The experience that I have had while being in Nicaragua has been the experience of a life time. Working in the clinic, we were able to shadow the doctors, take blood pressure and other measurements, count pills for the pharmacy, measure glucose levels and administer insulin shots. Along the way we got to know all of the kids and families that were visiting the clinic and hear their stories. The fantastic part was that the care provided in the clinic was so wonderful and fair that some of the families travelled from 2-3 hours away to visit the clinic. All of them were very patient with us as we got used to taking their measurements and speaking Spanish.
All of my worries in regards to speaking Spanish faded very quickly after arriving because everyone, including the patients, staff and our host families, were focused on helping us learn and did not expect us to speak the language perfectly. I absolutely loved my host family. I got to hear about Doña Esperanza’s life, her time in Nicaragua and got to meet her family over Mother’s Day, which was a great surprise. I also really enjoyed her cooking because every meal was different and she did her best to expose me to as many traditional Nicaraguan foods as possible. My personal favorite was a smoothie/juice that Doña Esperanza would make for breakfast. She would make it with cucumber, celery, ginger, orange juice, pineapple and a few other fruits and even gave me the recipe to take home to share with my family!
The excursions that we participated in kept every day interesting. We got to visit a ceramic town where we learned how they made pottery and got to try to make our own, hike a volcano and go zip lining, explore the beautiful scenery of Granada, take Spanish classes, visit a rural farming family, see a live volcano, go to the beach and lagoon and explore the markets of Masaya. These excursions allowed us to see the tourist side of Granada as well as the more unknown side. We were able to connect with the culture and really enhance the experience that we were already having.
I could not be more thankful for all of the people who helped make my time in Nicaragua unforgettable. My Spanish, understanding of Nicaraguan culture and medical exposure has been increased as a result of this trip and I have learned much more than I ever could have learned in a classroom setting. Not to mention the fact that I made friends and connections in Nicaragua that will last a lifetime. I truly hope that I can return!!