Adlin Noël, a respiratory therapy student at SUNY Upstate Medical University, traveled to El Sauce, Nicaragua in July 2013 to learn about the health care system of the country. Originally from Haiti, Adlin has an interesting perspective in coming to Nicaragua. Based on his experience, he has also written for an AARC (American Association for Respiratory Care) publication. He writes:
Together with 5 other SUNY Upstate Medical students, I spent two weeks in El Sauce, Nicaragua, helping to medically assist those in need in several rural areas. Reaching out to these less fortunate people through Enlace Project was a satisfying accomplishment. I always had the drive to help those who are constantly struggling around the world either financially or medically. However, having a trustworthy and organized team to effectively facilitate the opportunity is always a challenge. Enlace Project truly met these standards and gave me a better understanding on how to reach out—not only people in Nicaragua but other places in the world as well.
My purpose of going to Nicaragua was to help out while enhancing my skills as a clinician. Hence, these goals have been met. I was lucky to be trained by the Enlace staff. When we arrived in El Sauce, two Nicaraguan doctors affiliated with Enlace Project gave us an intense lecture on their medical system, epidemiology and some of the procedures, such us has pap smears that are frequently done in the areas we were going to work for the two weeks. We had the chance to work with hundreds of people. Health access is a hardship. Every single day we were in a different area where people walked for hours to get our help. We broke up into teams and, lead by Nicaraguan doctors, helped to diagnose, test, and treat patients.
We were fortunate enough to constantly have a translator side by side with us to break the language barrier so that we could communicate effectively. Through the training and the supervision of the Enlace Project staff, I had the chance to observe a significant amount of pap smears and I performed about seven on my own. While working with the nurses in the community, I was able to assist and give vaccinations. I had the chance to observe several pregnancy examinations. The great thing about this experience was that we were able to reach out to those people in a great variety of ways. We did home visits, worked in the only hospital in El Sauce, and other small clinics in rural areas.
Beside medical related work in these two weeks in Nicaragua, we had the chance to explore many wonderful things around the country, including their history. We visited amazing places including volcanoes, museums, and cathedrals that have a lot of value to the country. In addition, we also had some fun actives including hoarse back riding, zip lining, and volcano boarding which are unforgettable.
This experience in Nicaragua was a blast, and if I had the chance to do it again I would do it in an instant.