Rutgers - Science Summer Abroad 2010
Nine Science Undergraduate Students Around the World

Friday, June 4, 2010

day two

Today was our orientation to our field sites. Lisa and I are working together at Clinica San Antonio de la Cal, about a 5-minute bus ride down the highway. It’s an easy commute- all we have to do is take either a bus that goes straight to San Antonio (which unfortunately does not come often), or the Zimitlan/Ocotolan bound buses to La Experimental, all of which cost 7 pesos. Afterwards, we take a mototaxi for about 3 minutes that takes us straight to the clinic, which costs 4 pesos. The clinic is a relatively small building with an on-site pharmacy, two doctors' offices, a dentist's office, a delivery room, an examination room for nurses, a secretary's office, and a large common area used as a waiting room in the middle, with nurses' desks along the sides of the walls. We met some nurses and doctors, and even witnessed an on-going class for mothers who are participating in a program to receive better healthcare and health education.
This was definitely something I was surprised by, because it’s such a good incentive; all you have to do is attend these health classes, and you and your family will receive healthcare benefits. I would certainly like to see something like that in America because I think it would be extremely effective and is very plausible. It would be useful in lower-income neighborhoods where people don’t receive neither adequate healthcare nor health education, because even such a seemingly miniscule change can be so effective and alter the quality of life in such areas.
The clinic seems very basic- basic instruments are used, such as typewriters (I've never actually seen one being used!) and simple medical supplies, and there are only three doctors for countless patients. Nevertheless, basic healthcare is better than no healthcare. We were told we would be helping give vaccines and aiding the nurses in whatever they need help with. I'm looking forward to hands-on experience at the clinic, learning about the healthcare system, and hopefully learning all the terms I need to know in a clinic setting.
We later visited the other clinic in which other girls will be working, called Clinica Vicente Guerrero. It's a long commute to a really slum-like neighborhood. Walking through it was eye-opening because there was such an array of different kinds of houses, from shacks made of corrugated metal to solid cement buildings (which apparently are an indication of family members moving to America and sending money back home). This area probably brings the clinic extremely poor patients and will serve as an enlightening experience for Daniella and Sindhu.
I can't wait to be an enfermadera! (at least a partial, temporary one). I know this kind of hands-on experience is a great opportunity, one I would not be able to get in the United States. The closest I could get to being a employee in a hospital is as a secretary, because at this level of my education, I'm hardly qualified to do anything else. I'm eager to start helping people and learning about the healthcare system here. Until next time o hasta luego....

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