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Journals from Nicaragua: Days 1-3

Updated: Aug 6, 2022

Day 1, by Rutu Shah

3 countries in 1 day. Our journey started at Carlo's house in the early afternoon on Thursday, and honestly its just been a blur since then. Time is really a social construct- I feel like I've known the Health-e-Charity team since forever even though its only my second time meeting some of them. In a few short hours together, we've already roamed the streets of Ontario, only to stumble upon fantastic, freshly-baked vegan donuts. We also enjoyed Belgian waffles in El Salvador and had "Italian pizza with a Nicaraguan twist," all in a matter of less than 24 hours.

The real adventure started when we tried to get through customs, though. My mind keeps coming back to a quote Carlo posted before we left for our trip: "At the end of the day, I am at peace because my intentions are good and my heart is pure."

Getting stopped at customs and having all my instruments, toothpaste, and fluoride varnish donations taken away after 3 hours of questioning was disheartening. Frustration doesn't even begin to cover how I felt. But at the end of the day, I am beyond grateful for the amazing team that I am here with and all the love, support, passion, and dedication they have towards

the cause we are here for. I also have to remind myself that some figureheads don't represent the Nicaraguan population as a whole- I am here to help as much as I can with or without my instruments. Tomorrow is going to be full of ups and downs, but we will learn and grow as a team, and hopefully make a difference in some lives.


Day 2, by Garrett Inteso

The day started out well. We had a nice breakfast at a cool restaurant, then headed out to the village of "casa de vida" to set up shop for clinic. I was able to set up the cellular booster permanently and we have great cellular signal now to the clinical area. We set up a "solis" wifi device and are now able to have internet to use Bodhi application. Just before clinic started, power went out due to a blown

transformer. No power for the entire clinic day 1pm-5pm. Just as we were wrapping up for the day, power was restored. Fingers crossed we have power for clinic tomorrow!

Back to that nice breakfast at a cool restaurant. Well, I got sick! Super sick! Nausea, vomiting, and fever. I felt terrible. I had to stay back while the team went out for dinner with the Nica docs, but -best team ever- they all came to the room as a team to check on me. They were able to get some IV supplies and fluids for me. Prema started an IV and fluids, Mandeep got me a popsicle, and Julian got me the life-saving Sprite. After I got the fluids (2 Liters) I was feeling so much better. Now I can hold down liquids and food. Hopefully I can join for clinic tomorrow!


Day 3, by Mandeep Sablok

Today is Sunday. Getting up this morning, I was under the impression that it was going to be sunny and hot, but boy was I wrong, The cloudy skies gave me the notion that it was definitely going to rain, but needless to say I was excited to put on my green scrubs, have breakfast, and tackle the day. Our drive to the clinic today involved some of the team (me) sitting in the back of the pickup truck, enjoying the wind and naturalistic scents as we drove into the clinic sites. Pastor Ricky had informed us that because today is Sunday, the patient load will likely be scant, but since we are starting earlier in the morning than yesterday, perhaps people will come prior to church.

Thankfully today we had power, and since the stations were already set up and our team had a better idea of the workflow, the day went much smoother. Once the waiting chairs were set up, we were surprised at how many patients started to show up. We also had access to the urine dip sticks today. This helped with diagnosing UTIs, which were surprisingly common.

Today was filled with lots of families and children. One of my most memorable experiences today was treating a family of 5, all of whom had GI issues that they had been dealing with for months. I was impacted by how they just tolerated it because the access to care for our treatment was limited.

Overall I was able to see about 30 patients today, and thankfully together we were able to see everyone who was waiting. For a Sunday, it was humbling how many people were willing to wait and see a provider.

Now the ride back home was really interesting! As mentioned earlier about the weather, it started to rain and it was intense. The only problem was that we didn't have a big enough car to take everyone inside the car, so some of us (me) had to sit in the back of the pickup truck. Of course I didn't have a rain jacket, so getting drenched was clearly on the agenda. The ride back to the hotel was extremely wet! At first, I thought it was a great idea, but the moment I started to get cold, I quickly realized that this would be a once in a lifetime experience.

Overall it was a great Sunday, and I felt humbled to have been a part of another day helping people.

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