Friday, April 13, 2018

¡Vamos a Guatemala!

The thought of an opportunity to increase cultural awareness, provide donations to a community, and to work side by side with clinicians in another country are some of the driving factors for the UNC DPT Class of 2018 and supporting faculty/clinicians on our journey to Antigua, Guatemala. This trip has been a part of the DPT curriculum as an elective course offered in the third year for about 8 years with varying numbers of participants. This year, 14 third-year students and 8 leaders will be spending 8 days in Antigua and surrounding areas volunteering, learning, and enjoying the beautiful country and culture of Guatemala.

Antigua, Guatemala
With this being said, thank you for checking out our blog! We will be posting updates and photos each day of our trip. We hope to allow you an intimate glimpse of our work (and play!) and to educate you on some of the current happenings or needs in Guatemala.

In preparation for the trip, we have collected donations of various items for distribution at Las Obras and health fairs we will be participating in. We have completed learning modules on traveling to another country and the precautions that should be taken to decrease the risk of illness or other negative events. Most of us have had to receive extra immunizations for Hepatitis A, Typhoid, and flu shots, as well as preemptive antibiotics for the dreaded traveler's diarrhea! 
DPT '18 First Group Picture

A quote from third-year, Jessica Anderson on preparing for the trip: “It’s difficult to prepare for an experience you know is going to be a complete divergence from everything you know and take for granted in the states. Talking about the need and poverty in which the Guatemalans we will be serving live in is one thing, but experiencing it will be completely different. Am I physically prepared? Yes, I know what I’m packing, I’ve gotten my vaccines, and I’m brushing up on my Spanish. Am I mentally prepared? We’ll see. I’m trying to keep an open mind and go into this experience knowing that this trip is not only about making a positive impact in Antigua, but also about gaining collaboration and cultural sensitivity skills that will help us become better clinicians.”
Jess Anderson, DPT '18

Ned Bixby shares his current state of emotions: "How is preparing for Guatemala? It's hectic. Being in the final weeks of class in our final year of PT school, we are juggling assignments, papers, capstone projects and presentations, and studying for the Board exam. For those of us that are going to Guatemala, we are losing a week to complete everything, and let me tell you... a week is a lot of time, which has therefore made preparing for Guatemala a little... hectic. But, it's an exciting kind of hectic! This trip is going to be an eye-opening and a potentially life-changing experience for us. To be able to teach and learn from other people in another country is not something that can be done in a classroom; we need to be immersed and surrounded by the people and the culture. I cannot wait to meet and talk with the locals and to see what Guatemala as a country has to offer because whatever it is, it is going to be so much different than life here in Chapel Hill, and that's why my hectic life right now is so exciting!"
Ned Bixby, DPT '18

A glimpse of what is on the docket includes:
Tuesday: Arrival! Walking tour of Antigua. Grocery store for supplies.
Wednesday: Spanish lesson. TBD activity in the afternoon
Thursday: Las Obras in the morning. Clinic in Pastores in the afternoon
Friday: Las Obras in the morning. Clinic in Pastores in the afternoon. Health Fair!
Saturday: Hike Pacaya! (Active Volcano).
Sunday: Mayan ruins! Ziplining!
Monday: Las Obras in the morning. School visit in the afternoon.
Tuesday: Guatemala's Labor Day. Hike to coffee farm.
Wednesday: Head back to North Carolina tired, enriched, and full of stories.

DPT '18 Last Day in L100
Thanks again for following us. We are excited to share such an experience with you!
Ali Serrani, DPT '18

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