One Friday on September in park of Bom Jesus do Monte MEET group organized a special war simulation for Erasmus students from Portuguese course from Minho University. An objective of this simulation was to show an activity of Red Cross as a humanitarian organization during the armed conflict. Two group of students had an occasion no only to see the work of Red Cross volunteers but also had a feel for theirs role – in four points, “The Prisoners”, “The Armed”, “Humanitarian Assistance” and “The wounded” they had to actas a mediators, hostages or medical help.
At my point, “The wounded” students had four wounded persons with different kind of injury – broken arms, an internal hemorrhage, twisted ankle and one dead victim. Their task was to carry out the triage - decide which of them had to be transported to the hospital as a first. As an additional impediment information about the injured was in Portuguese and they could speak only in this language. It was supposed to be not only practice of Portuguese for the students but also demonstration of language barriers that Red Cross Volunteers sometimes have to deal with. The sounds of battle also made the scene and atmosphere more realistic.
Reactions of the students were different – some of them seemed lost or amused with this exercise, other approached the issue with seriousness and took some action. After some groups discussions (“Should we burry dead person, leave her or take to the hospital?”), small misunderstanding (“TENHO DOR DE BRAÇO!!! I think she has problem with stomach”) and our help (signs and gestures are universal language) victims finally were taken to the hospital. Once in wrong order, other time we were selected correctly.
What it is the most important thing, no matter I which order we found ourselves in hospital, students understand perfectly message of our point – only medical reasons matter in priority in order of treatment, not a race, sex, religion or nationality.After each points, together, students and volunteers, made summary of whole simulation during which we once again stressed basic rules of Red Cross and we cleared up students’ doubts. As far as I am concerned project was warmly received, both by students and volunteers, even though there are some aspects to improve.