Volunteering with a South African charity.

Today, after getting monumentally lost trying to find this place, I met the OT who works at Bethesda, a charity hospice, inpatient unit and children’s home in George, South Africa. She took me around and introduced me to some of the staff, patients and projects before sitting me down and telling me what Bethesda needed and could offer me.

Let me first just tell you about a project they’re currently trying to complete but don’t have the funding for. No one has asked me to tell you, just so you know, but I thought it was a great idea. They can care for up to 45 children, orphans or vulnerable, and they currently house most of these children in a dormitory-style old building. Their plan is to move these children into houses with ‘parents’, up to about 10 children per house. The aim of this is to give the children a sense of belonging within a ‘family’, and it’ll mean that the children almost have their own room, only having to share one room between 2-3 children. So far, they have completed two houses. A third is almost completed, but they ran out of funds. I don’t know if anyone feels inclined to support Bethesda, but if you are, you can find out more about them here and donate here. If you’re in South Africa, they would really appreciate clothes, toiletries, etc. for their patients as well; just scroll down to the wishlist. I’m going to take some old clothes of my own for the children’s home.

Now, the plan for my volunteering?

I love babies. The more I think about it, the more I’d love to work with babies, maybe in a NICU. So I was very happy to assure the OT that I’d work with the babies in the inpatient unit. I’ve also asked to work with the OT assistant when she works with the inpatient adults, as I have no experience with people with stroke, HIV/AIDS, cancer, etc. I’d really like to have some experience with rehabilitation and palliative care. This is me being proactive!

So my first official day is Monday, and I have to again find this place by 8:30am. Google Maps was no help this morning!

Reviewing basic child development using Evernote Peek.

In preparation for my first day of volunteering on Thursday, I’m spending this afternoon reviewing child development (milestones, normal behaviour, etc.), while also putting Evernote’s iPad studying app, Evernote Peek, to the test.

Last year, I bought ‘Child development: An illustrated guide – 2nd Edition (Birth to 16 years)‘ by Carolyn Meggitt (Amazon US). A third edition was recently published (June 15, 2012) covering up to 19 years, but the two UK reviewers have both said that while the content is good, the publishers messed up the printing, and the sheer volume of printing errors is distracting. Therefore, I’ll be sticking with my 2nd edition for the time being!

A brief overview of how to use Evernote Peek as a study tool.

My strategy is to go through each chapter and create questions covering everything important. To do this, I’ve created a notebook in Evernote titled ‘Child Development’. Each question will be a new note, with the question in the subject line and the answer and any supporting information in the body. Once finished, I can then download the notebook into Evernote Peek and go through the questions. Any answers I get correct, I can mark as such. Any I get incorrect, again, I mark as wrong. Once I’ve gone through all the questions, I can choose to review the notebook again as a whole, or review only the incorrect answers. Ultimately, the goal is to get all questions correct.

Here are a few photos to show you! Bear in mind that these are screenshots using the virtual Smart Cover if you don’t have one.

What I like about Evernote Peek.

  • You can have pictures in the answer section.
  • If you don’t have a real Smart Cover, you can use a virtual cover.
  • You can re-download notebooks if you make a change to the questions or answers. Simply hold down on the notebook and wait for the options of ‘Delete Notebook’ and ‘Re-Download’ to appear.
  • It’s a paperless way to make flashcards in a rather sleek format.

What I don’t like about Evernote Peek.

  • Questions or clues need to be short enough to fit on one line in a fairly large font. I don’t understand why they can’t fit two lines in there if necessary in a smaller font, as like I said, the font is fairly large.
  • You need to do the questions and answers in a separate application, which is ok if you already have the notebook set up. However, if you want to create a new notebook (new set of questions), you’ll need to use the Evernote web application or desktop applications on your computer.
  • The application is only available on the iPad, thought I’m sure they could do something similar with the virtual cover on other devices, tablet or smartphone.



Yesterday was my last day of lectures for the academic year. Actually, it was my last day of lectures for the year, as come September 5th, I’ll be going straight to a three-month placement, lasting until December 9th. The last day of lectures involved terrifying us all with what is expected of us in this final placement as well as telling us how to prepare for┬ájob-hunting, which is what we’d be doing this time in a year!

This all means that today I technically started my summer holiday, but it doesn’t really feel like a holiday. For a start, I have so many projects I want to work on, from this and my online log of journal articles and books I’ve read, to learning HTML, Italian and knitting, to passing by driving test. Oh yeah, and Flan and I are on a special diet for my benefit for the month so I can lose some weight (half of which will probably be put back on when we go to Verona on June 30th). On top of all that, I also hope to do some more nursery work, as I have to buy birthday presents for both Flan and my brother this month, as well as get a bit of spending money together for Verona!

So expect some more blog posts and hopefully a link to my reading log site using Drupal Gardens!