Monthly Archive for May, 2010

Bonjour from Yaounde, Cameroon!

May 27th, 2010

This place is absolutely nuts! Crazy drivers, a different language, and hot weather.

On Wednesday at 12:55pm (EST) I left Burlington, Vermont and on Thursday I have arrived in Yaounde, Cameroon at 7:40pm (WAT). I arrived in the dark so I didn’t have much of an introduction.

I suppose the realization that I was going to Africa hit me when I was in line boarding the plane from Zurich to Douala and then Yaounde. That’s when I realize that for the first time in my life, I was going to be in the minority. At first I must admit that I was a little nervous, but eventually I got my head around it and have no problem with it. It truly was a shock though – when I think about it, the Czech Republic is more white than Vermont, and Vermont is one of the whitest in the union with something close to 98% Caucasian.

Flying from Europe across the Mediterranean Sea and then across the Sahara desert was quite amazing. The pictures are a bird’s eye view of the Algerian Sahara, Niger’s desert to grassland transition, and finally, the complete forestation of Nigeria and Cameroon. Honestly when we were landing first in Douala, Cameroon, I thought we were touching down in the middle of the Amazon. I sat on the left side of the plane so I had no view of the metropolitan city that holds several million people, just a glimpse of riverside shacks next to the runway.

Continue reading ‘Bonjour from Yaounde, Cameroon!’

In Cameroon

Mike has arrived to Cameroon, safe and sound, on Thursday evening local time. On Friday they left for the first mission of his trip, he was only able to make a very short phone call, he should be able to get online sometime next week and keep everyone up-to-date.

Thanks for reading, stay in touch.


Ready to Go

So I took one more Vermont hike …

On the top of Mt Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak.

… graduated …

UVM graduation

… gathered me some important supplies …

No trip is complete without foot powder ...

… and underwent a beautification process.

Looking sharp is half of the success.

I am now ready to go to Cameroon.

I want to thank all of you who have contributed to the fundraising campaign for Dr. Georges medical missions. Perhaps I set the goal too high, but we have still raised a ton of money guaranteed to make a real difference in the lives of people who need it.

In a few days I hope to report right here on how your money is being spent. Stay tuned and stay in touch!

Man on a Mission in Essex Reporter

Dr. Georges makes the cover of Essex Reporter!

My hometown paper published a really nice story about my mission.

Huge thanks to Phyl Newbeck, she wrote amazingly accurate and detailed column, it makes my trip sound a lot more important and bigger than it is.

Essex Junction resident Mike Ursiny is a man on a mission; a medical mission, that is.  Ursiny, a senior at UVM’s College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences will spend part of his summer on a medical mission in Africa.

Born in the Czech Republic, Ursiny moved to Essex Junction at the age of three.  A three-sport athlete at Essex High School, he is about to graduate UVM with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Pre-Medical Studies. As he mulls over his career options – he is interested in both medicine and bio-engineering – Ursiny decided to spend some time getting hands-on medical experience while helping those less fortunate.

Crop of the cover page. Click to embiggen.

A friend of his father told Ursiny about Dr. Georges Bwelle, a surgeon operating in Cameroon, a nation of roughly 20 million people on the west coast of Africa.  During the week, Bwelle works out of a hospital in Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital city, but every weekend during the dry season, he and his volunteers head out to the poorest regions of the country where he sets up temporary clinics. Bwelle does not have the money to solicit volunteers, but he certainly welcomes them and is happy to have Ursiny spend a month with him in Cameroon.

Ursiny is excited about the opportunity, noting that he will get more hands on experience than he might in the United States. Additionally, although he has travelled widely, both “comfort travel” (as he calls it), and bicycling and backpacking trips, his exposure has been limited to first world countries such as Austria, France, Germany and Italy. This will be his first time venturing to a developing nation.

Thanks to my neighbors, friends and other Essex Reporter readers for their best wishes and contributions to the cause. It sounds like Reporter is more popular than I thought.

You can read the full article here, I hope they’ll keep it there for some time.