Un día en El Campo

Published: June 10th 2014
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Lunch of fresh avocado and mango straight from the tree? Yes please! I've had the opportunity to visit two rural communities in the last few days with the Centro de Salud - El Tanque and San Esteban. Of course the main focus was the public health aspect - vaccinations, consultations, a few pap exams, and treatment of any standing water against mosquito larvae - but I can't deny that I also loved the fresh fruit and the lovely countryside! The visits only happen once a month to each community and it sounds like not all the inhabitants get a check-up out of the trip, but it is a good effort and a decent amount of people are reached. For example, today we set up a clinic in one of the houses in San Esteban and locals walked from all over the community to see the doctor, ending up with about 40 patients in 4 hours out of the 240 that live there. It has also been a great opportunity to get to know a few of the nurses and one of the doctors which has been incredibly helpful in starting to find my place in the organization and generate some interest in my project.

So, the project. Currently the plan is to create a few "clubs" that will meet once weekly for an educational presentation as well as some yet-to-be-determined fun or productive activities. And with food provided of course - the secret to getting people to come to meetings! Two of the clubs will be based in a near-by community called La Competencia, hopefully at a school there as sort of an after school program: one for adolescents revolving around healthy relationships, sex ed, etc. to address the issue of teen pregnancy, and one for pregnant women to provide information as well as a sort of support group. The third club will also be for pregnant women and will take place in the newly built Casa Materna (maternity home) connected with the clinic. This week will be for scouting the location and generating some potential participants and then it's hit the ground running with the meetings to begin next week! Yes, the initial week at the organization was a bit frustrating, but I have also realized it was an important step in learning about the clinic, the people there, and what their goals and priorities are. I guess development work is kind of hard, isn't it.

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