After a week in Granada, it feels like a second home. Aside for the heat and lack of running water in the morning, I could stay here indefinitely. It took a while to get used to the lack of air conditioning but now I have just embraced being hot all the time. I do not know how people ever wear long sleeves here. I have heavily relied on a fan in my room to stay cool but many people don’t have this luxury. My group visited a rural farm without electricity or water. They have to walk 30 minutes to reach the city so they are mostly self sufficient. I am extremely humbled by most of the families here.
I’m the clinic, we see a very wide range of ages and ailments. Diabetes and hypertension are very very common among adults. We have seen blood sugar and blood pressure readings drastically outside the normal range. It is so interesting to see the disparities between health care here and in the US. Surprisingly, a lot of the diseases here have to do with the typical Nicaraguan diet. I have eaten a lot of carbs such as rice and bread. There are some vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, and avocados but they are not very as widespread. Rice and beans (Gallo pinto) is something I have eaten almost every day. Fruit is also a large part of the typical Nicaraguan diet but it is very high in sugar. The food along with the Nicaraguans’ lack of nutritional knowledge largely contribute to the prevalence of diabetes and hypertension.
The city of Granada is absolutely gorgeous. I am obsessed with the intricacy of the doors to the houses and businesses here. All of them are different from one another. All of the houses are brightly painted. Also, the churches and cathedrals are stunningly beautiful. Although their exteriors are not always well taken care of, the interiors are very pretty. The large majority of the people here are devout Catholics and go to church every morning. I hear church bells and singing every morning on my way to the clinic.
We have also done many fun excursions. We hiked a dormant volcano called Mombacho and saw monkeys, a sloth, and a frog. The view was so breathtaking from the top. We went zip-lining and visited Los Pueblos Blancos to learn about the ceramics there. I am excited to hike an active volcano and visit Masaya in the next couple of days.
Of all our adventures, I have most enjoyed getting to know the people of my group. We came as almost complete strangers and now we are great friends. We go to a restaurant almost every night and just talk for hours. This trip has been an invaluable experience as a student and an aspiring doctor.