Welcome to the first of the ‘guest blogs’ from Jeff’s teammates. I am Catherine Mulvihill and I have the fortune of being the co-trip leader for this experience, and I am happy to share an update with any of you reading from back home.
After a solid sleep in Houston, the group made its way back to the airport in the hopes that the plane’s engine would not require a jump-start and we would be back on track.
We arrived in Managua after a reasonable 2hr 40min flight. As if some greater force is at work, our problem solving skills were put to the test yet again when a team member’s wallet was lost on the plane. While we could not recover the wallet, the team’s spirits were high since we were finally in Nicaragua.
Some of the local residents were a touch confused by our beloved, but often misunderstood, team slogan “Bringing the Manzanas.” The shirts resulted in one man quietly repeating “manzanas… manzanas… manazanas…”, as if it would soon click.
For the non-Spanish speaking audience, ‘manzanas’ is Spanish for apples and by bringing some to Nicaragua, we’re keeping the doctors away.
Once we all gathered outside, Louis, our group leader for the week, had the bus come by to get us. Laughs were heard from everyone as we watched an old yellow school bus with “SHEKINAH” painted in bright red across the front.
The bus took us just south of Managua to Hotel El Raizon, our home for the week. Divided into four rooms, our group got settled, had some lunch and mingled with the resident parrots, chickens and the cute puppy, who bites anything and everything within her reach.
In the afternoon, we were introduced to Louis’ assistant, Karla, and the Doctor who will be traveling with us this week. After dividing into groups and learning about different tropical diseases, we took turns presenting each one to the rest of the group. Since we arrived a day late, our medical Spanish lessons, pharmacy seminar and community health seminar were pushed to Monday.
We learned that we will be both working in the clinic in Nindiri and visiting locals’ homes to speak with them about community health. While the group seems excited to get out to the clinic, we all agree that we have much to learn.
In the spirit of Jeff’s desire to report on daily lessons, I will contribute to the list:
- I learned that the local restaurants enjoy eighties and nineties easy rock
- I learned that some of the sayings we take for granted do not always translate well
- I learned that vocal chickens can really disrupt a group presentation
All the best from Central America!