I finished my practicum this past week with the Water Institute at UNC, and it is hard to believe that this work and the summer have passed so quickly! I am grateful to my preceptor Nikki Behnke for her guidance and support, and the Water Institute for having me on as a research assistant.
Over the past couple months, I have made an annotated inventory of WASH guidelines for humanitarian settings, identified and summarized publications about environmental health in healthcare facilities, and mapped out current research in humanitarian settings. I learned a great deal about water and sanitation, challenges and interventions in refugee camps, and the intersectional needs of women, children and people with disabilities living in these settings. Forced migration due to conflict, famine and climate change will continue to get worse in the coming years, and providing adequate water and sanitation for displaced persons and refugees is paramount. I am glad I could support the Water Institute this summer while they continue to work towards tackling these issues.
Working from home has been a challenge, but has taught me about myself and what I need to thrive as a student and as a human being. Being in nature, engaging in self-reflection and seeing my friends (6 feet away or on FaceTime) have sustained me these past few months. I was even able to take a trip to the mountains with my family, which allowed me to recharge. I was looking forward to being in a new setting this summer, but it has been grounding to be in my hometown with my family and enjoy what I love about North Carolina.