February 24, 2010

Isla Chira

We began the trip to Isla Chira monday morning. A little while into the trip, we stopped by a beach for lunch.

We hopped back in the van and continued on our trip.  This time, we took a boat.

Here are a couple of photos from the boat tour a few hours before we departed back for the mainland.  I still find it hard to believe, but there are animals that live in places other than zoos.

Sukhi Receives a Present from Monte Verde

The Road of Life

We may encounter a lot of obstacles on the road of life that may lead us away from our goals. Leadership, intelligence, responsibility, and determination are just a few of the essentials needed to keep ourselves on track.  Last week in Alajuelita we demonstrated just that to a group of children, as they followed the lives of four childhood friends.  They each had their own goals in life, but would they make it or succomb to temptation?

The four friends:

Roberto gets tempted by the drogas:

 The audience sits in stunned silence as they behold the masterpiece unfolding before their very eyes:
After the performance, children received bracelets enscribed with the tenets of the road of life. 
Setting goals in life from an early age will give you the direction you need.  I am biased towards this person's goal:

February 20, 2010

Two weeks ago we descended from the mountains to accompany a health campaign in Trujillo´s newest barrio... La Esperanza. It is what amounts to a shanty town, an area of sand at the edge of the city where poor people began to put up makeshift housing 2 years ago. It has grown incredibly, yet still lacks running water and electricity. Water has been promised them for July of this year, but you never know. We´re on Peru time. I hope it´s soon, though, because sickness is rampant and the area is dangerous, filling the ER with gunshot wounds on the weekends (something I have seen first-hand). Here, Tyler is using his doctor skills to check out the kids that came.
It never rains in Trujillo... or so we were told! And so everyone thought. El NiƱo has done crazy things with the weather here and we had to put tarps on the roof to keep the rain from ruining our work. It was quite the process!
These kids are waiting for their parents to move their houses so that the bulldozer que level out the hill upon which their house resided. Imagine living on the side of a hill of sand! I was just impressed that a bulldozer had finally come to help out!
A typical street in La Esperanza.

Here´s the health campaign we helped out at..... starring Tyler and his star ;)

February 18, 2010

The Ballad of Sukhi Bains

Alright, so last weekend we went to Monte Verde for some fun.  One of the activities we've heard about that we "must" do was ziplining.  I did not know exactly what ziplining was before coming to Costa Rica, so for the uninitiated, ziplining is basically a way of traveling from tree to tree via a series of wires strung high off the ground.  The adventure starts when you strap on the harness, attach the carbiners to the zipline, and let gravity do the work as you plunge into the cool mist.  Saturday morning we eagerly put on some warm clothes and took the bus to the cloud forest where the ziplines are located.  It's called a cloud forest because the elevation is so high that the forest is enveloped in clouds year-round.  The activity didn't go by that smoothly, however.  Boramee explains:

With a smile on her face and bravery in her eyes, Sukhi was then transported to Clinica Biblica in San Jose, one of the top hospitals in Central America.  Surgery was required to fix her leg.  After rating her pain on the happy face scale, she was transported to the OR.

 The surgery was successful.  The nurses celebrated with a feast of a sandwich and mac & cheese served with a side of baby food.
The next day, other members of the team visited the Bains as she recovered.  It was my birthday that day and it was a great present to see that my friend was OK.

Coming soon:  Monte Verde gives Sukhi a present.

Jazmin Clinic

For the past week or so we have been stationed at a clinic in a clinic in Jazmin.  It's a small area that is in strong need for health care.  We set up shop in an empty building and serve the patients during the first part of the day.  We set up all the necessities.  There's an area for registration, a doctor's office, a pharmacy, and a place for kids to play.

Parasitos & Classe de Baile

There are some events from last week I haven´t posted about.  First, was a parasite lecture.  Problems with parasites are more prevalent here in Costa Rica than in the states.  Albendazol is an amazing drug.  After a lecture, we even got to see some specimens in class.
When we´re not in the clinic, we also like to have fun.  One of the activities we´ve been doing is dance class.  We´ve been learning salsa, merengue, cha cha cha, swing, etc.  We get 4 hours of lessons each week.  Is it awesome?


Even in Spanish class, we get down.  Sorry for the bad dancing, guys.  We were taught to make faces when we do turns.  I assure you I am king of the dance floor now(or maybe not).    But for this video, you may want to cover your eyes.

February 15, 2010

diabetes among Latinos

Hi all! Emily here again. I just got back from the Imlay City Migrant Clinic, where today we talked a lot about diabetes among Latinos in the United States. The director of the clinic told me that 1 in 10 Latinos in the United States has diabetes! Today I brought some bilingual literature to pass out to our migrant worker patients about this extremely serious disease.
Something I love about the Imlay clinic is that in addition to having bilingual staff and Spanish-language health literature, there are more Latino staffmembers than non-Latinos working here. Cultural understanding is so important to providing quality care to our migrant worker patients. Dr. Carter, seated in the photograph below, is the sole physician at the Imlay Clinic. She is a gringa like myself and has never lived in Latin America, but she speaks a whole lot of Spanish just having learned it from her patients. I have learned plenty of vocab from her as well!
Standing behind Dr. Carter in this photo are Esther and Kay, the office translator and one of our nurses respectively. Everybody here is so kind--I feel very lucky to work with them.

The worst part about working at a migrant clinic is not being able to afford to treat the patients as we know they should be. We had a woman tonight who needs $75 compression stockings and a sleep study and CPAP machine, and she can't afford any of those. Someone else needed physical therapy for tendinitis, but she can't afford that either. How lucky those of us are who have health insurance, and how sad and unfair for the people who do not!

A Weekend in Costa Rica

We went to a couple of volcanoes over the weekend.  Lots of fun.  Videos coming soon, including some dancing action.

Sometimes, natural beauty can be ruined by tourism.
Other times, natural beauty is left untouched.
We saw a few animals...
...and acted like animals ourselves.
Don't forget the plants and waterfalls.
Even the cows too.

February 14, 2010

El Salvador


What a great week! This week we did a first aid charla, a dental health charla, door to door vaccinations, and post-partum visits. The events were all well received and very fun to organize.

To wrap up the week, we were invited to a local festival of patron saints in the community. It was a fair with a ferris wheel and everything. We wore sashes and were the prize givers for the winners of a unique event involving fast horses, a very large chopstick, and a fishing line. It was nice to see another side of the community and to participate in the celebration.

We look forward to another exciting week here in El Salvador!

Brandee, Donna, Emily, Nisha, Shawna, and Shirley

Up in the Mountains- Peru

Judith and the crew of Peruvian medical students sift through stacks of medical charts. We are doing a retrospective study on malnutrition, looking at the age, height, and weight of children less than 5 years old.

As Dr. Schnuth commented to me, the clouds are low! Or, depending on your perspective, you could say that we´re just really high up! Many days we could see the clouds hanging in the valleys much lower than where we are now at the top!!! There´s no experience similar to walking through a cloud, as it spits rain in your face ;)

Here is another family we interviewed from La Florida. You can see the adobe house in the background. And the layers of clothing are necessary, as it´s equally cold inside as outside.... especially when in the clouds and at night! Brrrrrrr.......

On a beautifully sunny day this is a normal scene.... impresionante!

Sometimes we had to hide from the rain. Even with umbrellas the wind could easily soak you from the side, especially as you ascend the mountains up serious inclines! We would just camp out and chat until the floodgates again closed :)

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