Wow! I am so behind on blogging.
Last week (June 3-7) in class we did a lot of really cool things. My Spanish is still lacking in a major way, but hopefully something will click soon. In the tech classes and labs we have learned about a ton of different things. We basically go over one or two different medical equipment pieces a day.
Then Friday we went to the hospital in Rivas to tour it and get to see some of the broken equipment. We got to take apart a few things and it was really an eye opening experience. The hospital was apparently “too nice” to need someone from EWH to go there this year, and it was still in such bad shape compared to our hospitals in America. Given this is a public hospital, funded by the government that provides free healthcare. There was broken equipment piled against any free wall or closet or corner. Basically anything that we saw on our tour was “working, but…”. So the respirator works but only for two hours and then it shuts off. Which we could easily guess that it was probably overheating, but this was news to the technician. ICU was 6 beds in one room, separated by torn and dirty shower curtains. One of which was splattered with blood. It was truly incredible.
There is also a mindset here to just make do. Basically if something halfway works, sometimes, if the conditions are perfect, then it’s a victory. And if something is broken, you keep it in case you need a part from it. It makes so much sense, but its new for someone coming from a nice university and a very developed country to think like this.
I am really excited to be able to try to help in these hospitals, but I am also really nervous. We don’t know much about anything before it happens. For example, I had no idea where or with whom or with what kind of family I was living with until I was about 10 min from arriving. So I'm afraid the next month will be the same setup. If I could go back and do it again, I would have tried to prepare so much for this trip. Learning Spanish, researching things to do, where we would be, asking more questions. But if there’s anything I have learned from development work, it’s that you just have to bite your tongue and go with the flow.
Other than a few minor setbacks, it has really been a great week. We are a full two weeks in and only have 2.5 more. This is halfway to moving to my hospital. Can’t even believe it.