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Managua, Nicaragua
I'm participating in a month-long medical trip to Nicaragua, so I'd like to use this blog to document all of my experiences abroad and keep everyone at home in touch!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 19

We were supposed to have today off but last night we had asked Dr. Cerrato if we could go into the hospital early to see if anyone needed help from the night before. We arrived by seven to see a number of exhausted nurses and doctors but very few patients. One of the young females residents explained to us how hectic the night shift had been. With thousands of people celebrating and drinking in Masaya, a number of accidents and a few fights had broken out. More patients than normal were being wheeled in and out of the ER. The chaos has subsided, however, by seven.

Knowing that Sundays in the hospital are very slow, Nilda suggested we make alternate plans for the day. We decided to go out to lunch followed by a tour of the Masaya zoo. For only a .50 cent entry charge, we were able to see a wide array of animals- including pumas, monkeys, lions, parrots, and a number of others! We’ve had the evening to ourselves. As I sit here relaxing in my air conditioned hotel, I keep thinking back about all of the children I've seen brought into the world here.
As the mothers leave the public hospital with their newborns, the reality sinks into me. These children with their bright purple bodies and tiny beating hearts are no different from any American baby- yet they will grow up with nothing. Many will be raised in filth and poverty and live a life with very few opportunities. Within a few hours, most of them will go home to a house of metal scraps and a dirt floor. Flushing toilets, clean water, and food in their bellies each day will be amenities that only live within their wildest imaginations.

I'm realizing with new appreciation each day just how fortunate I am. I’ve grown up with numerous luxuries and an almost endless number of opportunities- opportunities that the majority of people in this world only dream of. Spending time with the people of Nicaragua is allowing me to better understand the kind of doctor and person I want to become. It has also forced me to realistically look at the numerous challenges we are faced with in the 21st century. I want to be a part of the solution to providing health care to the masses! I want to care for the under-privileged. I want to make a difference, however small, in the lives of those who don’t have what I have been provided with my entire life. I want to serve those from all walks of life, including the Hispanic people, and use my Spanish skills for a purpose beyond myself.

While seeing the conditions has been upsetting and disheartening at times, I've also been given a great amount of happiness and rejuvenation from my experiences here. I can't imagine a life outside of medicine and I'm so excited to pursue these dreams when I return to the States.

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