Day 7: Waffles, Sami, and Shopping!

Today we wrapped up our first week in Oslo, Norway by starting our day at Lovisenberg Omsorg+ which is a community for people age 65 and older.  We got right to work, with some of us donning an apron and heading to the kitchen to make traditional Norwegian waffles, while other students spent time with community member playing games, talking and shopping in a pop-up clothing shop.  In a recent post, you might recall an Omsorg+ community individual who sang a traditional Sami song on our last trip to Omsorg+. Today, he shared more information about the Sami, who are part of the indigenous population here in Norway. He showed us his traditional Sami “four winds” hat which is blue and has 4 points, each representing a different corner of the earth (the earliest Sami believed the earth to be square). The hat is filled with bird feathers and the outer brim is lined with wolf fur to aid in insulation. He offered his Sami flag to our group to take back to the United States.

The traditional Four Winds hat

Our Sami educator and myself with the Four Winds hat and the traditional Sami flag

We LOVE our Norwegian waffles!

Our hard at work chef nurses passing out traditional waffles to the residents!


The afternoon was filled with key informants who work in the community supporting vulnerable populations such as people living with HIV and AIDS as well as those involved in sex trafficking and prostitution. We learned that in Norway there are approximately 4,300 people living with HIV or AIDS  of which 50% are above age 50 years, and 40% are considered migrants.  Even there is a low percentage of people in this population, there are resources offered. For example,  Krikens Bymisjon center provides safe housing for those newly diagnosed with HIV. I found this to be one of the most informative pieces of information comparing PrEP availability in Norway versus the US. PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis and is used proactively to reduce the likelihood of a person contracting HIV in the event of an exposure. More information on PrEP and its usefulness can be found at the CDC website: ( ). In Norway PrEP is available to all persons within the “risk zone” for free much like birth control in Norway; meanwhile in the US PrEP is often hard to afford, often costing upwards of $1,700.00 a month . While co-pay and supplemental coverage programs exist in the  US, they are not well known or shared with the population. This observation corresponds with the SDGS 10: reduced inequalities, as it reduces the barrier of care to those at risk for HIV infection through easier access to PrEP. Additionally, this itself promotes SDGS 3: good health and well-being; HIV testing is often a very anxiety provoking process, with the virus itself and the social stigma associated with the virusoften negatively impacting those living with HIV. By providing access to preventative medication less individuals are at risk for physiological or emotional distress related to HIV.

Our next key informant was through the Oslo Municipality’s service center via a video interview about those involved with sex trafficking and prostitution. The interview discussed current and former sex workers of all genders or sexual orientations and how they can be assisted with getting jobs other than prostitution, accessing food, education, and other funding. Typically, a person first comes to the center for STI testing or reproductive services and after a few visits they regularly come for a range in services from allergies to mental health services. Many individuals using this center have a migrant background. National policies may impact the level of resources available.

Heading into the weekend, some plan to head out of Oslo and into Bergen while others will be staying in Oslo to further immerse themselves in what the city has to offer!

Ha en fin helg!