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June 2, 2011

i wish i had more time to write!
i started at the health center tuesday and it is so interesting. so far i’ve mostly just been observing, helping out with little things, and i did get to give a shot today. (!) it’s clear the communication between the staff and the director–who set up my volunteer placement–has been more or less nonexistent, but luckily for the most part the nurses have been awesome, so friendly and fun, and way more patient than most nurses i’ve met in clinicals at school! moreover, even if they were all jerks the whole time, it is so interesting to be there it would still be a good experience!
so the first day, the director basically left me at an office door and ran off. the nurse answered the door, was nice, introduced herself, and was like come on, motioned me behind a curtain in the room. where there was a woman laid out and literally about to get a pap smear. hello! no gradual intro, i guess. afterward i asked her, so are you a doctor? and she laughed and said no, we nurses do everything here! i learned the next day that they also all insert IUDs, who knows what else?
but what’s really fascinating to me so far is that the clinic is public, and services are free. and most of the visits i’ve sat in on have been pregnant women getting checked out, women seeking (free) birth control, and moms taking their babies in for (free) vaccinations. i saw on the news last night a story reporting that nicaragua’s infant mortality rate has gone down to the 2nd lowest in central america in the last several years, since implementing some of these programs.
once a week, each of the nurses takes a turn doing home visits in the community. i am really hoping to be able to tag along. i feel so lucky to be here!

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