For a new perspective on ASB Nicaragua, this entry is coming to you from the Student Team Leader. My name is Matt Quinn and I am the final member of the leadership team.
Our first full day in the country started early with 7 a.m. breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs, beans, rice and fruit. Those who could fit a shower in the morning schedule were probably a little shocked to discover that the Hotel El Raizon has only one temperature of water, and it isn’t warm. Not to complain, of course, except maybe one of us who was unlucky enough to reach the bottom of the water tank mid-shampoo.
At 8 a.m., we gathered for a seminar led by Dr. Cerrato on basic examination skills. After sitting through the good doctor’s words of wisdom, everyone was eager to take blood pressures and test urine (their own). By noon, we had all mastered the sphygmomanometer (instrument to measure blood pressure) and were ready for lunch.
Our fourth meal in the country confirmed what many had begun to suspect – in Nicaragua, people like to eat. Not that the team was upset, it’s just that after consuming three generous scoops of rice, it can be difficult to find the energy to stumble back to the classroom (if our shaded patio surrounded by palm trees and parrots can be called a classroom).
Once lunch had finished, and after convincing a few reluctant team members to leave their hammocks, we began making our way through a booklet on pharmacy, again guided by Dr. Cerrato. This was followed by Louis coaching us through some basic Spanish that we will likely encounter starting tomorrow when we will first visit the clinic.
Once the afternoon’s seminar was wrapped up, the dangers of giving acetaminophen to a diabetic was among the last things on most people’s minds. Some of us were a little overwhelmed with the threat of the language barrier, while others were feeling a nervous and intimidated with the idea of the complete faith that the locals will be putting into us in the upcoming days.
The group headed to a nearby Papa John’s Pizza for dinner (think Wharncliffe and Oxford with a Latin American flair). Most of us survived without incident; however one of us did end up with chicken gizzard.
Apparently, “pepperoni pizza” can get lost in translation.
Stand out lessons of the day:
1) Shower early, or don’t shower at all.
2) Wear shoes when trekking through volcanic ash.
3) Watch out for ‘titiles’ at Papa John’s. See chicken gizzard story above.