To everyone back home, hola! It’s Matt again, here to fill you all in on the events of the day. And what a day it was. When it wasn’t adrenaline running through our veins, it was the vitamin B12 that we, the members of ASB Nicaragua, were happily injecting into each other. But I’m getting ahead of myself, and probably scaring a few parents while I’m at it.
Today was a day-off from clinic to experience a little of what the country has to offer. First up was a zip-lining tour of rainforest canopy on the slopes of Nicaragua’s Mombacho Volcano. The 18 of us, along with Karla from ISL, were equipped with harnesses and helmets and were in no time at all flying through the air above (and, occasionally, through) the trees. Our guides were more than happy to send us suspended from cables from tree to tree in various positions including backwards and upside down (Jeff passed on this one: “No thanks, I have children.”)
With our feet firmly planted on the ground, we made our way to a coffee farm (Café las flores) nestled into the side of the volcano where we sampled some Nicaraguan blend and stocked up on some of the finest coffee beans to bring back home. Trust us, it’s better than Starbucks.
Back on the bus, we made our way to the city of Masaya where we tucked into lunch. Afterwards, we broke off into smaller groups and were unleashed on a local market to explore the wares the locals were peddling. Our bartering skills were put to the test, as was our ability to souvenir shop in Spanish.
Once we had returned to the Hotel El Raizon, which is beginning to feel more and more like home, we rested and washed up. We then gathered for yet another seminar from the wise Dr. Cerrato. Except this time, we weren’t learning about pharmacy for tropical medicine or the different stitches one can perform on a chicken breast. Giving injections was the topic of the lesson, and the test subjects: ourselves.
After a brief demonstration on Karla, Dr. Cerrato let us take over. Armed with syringes and alcohol swabs, we began carefully giving each other shots of vitamin B12. Not surprisingly, a few of us were not as eager to be the first thing their teammates injected and opted to bail out of the receiving experience (Note: our nursing students tell us that they learned to give shots using oranges). Sabrina, Aleshia, and I offered both arms to the cause to ensure everyone had a chance to break skin with a needle. Even as I type now, I am uncomfortably aware of tenderness in both of my deltoid muscles.
We then gathered around Louis as he gave us a crash course in Nicaraguan history, while Dr. Cerrato contributed some insights into the medical system in the country.
A little past 7 p.m., we headed to the dining area for dinner, where we enjoyed rice, backed potatoes, and chicken fajitas. While we are beginning to feel a little riced-out, we were all glad to know that our suture patients from yesterday were put to good use.