At 5:30am this morning, my roommates’ alarms went off. This is the earliest I have ever woken up this year, but I wasn’t as exhausted as I thought I would be. Everyone in our room quickly rolled out of bed so that we would be able to make it to breakfast by 6:00am. Today was our first day of our medical brigade and we had a lot in store for us.
After breakfast we all piled onto our bus and began our two hour trek towards the community we would be working with for the next three days. Looking out the window on the bus ride, I was awed by the culture of the foreign country I was so lucky to be able to visit again. As we drove, I would put myself in the shoes of the people that I saw in the streets and imagined what would make me happy if I were living as they did. The simplicity of the cities and the landscape was truly beautiful.
After driving up and down several mountains and even past a volcano, we finally arrived at the small clinic we would be working in. The clinic only had three main rooms, and after some discussion, we decided to place the two dentistry stations in one room, the optometry and pharmacy in another room, and the gynecology station would be in the last room – all of the other stations, triage, charla, and consultation, would all be outside.
The morning, I worked with Ines in the pharmacy. When we got there, we quickly opened up each of the suitcases filled with the medicine that we had packed yesterday. Initially, the day started out a little slow, as the pharmacy was the last station for every patient. However, our day picked up really quickly, as every patient has to go to the pharmacy station. When each patient arrives, he/she would hand us a form from the doctor with their prescribed medicines listed. We would then have to collect all of the medications from our suitcases and then describe to the patients how to take each other medications before letting them leave our clinic. Although my high-school level Spanish was rusty, it was so rewarding to be able to hand a small bag of medications to so many patients and see in their eyes that we were able to make their day a little better.
Today the weather felt like it was a hundred degrees. But hundreds of community members still showed up to our clinic, whether it was by bus, moped, or walking. Although there were definitely areas of our clinic that I think that we can improve on tomorrow, I really hope that we were able to leave a positive impression on each and every one of the patients, just like that have left in us.
-Tiffany Fu, Brigader