Friday, June 24, 2011

Brittany's adventure continues!

I thought I was supposed to go from here to Santa Elena to start my placement tomorrow however we are staying the night in the host family’s house in Puerto Lopez and leaving for Santa Elena early in the morning. The food here has been good thus far, no seafood yet fingers crossed although I know I am going to have to choke some down sooner or later, ugh! The houses here are quite different, the roof is like sheet metal kind of and there’s a huge space between the roof and the wall (so reading between the lines there are a lot of bugs in the house!). I have a mosquito net over my bed that I sleep in but there are still these super tiny bugs everywhere I look! I am going to the hospital tomorrow to meet the doctor and staff and I am going to start Tuesday morning I guess. J I am very excited to start my placement!! There are 2 girls from the states that will be living with me in Santa Elena for the week then they are leaving Friday. I am glad because then I can get to know the buses to take or taxis etc. to the hospital. Today I talked a lot with the family, their 5 year old daughter Debora has not stopped following me around and I showed her pictures of my family and friends on facebook and she wants me to braid her hair in a bit haha! I went for a walk on the beach today with the host father, Miguel and there were so many fishermen and fish ewww! Coincidently on the beach I met 2 of the Canadians whom I went hiking with! All I heard was “Brittney”, in English and I was thinking who on earth could be calling me. I was very happy to see them and after supper I am going to meet up with them to hang out! It’s going to be an early night tonight for me, I am definitely overtired and very emotional today for some reason!

The hospital is soo different from Canada. The waiting rooms are outside and the treatment of patients is quite horrific. The first day we sat in on a few consultations then watched some surgeries. We did have to change our scrubs to watch but didn’t have to scrub in or anything. We watched a hernia surgery and a tubal ligation. The two girls from America (Stephanie and Margot) taught me some basic skills (they have completed their first year of podiatric medicine). This included an abdominal exam, breathing, pulse and manual blood pressure, which I still need to perfect. I had learned most of this from before (shadowing with Dr. Ferguson) but not the manual blood pressure. Today we watched surgeries all day. We got to see a ruptured Achilles tendon, which looked so different than I had pictured. We also saw pins put in a broken elbow and a woman who had a prolapsed uterus and who had a simultaneous hysterectomy (that was pretty intense!). I also watched an appendectomy (removal of the appendix). We also saw the very end of a C-section and I was disappointed we didn’t see the whole thing but I have a lot of time left and am determined to see a C-section and a natural birth. The surgeons let the 2 American girls scrub in one at a time for 2 of the surgeries today (I really wanted to but I let them since it’s their last day tomorrow). They got to hold the metal instruments to hold the skin open.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Brittany's time in Ecuador Continued!

Brittany relays to us the work she has been doing at a medical clinic in Santa Elena:

At work I usually go and see what surgeries are going on for the morning and stay and watch them. Then I eat lunch and go to Emergency for the afternoon. This week there was a hysterectomy and numerous hernia surgeries. There was also a surgery on a young boy and someone had their nose broken to fix it. That was surprisingly the grossest surgery because the cartilage snapped and blood and mucus were gushing everywhere. There was also a c-section which I almost missed. That was so amazing to watch and so quick! The baby was out before I even realized they had finished cutting the woman´s stomach! The baby was so small and precious and a girl :) I got to hold some tools for the hernia surgeries and I also got to clean 2 patients to prep them for the more sterile cleaning. In emergency I finally perfected my blood pressure taking skills, one of the interns told me you could also feel the pulse when it started because I was having a hard time hearing the systolic sometimes! ( That probably doesn´t make much sense sorry!). I have really become friends the interns there and they are so nice and willing to help me! I went to visit inpatients with one of the doctors this week, patients who are pregnant with infections, post-operation patients etc. Today was also pretty exciting I asked the nurses if I was allowed to give an injection, they said yes and I was pumped! A nurse had explained to me how to give one in the arm (although I have yet to try) but the ones today were in the butt. Luckily there were 2 this afternoon because I didn´t know how to give one there, so the nurse explained it t me and showed me then said next time I can do it myself. The second one she called me over and watched ( I made sure to double check I was putting it in the right place haha), so I got to clean the patient´s skin and give them a needle! I wasn´t even nervous at all which I was surprised at, I think I will be more nervous for the one in the arm. Tomorrow I have decided I am going to make sure there are no vaginal births (because that is top on my list of things to see) then I am staying in Emergency all day so I don´t miss a chance to give an injection in the arm! I also forgot to mention there was a patient with epilepsy who came in unable to breath and had a seizure.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Brittney's Travels in Ecuador

Below is Brittney's account of the beginning of her Internship Ecuador program. She started in Quito for 2 weeks before heading to the coast to work in a medical clinic.

