After a few hours of rest from the 16 and a half hour flight from Newark to Hong Kong, our group gathered at the sparkling lobby of Hong Kong Metropolis Hotel for the start of our first day of GBS program implementation.
Our teaching assistant Alex Kee escorted us through underground walkways, escalators, and a bridge over a busy highway to the campus of Hong Kong Poly University – the university is an urban campus like Penn. It has some impressive architecture, unique among them is a high-rise building that’s shaped like a cruise ship – perhaps a tribute to the city as a major harbor and top destination for tourists from all over the world.
Alex took us to one of the many cafeterias on campus for breakfast. A video wall displayed breakfast offerings which had names like “Green Everyday,” “Around the World,” “Pasta Kitchen,” “Hot Oven,” “Breakfast in Chinese Style.” However despite the interesting names, the food was actually what we normally find in the US – eggs, toast, chicken, and ham in a hot broth mixed with macaroni elbow pasta or very thin noodle.
After breakfast, we were led to Rm. Y512 also known as Ms. Sheila S. W Lee classroom in Lee Shan Kee Building. The classroom is very modern and fairly large with rows of table that sits about eighty five. As we settled into our chairs, other students and several adults also walked in and soon enough the room was almost full.
In the classroom, I was happy to finally meet Prof. M S Wong – we’ve been corresponding by email since last Fall and Spring semesters to plan and facilitate the GBS program. M S introduced Frank Yin, who is a retired engineering professor from Washington University in Saint Louis. He accompanied eight Wash. U. students who are participating in the program as well.
Besides Penn and Wash. U. students, there are also several Hong Kong Poly students and students from Spain for whom this program is part of their internship.
The morning session orientation was conducted by M S. He welcomed the everyone and expressed his joy to be working with us, he spent some time describing what the expectations are and what he hopes the out come will be for our students and the pediatric patients we’ll be working with in mainland China.
After his remarks which was concluded with a video, he introduced the group leaders and asked the students to mix around and find members of their group. The four groups, A, B, C, and D are led by a faculty or staff of PolyU.
We resumed our orientation after lunch and Aron took the lead in discussing lower limb orthotic management of children with cerebral palsy. This presentation was at the heart of why we are here – to measure, fabricate and fit children in need of these devices for better movement. To achieve our goal, all participants must be generously patient but precise in working with the kids.
Some members of each team’s job will be to distract and play with the children while they are being measured, while others will cut the material and bring it up to flexibility in a special heating machine. Then the material is wrapped around the leg and held for two minutes for it to harden and cast.
The material then goes into the machine
It is heated until flexible at 65 degrees F
This is a very fascinating process, and our students took turns practicing the art and science of casting orthotics on team members and also on themselves by others.
Emily Pugh getting casted with a smile!
Final product and a happy Emily with her “foot”
Lia Lombardi’s turn…..
Jonathan Muruako’s turn…..
Nicholas Stainsen working on Jonathan’s cast…..
Overall, the afternoon session was a useful hands-on experience for our students, and I am confident they’ll apply this knowledge when we go to China to work with pediatric patients.
For dinner, we took the metro
(interesting sitting pattern, most passengers stand in the middle while the seats are on the side) to a small restaurant called Tim Ho Wan – a 2016 Mechelin recommended spot, and yes it was authentic and very good.
M S gave us day 2 off because of repairs to their lab, so we’ll use the day to do cultural events and sight seeing in Hong Kong. We travel to main land China on Wednesday.
Overall, our first day here has been very busy and productive. Our students will contribute to this blog so you can see what they are experiencing in their own words – very good students, I’m glad they are here to learn and serve.