Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.
Lorenny: I visited Project Limon, Nicaragua as a result of a contest from Firecracker (flashcard program I utilized to prepare for the US Medical Licensing Examination). The prize was to spend seven days immersed in the community of El Limon, doing community service, consulting with the children, women, and elderly population, and visiting local schools for orientations. I went with one fellow doctor and three medical students in their final semester.
Our day to day activities were not only comprised of the aforementioned activities but we were also able to assist in sonographies, share our methods of treatments and diagnostics with local doctors, perform PAP smears and visit communities not easily accessible by road who could not partake in the clinic’s services. After the daily activities we went to a local house and shared a delicious traditional meal, with good music, delightful people, and colorful juices.
Ten years from now, what's the one thing you think you'll remember from the trip?
Lorenny: Ten years from now, I will definitely remember how much I enjoyed connecting with the community not only as a physician but also as a friend. I was able to heal not only medical conditions, but also ailments that came from the soul of my patients, and my personal stories livened up those that thought life had no meaning.
Has your worldview changed as a result of your trip?
Lorenny: Nicaragua was my first visit to Central America, and I was very surprised to see the amount of work we encountered and the ways you can help those in need. Coming from a developing country myself, I always thought that if I had a sufficient amount of medications it would allow me to heal my patients, but in Project Limon I was able to discover that this is not the answer to the problem.
Project Limon gave me the opportunity to be part of something a lot of people say they want to do: change the world. You don’t only need medications to heal our communities; it takes more than that. It takes a team of health practitioners like Jessica and Martha, the kind of individuals who care for the patients and are committed to the community’s well-being.
What was the most interesting cultural difference you encountered?
Lorenny: As Spanish is my first language, the most shocking cultural aspect of my visit was the way Nicaraguan people speak Spanish. The first day of consults it was difficult for the patients to understand me due to the linguistic idiosyncrasy of each language referring to their ailments. But after some time of speaking with patients and learning terms with the clinic’s nurses the communication became easier.
Where would you most like to travel to next?
Lorenny: Project Limon changed my life! And if the opportunity ever presented itself to volunteer abroad again I would definitely travel to Nicaragua or any other work site sponsored by FIMRC; I feel that their staff’s dedication and hard work will leave a lasting impression on the communities they strive to help.