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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!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 23

We spent the majority of the day setting up and working at a health fair in Veracruz, a small community about 20 minutes outside of Masaya. We began the morning at the hospital to pack up supplies in a government truck. Room inside was limited so the four of us and Dr. Cerrato opted to ride in the bed of the truck. Unlike the US where such actions will leave you with a hefty fine, it is perfectly legal here as long as passengers aren't sitting around the edges or allowing their limbs to hang out. It was a very hot, humid day and the air blowing on our faces felt refreshing.
We set up the clinic inside one of the wealthier homes in Veracruz with a group of nurses working for the government. Around 30 people were waiting outside as we unpacked the truck. In front of the home we set up two tables for taking blood pressure, conducting glucose and HIV tests, and giving vaccinations to children. Many of the little girls came up to us unprompted to say hi. We were there best friends until they realized they were there to get shots. We rotated duties throughout the day. We had several handouts to help us teach about preventative medicine, sanitation, and symptoms/treatment of common diseases. We started to get overwhelmed by the late morning. More people were in line for the glucose tests than we could handle at one time.
In the afternoon I helped the doctor inside with PAP smears. The majority of the women were having one done for the first time. The youngest girl we saw was 16. Part of the patient survey asked for the number of past pregnancies. She had an 18 month-old daughter. The cramped room was dark and a small lamp was set up at the foot of the table that had stirrups attached to it. It was hard for of us to imagine having a similar experience with a gynecologist. Overall it was a great day.
We started packing up around three and then headed to a late lunch. We had a delicious meal of chicken, rice with beans, plantain chips, and a mysterious green veggie with cheese. It is pouring rain and dark already here. It will be odd when I arrive in the States next week to bright and sunny skies until almost 9 PM. Hard to believe this trip is coming to an end soon! I'm not sure how I feel about it. I think part of me will be ready to get back to see families and friends as well as begin preparing for the MCAT. Another part of me would love to stay in Nica for awhile longer. Tomorrow we are headed back to the hospital.

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