am destined to be in my current place to facilitate fellow human beings who are not as fortunate as I am to overcome their daily health challenges and sufferings. Of course, as many tend to believe it as a perfect job for those who are not affluent enough but I am happy that I and my fellow nurses around the world are helping those in need with our hearts and hands as a charity. As for me, I have always recognized myself and my colleagues as superheroes every day, even though the WHO has declared 2020 as the year of the Nurses and Midwife.

 

Current situation of Congo 

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is a beautiful and vast country. Reaching here, I have learnt that this country has gone through so much of political turmoil, compounded by an occasional surge of epidemics such as Ebola, and now COVID-19. Although the cases have not been overwhelming now as compared to some parts of the world and this country has managed the epidemic quite well. Here at the UN clinic, we are fortunate that COVID-19 did not hit us by surprise. We are comparatively more prepared as many essential things like PPEs and isolations rooms were already in place due to the earlier Ebola cases. It is also wonderful to observe that MONUSCO is currently working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of DRC and the WHO. I feel this collaboration is moving smoothly so far.

 

Experience of working in a culturally diverse workplace as a Bhutanese

I consider myself a fortunate citizen born to two wonderful parents in a blessed country lead by our farsighted Kings. Wherever I travel, I carry with me our Bhutanese DNA. My very accommodating and adaptable nature to any kind of situations helps me get through hard times. I have never had issues working in a culturally diverse environment, for I grew up like many other Bhutanese listening to our Kings during our youthful days to work hard and respect one another. I always remind myself that I should never give up easily no matter how challenging life can be at times. I may choose to fail as an individual, but I should never fail my King and my country. This ingrained attitude in me helps me navigate myself in such a huge organization as the United Nations and continue learning every day.

What inspires me

The thought that I just have this one life to do whatever good I possibly can itself inspires me every day. Many times, I have felt death so close and it only pushed me to help those in need better. This profession has broadened my understanding to distinguish between rich and the poor, the arrogant and the humble, demanding ones and the thankful ones, genuine ones from the attention seekers after a brief interaction. There are times where I and my colleagues went around with an empty bowl to request a nearby rich patient to share with someone that has nothing to eat after a long strenuous labour pain. On other times, we had to tear the hospital’s bedsheets to wrap a newborn baby for couples who rushed to hospital in haste and unprepared. I and my fellow nurses have always picked up such babies born in difficult circumstances with our thoughts and prayers that someday they would become a useful citizen of a country somewhere. As a nurse, it inspires us each time we see people walk out of our hospital fully recovered and knowing that we did our part diligently. Working as a nurse and travelling around the world has given me the opportunity to live many lives in this one lifetime. I also acknowledge that it is also with continues prayers from my parents and siblings, love from my children and unwavering support from my husband that keeps me strong, grounded and always looking forward. Especially, during this COVID-19 pandemic, I have learnt that just as we enjoy good times, as a human being, we must equally accept the bad times gracefully. As a saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”, even living far away from my home country, I ardently gather inspiration from our His Majesty and look up to him with awe as he leads our country through this challenging times. Giving up is not an option after all and I must do my part to help my fellow human beings of DRC, Congo not only survive but thrive when the pandemic is over.

 

 

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