Wow, a lot has happened since my last blog!
Sunday, May 29th a few of us got to experience a church mass in San Felix. It was interesting to see a mass in another country, especially with my limited church experience. The church was beautifully painted. We went to La Barquete and Las Lajas beach that weekend too-- it was very fun.
More has happened in the clinics as well (aside from vaccinations!). All of us at Hato Juli got to perform STD checks on a patient. It was a great experience as we probably won't get the chance as RNs to insert a speculum and swab a cervix. I am fairly confident now that I am not interested in women's health nursing, however!
We also got to go across the street to the school, play with the children, and teach them about handwashing, vitamins in fruit, and dental hygiene. We also walked around the community with the students and pick up trash/recycle paper, plastic, and glass with them. Although, with all of our effort, once we were done picking up trash in the community we handed out candy to the students, and all of them threw the wrappers on the ground! It seemed our teachings did not completely register, or the language barrier was too severe.
After our clinic days, we went to the women and children hospital for a day in David. At first the day started slowly, but after lunch myself and a few other students got to witness a live birth! It was the first birth I had ever seen in person. It was truly amazing to witness the beginning of life! The mother was a Ngabe Bugle indian, so her lack of emotion after seeing her new baby for the first time took us by surprise, but it is a part of their culture to not display their feelings.
This past weekend we all drove to Boquete, Panama. On the way we stopped at a boys home for abused/neglected/court ordered boys aged 12-18. We also stopped at a children's home/orphanage and handed out fruit and school supplies. Playing with the children was so much fun, and it was heartbreaking to leave. I wish we could have had more time at the orphanage and hope future groups get to have the same incredible experience we had there.
Boquete is a completely different city than San Felix. It's more elevated, so cooler, and is renowned for its coffee. We got the chance to tour a coffee plantation and learn about that aspect of Panama's culture, not to mention try the delicious coffee! Boquete is more urbanized, and has a downtown area with shops and bars. It's been a fun stay, but back to San Felix we go in a couple of hours!
Panama has been an incredible experience and I can't believe we've been here for 17 days! The time is flying and I can't wait to experience all we have left before we leave on Friday. We only have one more clinical day, one more day in the hospital/presentations, a day to bus ride back to Panama City, one more day to shop in Panama City, and then we're home!
Thanks to everyone who has made this trip such a success and so much fun!