Flash mob calls students to dance

CONGA LINE: As part of a flash mob medical students form two separate conga lines dancing and holding balloons from the East campus library lawns to the Great Hall.          Photo: Dana Da Silva

CONGA LINE: As part of a flash mob medical students form two separate conga lines dancing and holding balloons from the East campus library lawns to the Great Hall. Photo: Dana Da Silva

Wits friends of MSF held a MP3 directed flash mob Wednesday afternoon dancing from East all the way to West campus.

Two conga lines, separated into men and women, danced their way towards the Great Hall Wednesday afternoon to the rhythms of Gloria Estefan holding red and black balloons.

It was like a scene from a music video … except there wasn’t any music.

Medical students held an MP3-directed flash mob at lunch time this afternoon named The Calling.

For this type of flash mob the MP3 with the music and directions was released to the flash mobbers the day before. Students then had to download it onto a music playing device and find some earphones through which to listen. On the mp3 were directions as to where the students needed to go, do and dance to.

The students then danced around campus to music only they could hear therough their earphones.

“We decided to do a flash mob because we heard about this event called the MP3 experiment that they did in San-Francisco. They have thousands of people doing a silent flash mob, like this one. So we were inspired by that and decided to do our own version,” said organiser Katherine Burgess.

Some of the music that they listened along the way was Psy’s Gangnam style, Tightrope by Walk the Moon and Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

This mp3 coordinated mob was put together by the Wits friends of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and was intended to raise awareness of the MSF branch on medical campus.

Students were also given a variety of props that they used throughout the event. Bubbles, plastic flowers and water guns were some of items given to them along the way.

That spectators could not hear the music made the event more interesting. “I felt like we were in our own portal, like no else knew what the hell you were listening to,” said Yoshin Barnabas, 3rd year Medicine.

Ferini Dayal, MBBCH student, said that this made it seem like a silent rave movie.

The medical students believed that this flash mob helped main campus students to see them in a different light. “It’s a good opportunity to show everyone else that medical students are capable of being a little bit more eccentric than people think we are,” said Barnabas.

“Everybody thought we were a bunch of weirdos,” said Saira Carim, MBBCH student. This flash mob may have seemed strange to those who were not participating, but overall students agreed that it had been an incredible experience.

Medecins Sans Frontieres workers share their experiences

STORY TELLING: (left to right) Ainsile Mclartly, Claire Waterhouse, Fezile Kanju, Sbu Maseko, Brett Sandler and Dan Sermand share their stories while working at MSF.

STORYTELLING: (left to right) Ainsile Mclartly, Claire Waterhouse, Fezile Kanju, Sbu Maseko, Brett Sandler and Dan Sermand share their stories while working at MSF.

Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF, came together for a “Bed-time stories” evening to share their work experiences.

Wits students were treated to first-hand testimonies from Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)/Doctors without borders field workers at the Wits Medical School campus on Monday.

“Bed-time stories”, an event hosted by Wits Friends of MSF and the Nursing Students Council brought together workers who shared their personal experiences of working for MSF.

Crazy and Unpredictable

Many of the workers confessed that the unpredictability of their work is one of the main reasons they choose to work for MSF.

“You never know what a situation will throw at you, that’s half of the excitement and half of the fun,” said Claire Waterhouse,  a project administrator for MSF who just returned from Liberia.

Even though field workers are trained to deal with different situations you can’t be prepared well enough and can’t predict what will happen, said Waterhouse.

Ainsile Mclartly, a field nurse who recently returned from Afghanistan, said that she loved the craziness, adventure and unpredictability of her job.

Mclartly said that often MSF workers are short of necessary medical equipment which forces them to think creatively and improvise in using what is available for medical procedures.

Conflict Zones

Working for MSF can also be dangerous as field workers are sometimes sent to conflict areas.

“Security definitely plays a role”, said Mclartly.

While in these zones Waterhouse said that, “They [MSF] do a good job of keeping you safe and secure the whole time”.

“There is no such thing as a safe environment”, said Dan Sermand, previous head of mission and field HR (human resources) recruiter for the MSF Braamfontein office.

To be able to work in such places you need to be neutral and impartial when interacting with both sides. “That is your bullet proof jacket,” said Sermand.