Thursday ended with a nice dinner at El Viejo Ranchito, a local restaurant a few miles from where we are staying, and a late-evening medical seminar. Dr. Cerrato took our whole group out to eat together so that we could get better acquainted with one another. We are all either 3rd, 4th, or graduated pre-med or pre-PA students. We all have so much in common and are getting along very well. We will eat as a group each night in order to relax and discuss our day. Team work is going to be essential while we are in the clinics, and I have no doubt this group will work efficiently and effectively together.
Friday morning began once again at seven with a large cup of coffee, but this time it was accompanied by fried plantains and black beans. At first glance, I wasn’t sure if my American-palate would like this more traditional Nicaraguan dish. Although it was quite different from our definition of breakfast in the US, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste.
After breakfast we loaded up the van and headed toward La Concha, a 3,000-person community in the outskirts of Masaya. We split up in order to cover more ground. I went door-to-door with a few of the other students to take health/sanitation surveys and to invite the sick to the clinic. Poverty in La Concha is endemic. I have never felt more grateful for the numerous amenities I am blessed with in the US. When I complain about trivial things in my life, I want to remember the tattered clothes of the smiling Nicaraguan children, their toothless mothers, and the starving animals lining the roads. I realized today I’ve taken from granted so many of the things I have- whether it is clothes, food, clean water, or flushing toilets.
Today made me so excited for our first day in the clinic tomorrow. We will be serving this community for the next three days and our goal is to treat at least 30 patients a day. We want to provide a high quality of care while also seeing as many people as we can. I loved visiting the families and talking with them about their households and their health. I was nervous I would suffer from several miscommunications today, but they weren’t nearly as common as I thought they’d be. Being able to effectively communicate with the families was extremely rewarding. When I return to the US, I’d like to consider finding a position as some sort of medical translator. I have so much to learn before then, though.
This afternoon before dinner we will finish up our pre-clinic training with basic pharmacy seminars and a review video on the techniques of conducting general physical exams and interviews with patients.