Friday, August 15, 2014

Hello everyone! 

My experience on this Presidents Without Borders trip completely exceeded my expectations. Every day I was immensely impressed in everyone's (doctors, patients, and volunteers) patience, kindness, and understanding. This was my first time visiting a Spanish-speaking country and I was very excited to finally utilize my Spanish skills with native speakers.  I quickly found out I wasn't as good as I thought I was, but everyone was willing to help me understand, even help me increase my vocabulary! By the end of the week I was much more confident speaking in Spanish. 
Being a pre-health student interested in practicing medicine in underserved areas/populations,  I was able to gain valuable insight into the common struggles and diseases of those types of patients as I may encounter in the future as  I worked alongside the doctors in the clinics.  Each day brought new challenges, and even greater rewards as the patients thanked us all from the bottom of their hearts for the simple health care we were able to provide for them. This trip further inspired me to pursue a career in medicine and I made memories with my fellow volunteers I will never ever forget! 

Lindsey Dove 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Hello, Everyone
I had the great opportunity to accompany our large group of W& J students from PWB to Merida, Mexico. Thank you Joe W. for making this happen, you did a wonderful job!  It was my first mission trip and I had absolutely no spanish speaking or reading skills.   (I do now)
First of all, let me say how very proud of and optimistic I am for our next generation of "care-givers."
Everyone put forth a great effort to give the best care they could manage and it was amazing to watch!
We had 8 Hispanic doctors, dentists, a massage therapist and a nurse to show us how to treat and manage the care for the people in the villages for 5 days.  They set a great example of how important their skills and knowledge were to the people of Mexico.  They also set an example of how to be happy and have fun doing the work they love.  I observed that with very little economically, the people in the countryside of Merida were very happy and loving and I came to realize that we as Americans have so much more but seem to find reasons to complain and be unhappy.  I feel that this was an important and valuable lesson or (gift) that I brought back with me from the trip and I will remember those patient faces waiting for treatment in the hot, hot, hot (did I mention how hot it was yet?) heat and never once complained and were extremely grateful for our care.
There were so many outstanding memories and I look forward to running into my students (friends) this year on campus and just laughing and sharing our funny and memorable events and experiences.
I hope you all have a good year and that you share your memories with us all.
"dios the bendiga" (God Bless You all!)
Donna Hunter, RN
PS: # Juan Carlos  # Piñata for Chris # morning devotions # 7 women in 1 bedroom with 1 bathroom :-/  #air mattresses  #long van rides   # hammocks # regalia # Marshall aka Jesus # whole fried fish for lunch  # harchata  # pink flamingos # habanero sauce to the eye # bicycle rides # "coconut shack" (yum) # sweet church ladies who cooked for us # trips to farmacia  # cenotés   # baby alligator? # UNO # exhausted and dehydrated, but grateful for the experience # life changing # ;D

Working as a Translator in Merida

Hey guys! So during the PWB 2014 trip to Merida, Mexico I had the opportunity to work as a translator and checking patients in for the first couple of days of the trip. Even though it is not as medically-oriented, I learned a ton. I have a decent knowledge of Spanish, but I had to re-learn my alphabet fast, as I spelled out patients names. Plus, everyone had tons of questions or they didn't know which doctor they needed to see, so I learned medical terminology in Spanish as well. One of my favorite memories from this position was sitting in one of the pueblos surrounded by a group of old women who were waiting to be called, and just talking with them. These women were older and were sharing their life stories with me as well as giving advice all in Spanish. I was just impressed by their willingness to be so open with me as well as how patient all of our patients were, since some waited all day for their appointments and they did not normally get rude about the wait. In the last couple of days I was able to do more medically-oriented work (Which was tons of fun!), however I  am really happy for the initial first couple of days since I learned a lot about the people that we were helping and their culture, my own Spanish ability, as well as that I really enjoyed working with people. So all in all, this was a great trip! :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

PWB Mexico Trip - Day 1

Yesterday the group started out with an orientation in the morning and then we got divided into two groups and worked at Merida Church 60 and Merida Church 61. Each church had two dentists, one physician, and one opthamologist. We will be getting divided into these two groups everyday in order to cover more ground and help more patients across the region. The physician, opthamologist, and dentist each had a pair of students to assist them as they saw patients and had the opportunity to perform minor tasks such as passing and cleaning utensils. Furthermore, these students had the opportunity to witness tooth cleanings, tooth extractions, and conducted eye exams. Some students assisted the nurse in taking vital signs to prepare them for the doctor. Another group of students worked to create a makeshift pharmacy where all the patients who saw the doctors came to fill their prescriptions. Others worked as translators with the patients, bringing them from the waiting area to the exam rooms. When the work day was completed the group went to a central plaza downtown near the worksite. The plaza was hosting a festival and we had the opportunity to exchange dollars for pesos and shop in the countless "tiendas" in the square. This was followed by a traditional Mexican meal at Los Trompos.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mexico Trip 2014!!

In four days, twelve Presidents Without Borders members will be traveling to Merida, Mexico. These students will be participating in volunteer work all around the city for an entire week. Each day they will travel from village to village setting up a clinic and assisting doctors in helping local villagers. Some of the towns they will be traveling to include: Progreso, Temax, Canzacab, Telchack Pueblo, Dzilam González, and Dzilam Bravo. Students will work with nutritionists, dentists, physicians, physical therapists, and optometrists. They will be immersed in both a medical and cultural experience that will hopefully open their eyes to what life is like beyond the U.S. Borders.  It will be a life changing experience for both the students and the citizens of Merida.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

So for the past week I have had the opportunity to work on the surgery team. We had two wonderful surgeons with us. Bart Saxbe is a general surgeon and Randy Kahan is a obstetrics and gynecological surgeon. Most of the surgeries done were herinas and vaginal historectomies.  It was probably the most interesting thing to be a part of because of the situation we were in. We had the luxury of working inside a hospital and using their facilities, which would never happen in the states. No U.S. hospital would let a random group of people come into their facility and bring in your own patients and surgeons without there being some sort of legal problems. At any rate, we were able to get into the hospital, but we still had problems with getting patients into the operating rooms because the surgeons of the hospital took up all the rooms until they were done for the day.  So we didn't get into surgery until 2 in the afternoon and finish at 9 or 10 at night.  This was the case for the first few days, until one of the surgeons put his foot down and was able to get us are own room for the whole day.  Then we were able to get into a groove and really get through a lot of surgeries. From a personal perspective, I was really nervous because I have really no surgery experience and speak little Spanish.  This caused a problem because I was able to scrub into the surgeries and hand them instrument, but I had no idea what the names of them were and the person explaining to me spoke Spanish! Eventually, I was able to learn the names of instrument and techniques from different surgeries.  It was truly a great experience and I am so glad I was apart of it. I am looking forward to the trip to Tulum, which is where the eight of us will be for the second week of the trip.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Today we were very prepared for the tasks that we had before our group as we medically served the people of Merida. While working in the suburbs of Merida, the Presidents without Borders teams assisted in the treatment of many dental and optometric needs all while helping to run a functional pharmacy. It was very amazing to see the personal level at which we could connect to each and every patient and I am really feeling confident that the following days will continue to be amazing!