Volunteer Name: Kathleen Connery
Project Location: Xela, Guatemala
Program Dates: May 15th to 22nd 2015
Volunteered at: Puesto de Salud
1- How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country?
I felt most comfortable! I was connected always to my coordinator by both phone and text – she me feel that I could call anytime and I did! The support was very real – I requested a slight change in my daily routine between classes and clinic and they were very accommodating.
2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
Definitely the “minor” temblor/earthquake that occurred on my first morning (a 3-4 on the scale of Richter) according to my family! Definitely caught my attention!
3- What was most difficult to experience?
As a clinician… seeing the paucity of available health care for the indigent people and the dire poverty that many live in. In many homes there is no running water and hygiene is extremely compromised. I was able to spend half day with the nurses walking door to door finding children.
4- Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations)
> 6 yrs old – to give vitamins, measure growth, give meds against parasites etc – in area most impoverished. Any donations are appreciated – in the rural clinics especially… prenatal vitamins, thermometers, BP cuffs, gauze, suture kits, iodine. You name it – they can use it!!
5.1-Other things volunteers should know:
a. Bring your own toilet paper in your pocket (a few sheets – little packets) everywhere. There simply is none in most bathrooms… even the clinc!
b. Bring a lot of antiseptic hand gel – handwashing is NOT common – and there is a lot of dust here.
c. Bring wet wipes – you always wish you had more.
6- Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):
I would highly recommend A Broader View – they offer the real deal – an experience that will be like nothing you have ever done… or seen (at least for me). The support is strong and insistent. As a 62 year old clinician with little experience traveling abroad “solo” I can highly recommend the program. It´s work – but it´s work that is truly appreciated and the people are most grateful.
7- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security (e: host family, on-site, shared)
My host family was terrific – I felt right at home after 1-2 days. When you are a student or volunteer here, it is important not to take long showers, leave your lights on, or use a lot of electricity. The family does not have much – except a willingness to accommodate you and to help you feel at home.
8- What was your favorite memory of this trip?
Working with the babies and moms – they are so grateful – as a culture… very family centric and loving towards their children. Very gratifying work. The staff at my clinic was also incredible.
9- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
All of my questions were answered quickly and accurately – several of the plans for my site work and accommodations were changed at the last minute – but they were very responsive to all of my questions and concerns.
10 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Absolutely – especially if you have volunteers in medicine or volunteers who are not young adults