SON Student Volunteers at Public Health Clinic in Mexican Village

Leilani Trowell, a rising senior nursing student, is doing a one-month summer residency in the Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle just outside of Oaxaca City, Mexico.

Hi, everyone. I just got off my third day of work volunteering at the public health clinic. The most difficult thing for me is that no one at the clinic speaks much English, and my Spanish is not much better. So it is hard for me to understand everything! The first day was the most frustrating because I had no idea what to do. However, I soon learned how the village was divided up into five sections, and I THINK that it is health week.

Right now, we are concentrating on giving vaccinations to children. The first day, I made a census of all the children under age 5 in the village. The second day, I walked around the village with Blanca, one of the nurses who does speak English. That was a very long day with a lot of walking around. Fortunately, it was the coolest day since I’ve arrived, but it was still hot. I liked doing this a lot.

Today, Blanca and I went to the original clinic in El Centro, near the town Zocalo that has been closed since the new clinic opened on the highway. They are trying to rebuild the original clinic. We gave vaccinations to the children, mostly vitamin A and Sabin for polio. I also gave injections for anti-hepatitis. The most surprising thing was how no one wears gloves and does not do the whole ‘wash your hands before and after patient contact’ thing. All that was available in the new clinic was a bar of soap next to a sink and a hand towel. In the El Centro clinic, there was nothing at all. Thankfully, I had some of the waterless hand sanitizer that I bring everywhere with me! There is a lot for me to learn and teach during the four weeks I will be here.

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