For my STEP project, I went on a medical/public health brigades trip to Nicaragua with Global Brigades, a campus organization. The trip took place from May 12-20, 2015 in Estelí, Nicaragua. During the first 3 days of the medical brigade, members from the El Naranjo community were provided doctor/dentist consultations, gynecology clinics, medicine, and health education workshops. The next 3 days consisted of fixing up 3 of the homes in their community with putting cement down on their floors and building outdoor latrines and showers.
This Global Brigade in Nicaragua was in an area where family members survive on less than $2 per day and where medical and economic needs are severely neglected. Additionally, resources for basic services are low, including lack of clean water and public health- related infrastructure. Nicaragua was selected based on their high need for services in their rural areas, strong on-the ground partnerships for sustainability, how accessible it is at transporting groups, providing a place to stay, and food and safety.
While on the trip I learned valuable things that I could take with me for a lifetime. I learned how to take vitals of patients, which was really cool. I was able to work with some very talented physician’s and learn things from them such as what medicine they would prescribe for certain symptoms. As a result of being in a Spanish speaking country I picked up on some more Spanish while there, too.
My favorite part of the experience was being able to be so hands-on with the patients such as taking vitals of the patients and filling prescriptions for medicine. I also loved being able to shadow the phenomenal doctors that helped with the trip. The Charla (or educational workshops) was also one of my favorite part of the trip because I got to interact with the children and teach them the importance of hygiene. Learning a little about the Nicaraguan culture and seeing how the people from the El Naranjo community were so grateful by just a week’s work form us was priceless. Getting to know a group of people who were from Ohio State and share similar goals as me was also a great part of the experience.
This trip impacted my academic, personal and life goals because before this trip I’ve never been out the country and it was be my first time in a clinical setting, which I need to get accustomed to being around since I plan on pursuing a physicians assistant program following my undergraduate studies.