I was the site intern of Project Restauración from October 2014 to March 2015—and without a doubt it was one of the most incredible half-years of my life. Not only was the staff at the site engaging, fun and incredibly helpful, but the communities of Restauración, Dominican Republic and Tilori, Haiti truly opened their arms and hearts to me. My host family, whom I lived with for the entirety of my stay, became such a huge part of my life— I am still in touch with them today through what’sapp and letters.
As the site’s Intern, and a person who loves data and research, I decided to do some research of my own in Haiti and the DR. Through FIMRC’s connections and the help of local doctors, nurses, other healthcare workers, and a lot of translators, I was able to compile data on common ailments of patients in Haiti and the DR. More specifically, I was able to understand more about the common ailments of Haitians on both the DR and Haitian side of the boarder. Many times this demographic group suffers from particularly acute health problems compounded by their poverty and precarious political situation.
When I wasn’t collecting data I was traveling with my FIMRC family to other nearby communities who need extra medical support through our mobile clinics. Sometimes the villages were close enough to take a truck ride to, other times, the location was so remote and rugged, donkeys were hired to carry our supplies and we hiked through the mountains to reach our patients. Whether near or far, we were always greeted with smiles and warm welcomes.
FIMRC also runs weekly school courses to help educate school children and teens about their personal and community health. From explaining how to maintain self-esteem and keep up good nutrition, to debunking myths about Malaria and Cholera, there were always inquisitive minds, and thought provoking questions. Though adapting to the language barriers and the different philosophies about education could sometimes be difficult, it was all SO REWARDING. I loved playing with the kids in the quart yard after class, and getting that feeling of excitement when I asked a question and everyone’s hands shoot up—they all remembered the answer. Success!
Diana (my site manager) always took time to brainstorm ideas, answer question, edit curriculums, and translate with me. Tania, and Dr. Ricardo, the two local FIMRC employees pulled me right into the swing of Restauración culture and healthcare. They both became my personal Spanish coaches (because I had arrived knowing essentially no Spanish) and it was FANTASTICO! The entire FIMRC team was amazing, and I could not have asked for a better, more rewarding experience, or a more loving community to become a part of.