Why did you decide to volunteer with VIDA in Guatemala?
Casey: I knew I wanted to travel, but I didn't want to go away for too long, and I couldn't afford anything too expensive Doing something with medicine was important to me, because I am young, and I am still trying to decide what I want to do with my future. With medicine at the top of my interest list, this seemed like a great opportunity to help me decide.
Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.
Casey: We would wake up, eat breakfast, load the bus, and drive to the city where we would set up our clinic. Once we arrived we would set up the pharmacy on tables and find a room where we could interview and examine patients. During this examination we asked questions about the patient's medical history and we took weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate. Other physical examinations that volunteers were allowed to conduct included urinalyses and glucose tests. One day I listened to a babie's heartbeat inside the stomach of a mother.
What made this experience unique and special?
Casey: This volunteer opportunity is unique because the group of people that work for VIDA know how to do their job really well. On days when we weren't volunteering we got to go ziplining, and also out on the town to restaurants and bars. We also took a dance class one night, and had a really good time.
How has this experience impacted your future?
Casey: Personally: I appreciate being able to put toilet paper in the toilet, I appreciate the extensive amount of food available in the US, and I try to meet everyone with an open heart, the way the Guatemalans did to me. So, I am just more appreciative in general. I also learned how to travel safely and how to barter.
Professionally: I learned that I enjoy working with patients, I like to have variety with my job, nothing repetitive, and I learned that it is good to network from people everywhere.