I landed in Quito Friday night and a driver picked me up at the airport. He didn't speak any English and I didn't speak any Spanish so needless to say it was quite the ride to my house in Quito!

I didn't start my Spanish lessons until today which made for an awkward weekend lol. Luckily a girl from Sweden lives in the house also and speaks English. She was my translator basically all of Saturday. I did a lot of studying on my own over the weekend. I completed 3 lessons in my book on my own and used to develop some sort of vocabulary. I had my first Spanish lesson today. I am have a private teacher for 4 hours a day. She corrected the work I did and luckily there weren't many mistakes. The lesson went very well and my Spanish is coming along nicely. The woman who owns the house, Ana Lucia, said at supper tonight that by the end of 2 weeks I will be speaking excellent Spanish although I'm not sure I believe her!

This weekend I am going to Otavalo which is where the authentic Ecuadorian market is, I'm very excited to go there! I am also going paragliding in the mountains with a few girls, I guess Vanessa's uncle owns it so it won't be very expensive. Don't worry mom I asked and we're going with a guide :). The Saturday before I leave I plan on booking a tour of the volcano Cotopaxi. I can book an English tour guide and climb to the top of the snow covered mountains and see the volcano. Then I can take a mountain bike or horses down.

I am scheduled to leave Quito in a little under two weeks, next Saturday. I will take the night bus to Puerta Lopez and a taxi or something to Santa Elena where I will be doing my volunteer placement. I may have to stay here for 3 weeks if I don't know enough Spanish but I am studying a lot so I can go to the hospital as soon as possible. The house I am staying in is wonderful and I love Ana Lucia. There are a lot of other students who live in this house as well, Susanna from Sweden and about 6 others who stay here during the week to go to university, they are from other parts of Ecuador. I have my own bathroom here and I think I'm the only one who has that luxury!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spend your summer in South Africa!

Check out Robert Tsai's visit to South Africa where he spent 6 weeks rehabilitation sea birds and then releasing them back into the wild!

Here is what Robert has to say about his adventure:

“Working with the penguins in Cape Town, South Africa was definitely exciting and equally bizarre. I learned so much about the different types of seabirds that live on the South African coast and how to treat injuries and illnesses. You don’t even have to have a background in zoology or biology to volunteer. I studied economics and was still able to learn everything a volunteer needed to know. When I wasn’t volunteering at SANCCOB, I was out with other international volunteers exploring all Cape Town had to offer. The amazing sights, food, and people made my trip one of the most memorable and rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I recommend this project for anyone who wants to work with incredible animals in an extraordinary country.”

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Feliz Cinco De Mayo!!

Feliz Cinco de Mayo a todos! Although this holiday is not celebrated throughout Latin America, it's a huge in the Mexican state of Puebla and throughout the USA. We here in Texas, like to celebrate with live donkeys, mariachi bands and margaritas of course! AIDE Abroad would like to wish you a happy Cinco De Mayo no matter where you are!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Semana Santa!

Easter week is celebrated in Spain with week long processions and manifestations of faith! Already known for its festivities and holidays, Spain's way to celebrate is particularly interesting. People dress up in costumes that are supposed to represent the Nazareth people. They wear hoods that are cone shaped and drape a cloth in front of their faces to keep anonymity. Different fellowships will have different colored cloth and varying details in their costumes.

During these processions, statues or floats are carried and on the day of Easter Sunday, bells are heard throughout the cities in Spain. Spaniards celebrate Easter as a religious holiday. However,once again, it's a great time to be visiting Spain, to experience first-hand their traditions and festivals. Celebrating in Spain is unlike celebrating anywhere else in the world!

Friday, April 15, 2011

$300 Off Your Volunteer Program

Get involved! As you know, April is national volunteer month, and in celebration, AIDE Abroad is offering $300 off any of our volunteer programs! Sign up by Friday, May 13th and you will receive this special offer!

Why are we doing this? We want as many people as possible to have access to our international volunteer opportunities! We want you to join the cause and be able to travel abroad this summer and volunteer in a community in South America or South Africa!

Don't miss your opportunity to work with children and teach them English or art! Or work with endangered sea turtles in a small surf town in Costa Rica. Whatever you choose to do, you can know that you are volunteering for the greater good and at the same time have an adventure of a lifetime!