Thursday, April 23, 2015

Day 2 - April 22, 2015

Hi everyone,

April 22nd was our first full day in Guatemala, and we are all having a blast!  We started our day out reviewing our Español skills at a local language school (Ixchel Spanish School).  Necesitamos mas ayuda con Español.  Some of us received our first official Spanish lesson while others unearthed some old vocabulary. 

After Spanish training, we headed over to Las Obras, the main clinic we will be volunteering at during our trip.  Las Obras is a hospital/long-term care facility for individuals across the lifespan. However, many of the physical therapists and staff think of Las Obras has “home” for the patients. We met up with Sadye Errickson and some students from Duke’s PT program as they were providing an interactive presentation on positioning.  The presentation incorporated some recent evidence on evaluating and treating positional impairments for individuals with cerebral palsy.  Given the number of residents with contractures, this information will definitely be helpful for the local therapists. 

We also had the opportunity to tour Las Obras today, and we were astonished at the distinct differences between their facility and a typical American hospital.  For one thing, the nurses either work a 10-hour shift during the day or a 14-hour shift at night.  Despite these long shifts, the considerable number of patients, and the lack of medical resources and technology, we observed how well the patients are taken care of.  The residents are frequently fed and changed, and we could tell how much the staff cared for the residents by their warm interactions.  Several in our group were also stunned at the severity of disease progression seen throughout Las Obras. We observed the natural progression of disease processes when appropriate interventions are not accessible in the early stages. We look forward to working with the therapists at Las Obras as we problem-solve through some of the cases. 

We finished our day by taking a taxi up to a local tourist spot that overlooks the city (see picture below).  There is a cross at this location that you can see from everywhere in the city.  Needless to say it offers a stunning view that is matched only by an awing photo. 


Written by: Joe Miller


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