On the move again, Guatemala

Published: May 27th 2013
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Central Coban
Hola Amigos!

So, I haven’t written anything for about two months as life has been very hectic. The last I mentioned, I was in Manipal doing field research with HIV/AIDS patients, which was an amazing, humbling experience. I worked with one family in particular who were migrant workers from northern Karnataka who traveled all the way to Manipal because of the stigma attached to having HIV, so that none of their family or community would find out about their status. This couple had a little boy who was HIV negative, and the mother was worried that she or her husband could pass on HIV to her son. You see, part of the problem with the ART centers and hospitals is that there are so many patients to see everyday, and so social support and educational opportunities to learn more about coping with HIV/AIDS becomes secondary, and many of these patients are clueless as to how to manage their disease, or really don’t know enough about it. We linked this family with an NGO close by to the hospital so that the mother could learn more about the precautions she can take so that her son does not get
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Near our house

This experience was more than learning a ton about HIV/AIDS and talking to patients which was an emotional and very personalized experience for everyone involved. It was more about learning how to work and cope with cultural differences in an intercultural team, which will most likely be the same setting I will work in when I enter the emerging field of global health after this program is finished. This was also beautiful though, as we learned how to work together effectively and had so much to share and learn from each other, I would argue, more so than the actual research field work we were doing.

Along with field work everyday at the treatment center, I had to give multiple presentations on fieldwork and preliminary masters research thesis plans. Additionally, we had group activities in the evenings and an all weekend conference where we talked about future careers in global health and had the opportunity to talk to a global health panel. The two week symposium was definitely a great learning opportunity, and the first time that all of us from all four universities (although we have been taking classes together online) had the opportunity to meet

Drive from Guatemala City
in person.

From Manipal (it was really sad saying goodbye to everyone), Erica, Robyn and I continued our travels back towards Bangalore slowly, stopping along the way to see a few temples and old architecture, as well as an UNESCO heritage sight where we climbed 600 steps to see the largest standing buddha in the world! It was a LOT of effort to get to, but worth it, especially for the view. We finally arrive in Bangalore, and made preparations for getting home the next day. Long story short, I made it home in one piece, and had 9 days to see family and friends, unpack, do laundry, and repack for Guatemala. Yes that’s right, I am on the move again. I am currently doing an internship and masters research with the TulaSalud foundation, an NGO that works with mobile health technology and indigenous Mayan communities to increase healthcare in rural environments. I will expand on this further as I come to understand the motives, background, and initiatives this organization has taken on. I will say, however, that I am very impressed so far. I have been here for 5 days, and I think this experience will be, yet again, one never to forget 😊

Muchas Gracias Amigos,

Hasta Luego,

Kazz aka (Gringa-foreigner in spanish) xo


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