Friday, April 29, 2016

Day 4 - April 29, 2016

This blog post is brought to you by: Kelly Walsh and Lexie Williams

We had another full day of fun, service, and learning! This morning, we had the opportunity to take 37 residents of Las Obras on an outing to celebrate the April and May birthdays. The location of the party was a local ruins site about four blocks from the hospital. It was a beautiful location with wild flowers growing and a large open area shaded by the ruins. Let’s just say it’s not easy to roll wheelchairs across cobblestone. Fortunately there were volunteers from other organizations and schools that came to help and we were able to stop traffic, lift the wheelchairs and hurry across the streets. Once there, the residents smashed a piñata, ate donuts, yogurt and candy, drank juice and did a lot of singing and dancing! Everyone had such a great time celebrating the resident’s birthdays. It was an amazing experience to see the joy that such a simple celebration can bring to so many people, including us PT students.

The birthday group after our party! 

At lunch, Genevieve presented her capstone presentation in la piscina (aka “the pool”) and did a fantastic job teaching about effective interventions for aquatic therapy to the staff at Las Obras and our class.

Genevieve during her presentation.

In the afternoon, we traveled back to Fundacion Ensename A Pescar to host our first health fair. We had six stations including blood pressure reading, low back care, nutrition, hand washing, feminine hygiene, and pregnancy and infant care.  Attendees were as young as 4 months old up to abuelos y abuelas (aka “grandpas and grandmas”)! We were able to provide resources for preventative care and to promote healthier lifestyles. Everyone was so appreciative and it was great to practice our spanglish (see above).

Kelly and Lindsey at the pregnancy and infant care station.

Lexie and Liz at the hand washing station.

Tomorrow begins our day of adventures including hiking the volcano and visiting a coffee farm! Hasta luego!

Day 3 April 28, 2016

Day 3 – April 28, 2016
Guatemala 2016: Day 3

Today’s blog post is brought to you by Lindsey.

Genevieve and Emily working in pediatrics

It was an early morning for many in our group as they rushed off to Las Obras to assist with feeding kids, orthopedics, and the NICU. The rest of the crew joined later as we dispersed to work a full morning with young children, young adults, and adults. Three other UNC students and myself worked with two lovely Guatemalan physical therapists in the young adult boys zone that mostly had varying severity levels of Cerebral Palsy. We did a lot of stretching out spastic lower extremities, trunk control, and arm strength. The Guatemalan physical therapists have wonderful relationships with the boys and we learned that they treat each one of the 32 boys three times a week!

Kohler presenting

Andrew Kohler gave an excellent presentation on Assessment and Return to Work after Lower Extremity Surgery/ Injury in Spanish to the Guatemalan physical therapists and physical therapy students that helped bridge the communication barrier gap with us through hands-on learning.

Foster, Sarah, and Lindsey speaking with a patient

After departing Las Obras we headed to Enseñame a Pescar, a school for children with disabilities. There we met with locals from the community for consultative services. There were a variety of diagnoses - down syndrome, spinal cord injury, developmental delay, and amputation to name a few. Everyone worked at providing education, exercises, or referral services to the families. 

After a long day

It was an eye opening experience for all of us that are first timers down here and many first time experiences while as we practiced physical therapy and our Spanish. We are looking forward to another great day in Guatemala tomorrow!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Day 2 - April 27th, 2016

Guatemala 2016: Day 2

Today was our first full day in Guatemala. Today’s blog post is brought to you by Annemarie and Elizabeth.

It was an early morning ushered in by the pleasant but unfamiliar sounds of nature coming through our open air hotel windows. After a quick breakfast we were off to a 3 hour Spanish lesson at Ixchel Spanish School. At the school we split into groups based on our proficiency. Each group was led by Guatemalan teachers who were so gracious and patient, necessary character traits…at least when dealing with our Spanish skills. In my (Annemarie's) group, we were able to converse initially over the basic questions of typical conversation with an amazing instructor, Mariella. We were given worksheets and our own workbooks to keep the notes we made during the lesson. We took a 15 minute break at the halfway mark and were given coffee and took in the view from the roof. As usual, we had to take a token group picture so you too can get an idea of the gorgeous view we had this morning.

Mariella was kind enough to incorporate our health fair materials into our lesson. You’ll be able to read about our 1st health fair on Friday night, but for today we are all busy learning our given stations and how to explain this information in Spanish. An example of one health fair station concerns pregnancy and when one should call the doctor when issues arise. Mariella helped us learn the information on our handouts and quizzed us on what we were reading to assure our understanding. Leaving the school was bittersweet, many of us wanted to keep learning. This environment for learning a language was the best I’ve ever experienced and it was greatly appreciated.

Group pic on the roof of the Spanish school
After lunch we headed to the local hospital/long term care facility that houses 235 residents who live there full time. All the students and faculty broke into groups and worked with children, young adults, older adults, treated patients in a sensory room and even got in the pool. We were able to work hand and hand with some of the local physical therapists.

Ellese, Kelly and Nicole working with a child in a standing frame

Andrew Foster and Andrew Kohler working together in the peds room

After an hour and half of treatment time we received a tour of the entire facility and heard a history of the facility. We’re heading back there tomorrow and plan to work in the same areas as well as the NICU. Thanks for following along with our adventures. More tomorrow!



Day 1 - April 26th, 2016

Thank you for visiting the UNC Physical Therapy Guatemala service learning trip blog. We are a group of 14 3rd year UNC DPT students traveling with professors and alumni and for the next 9 days we will be participating in a service-learning trip. The majority of our work will be at San Pedro Hermano hospital in Antigua, Guatemala, but we will also be participating in events throughout the community, providing educational presentations for local physical therapists and collaborating with Guatemalan clinicians. Everyone is extremely excited for this opportunity to expand our knowledge of the Guatemalan healthcare system.
On our way!
The whole team on the bus from the airport to Antigua

Everyone arrived safely and met at the airport around 12:30pm. We made our way to our lodging, which is beautiful  (see picture of courtyard below). After a short time settling in we had a discussion of the weeks tentative agenda, went grocery shopping, and checked out the main square (see below). Antigua is a really pretty town with colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, interesting doorways and flowers in windows. The streets were not too busy this evening but it could have been due to the downpour of rain. There is a lot planned for tomorrow and we look forward to sharing the rest of our adventure with everyone.
Arrival at our home for next week