Arriving in Managua, I was shocked at the traffic conditions. Cars zipping in and out like there aren’t any traffic laws. On the roads, different services were done by children begging for money, something I’ve never seen in the United States. The first twenty minutes of the trip were exciting, but I was already shocked at the difference I had already noticed. During my stay, I’ll be with Doña Mercedes and her family. She is incredibly nice and enjoys hosting different students. Although some of the food hasn’t sat well with my stomach, I’ve enjoyed experiencing the different Nicaraguan food, such as indio viejo and tostones.
The biggest challenge so far has been the language barrier. Although I speak Spanish, the accents have been difficult to pick up. For example, many of the adults in Nicaragua do not say the “s” at the end of their words. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been a bit frustrated with myself, but I’m going to continue to try and improve.
The clinic we are working at sees anywhere from 30 to 60 patients everyday. Some of these patients are from the city of Granada, while others have come from hours away to visit this specific clinic. I think that shows the incredible patient care that these doctors possess. During the ten days we are working here, we are rotating between shadowing the doctors, working the pharmacy, and working triage. My favorite experience has been working the triage, as I have been able to have lots of patient interaction and conversations about their everyday lives.
One of the best things about this program is the opportunity to go on different excursions and see different parts of Nicaragua. One day, we went to Mombacho, the third largest volcano in the country. It was quite the hike, but the view from the top was spectacular. Another day, we visited a farm of a family outside the city of Granada. It was an eye-opening experience, as it truly showed how materialistic and greedy we can be in our everyday lives. As I prepare to return, I am looking forward to seeing my family and being back home for the first time in months. This has been an incredible learning experience that I will not soon forget!