VAVA’U, Tonga – “I was looking for opportunities to combine my two passions – travel and work – and World Vets and Pacific Partnership has certainly achieved that.”
Caitlin Eisinga is a registered veterinary technician from Groomsby, Ontario, Canada who is currently on the adventure of a lifetime, visiting Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Federated States of Micronesia for Pacific Partnership 2011.
Pacific Partnership is an annual humanitarian aid mission led by the United States Navy and conducted in conjunction with partner and host nations.
Caitlin graduated from Georgian College in Ontario, Canada in 2009 and started working in an emergency hospital where she most commonly treated animals after they were hit by cars or were suffering from pancreatitis, especially after Thanksgiving.
Now, she’s assisting with surgery on the balcony of a local residence, overlooking the crystal clear waters of Tonga thanks to her decision to join World Vets. In a typical day she and her fellow veterinarians and veterinary technicians might be conducting de-sexing surgeries on the local pets, removing tumors from dogs or de-worming a pig.
World Vets is an American based non-profit organization devoted to international aid for all animals. World Vets volunteers work in 25 different countries providing information exchanges, basic healthcare for animals, and disaster response.
Volunteers typically sign up for 2 week trips, however Caitlin decided to sign up for the entire four-month deployment of Pacific Partnership starting and ending in San Diego.
She’s not new to traveling but has never been so far south of the Equator before and certainly never via a United States Navy ship.
The lead ship for Pacific Partnership is amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland (LPD 7). Onboard the ship are close to 700 people from all four branches of the U.S. military, the Australian Defence Force, the New Zealand Defence Force and a handful of non-government civilian volunteers. Most people would be fazed at finding themselves suddenly surrounded by this many people in extremely close quarters and following a military routine each day but not 23-year old Caitlin.
“I love it onboard the ship – it hasn’t been too bad at all. I think I came in with the appropriate expectations, so it has been easy to fit in,” said Caitlin.
To keep up with Caitlin’s future experiences, follow her blog at caitlineisinga.tumblr.com.
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