Thursday, May 3, 2012

¡Adios Amigos!

Thank you so very much for your support of the 2012 UNC PT Outreach service learning trip to Guatemala! We have been on an amazing adventure full of life lessons and experiences we will remember forever! Over the course of our eight day trip our team provided seven educational presentations to the therapists of Las Obras, educators and families of Ensename a Pescar, and the health care providers and patients of Clinicas Medicas San Jose. Forty pairs of shoes were donated to the rural health clinic Clinicas Medicas San Jose. And heaping piles of notebooks, pencils, Spanish language workbooks, flashcards, crayons, and even more school supplies were donated to Ensename a Pescar, the school for children with disabilities. The UNC PT Outreach team gained a rich appreciation of the Guatemalan culture on a community tour of homes, a trip to visit local farms, eating traditional Guatemalan foods, shopping in the local markets, and through our communication with the local Guatemalan people. We greatly appreciate all that you have done to support this trip and learning experience!  We hope that you will be inspired to reach out to help in your own community or consider supporting the 2013 UNC PT Outreach Trip!

Until next year, adios amigos!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hola family and friends.  Our last day Guatemala was an awesome experience.  It began with treatment of pediatric patients.  The student were split into 4 groups and worked with patients with various complexities.

Following that experience, there was a break where students sought to pick up last minute souvenirs and gifts for themselves and loved ones.  The group reconvened at 2 o'clock and prepared for a fun-filled day at the Central Square with selected patients.  Patients from the pediatric, young adult, and geriatric sections were gathered and escorted to the Central Square.  Upon arrival, the patients were given icecream and entertained with song and dance by the Outreach team.  Some patients even joined in during the "Hokie Pokie" dance!

The Central Square was full of excitement with a Guatemalan "clown" performing various acts and tricks.  The patients grinned from ear to ear during the performance and seemed very grateful for the experience.  The social outing finished with a trip to the local church.  Goodbyes were tough for both the patients and the Outreach team.  The impact on the patients' spirits were evident, but the even bigger impact was the one they made on us.  We all leave Guatemala in high spirits and hopeful that our trip was meaningful!


Monday, April 30, 2012

After a relaxing and fun packed weekend we all got back to work at Las Obras hospital early Monday morning. Leigh, Katie and Sayde started the day off in the nursery where Leigh gave her Capstone presentation on infant positioning and feeding techniques. Katherine, Christina, Nikki, Sam, Amanda N., and Darcy spent the morning with the young adults and Amanda and Aisha worked in the pediatrics department. Derrick and Kate went to Spanish class and worked on fine tuning their Spanish language skills. After a quick lunch in the town square we all split into two groups. Half of us went to the school where Katie and Leigh gave presentations to the families of the children that attend the school. After the presentation the faculty and students had a “workshop” where parents could ask questions and get ideas about ways to treat their children in the home. The families and school staff seemed very appreciative of our attendance and showed us much gratitude. After treating several different children, the UNC PT group presented the school with all types of school supplies. They followed it up with a quick game of soccer in the school yard. The other half of the group spent the afternoon at the clinic at Pastores where Nikki presented almost 40 pairs of shoes she had collected to donate to those in need. The group saw several families and educated them on positioning, nutrition, and various PT techniques they could try at home. The group is excited to spend the last day in Guatemala enjoying ice cream with the patients at Las Obras.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hola from Guatemala! Today our group enjoyed some much needed down time. The day started early for Lisa, Katie, Katherine, Sam, Leigh, and Amanda when they were picked up at 7am by Hugo the tour guide to spend the day at the beach. The group enjoyed the drive and learned that cashews came from a fruit when stopping at a roadside produce stand (we now have a better understanding of why a small bag is so expensive considering that each fruit only produces one cashew). After arriving at the beach they enjoyed a relaxing day in the ocean and lounging in the black sand and hammocks. At lunch a few of the girls were even brave enough to order a whole fish (eyes, teeth, and all).

While one group was enjoying time at the beach Aisha, Christina, Nikki, and Derrick decided to spend the day exploring the areas surrounding Antigua. They visited the Mayan Ruins located about an hour and a half outside the city. They really enjoyed touring the beautiful ancient city, and then returned home to do some shopping at the local market. The night ended with a dinner and wine on the roof, and a fun game night! We are all looking forward to another fun day at the hospital tomorrow morning, and the local school in the afternoon.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Today we took a little break from working hard and got up early to hike. Volcan Pacaya is an active volcano about an hour drive from Antigua. Our tour guide, Hugo, told the story of Pacaya’s last eruption, which occurred two years ago. The face of the volcano has changed from when UNC PT first hiked the same trail two years ago, when the side of the mountain was covered in plants and the peak was a perfect point. Now, the volcano is open at the top and the side is covered in black rock.
After trekking for an hour and a half (of course stopping for many photo shoots along the way), we took a break to roast marshmallows and toast some delicious sandwiches in a natural oven in the side of the volcano. Hugo brought along fresh mango, chocolate orange and banana bread, and firecrackers to enjoy with our lunch. On the way back to our cars, we took the scenic route to “ski” down the side of the volcano. Some creativity was involved in everyone figuring out their own technique for descent. After shaking out our shoes, we finished the beautiful hike and headed back to Antigua.
In the afternoon, groups split up to enjoy the town and attend some workshops. Afternoon experiences included learning to make jade jewelry, making your own hot cocoa and chocolate bars from cacao beans, and lounging by a nearby pool. In the evening, the leadership team went to Santo Domingo to enjoy dinner with a nice view while the students stayed near the square and enjoyed some authentic Guatemalan cuisine followed by some bachata dancing.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Today we started out by returning to Las Obras hospital. Amanda, Leigh, and Katherine worked in the nursery, Sam had the opportunity to work with orthepedics, while Derrick, Aisha, Nikki, and Christina worked with the young adults. The morning went by fast and this afternoon both Derrick and Aisha gave their presentations. Derrick went first showing his presentation on low back pain prevention with the staff. Aisha led the way next with her presentation on a diabetes foot ulcer risk examination tool. After the presentations were carried out, Aisha led a lab session next to have the therapists practice the administration of the tool. Lunch was then provided by the UNC group for all the therapy staff at Las Obras to wind down the morning and to say thank you. Later in the afternoon Derrick, Lisa, and Aisha traveled to the clinic in Pastores to once again present their materials to the staff there. The staff at Pastores was very welcoming to the group as we brought them toothpaste, tooth brushes, and other supplies for the clinic. Both groups were very excited about the presentations and expressed their interests. The day was finished with shopping in the artisan market were the students purchased gifts for loved ones.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

2nd clinical day

Our day began at Las Obras this morning. We started a bit earlier with one group in the orthopedics section and another in the nursery. Later in the morning, we covered other areas such pediatrics, geriatrics and young adults. Our day was cut short at Las Obras because we visited a different area in the afternoon. In the afternoon, we took a 20 minute trip outside of Antigua to a rural town called Alotenango. Our journey to this town began at a school called “Ensename a Pescar”, founded in 2010 to fulfill the needs of the community to educate children with disabilities. We took a tour of the classrooms and saw the smiling faces of the children as well as learned a bit from their teachers. We continued by doing a community tour and visited 3 different homes. This was an eye-opening tour that allowed us to understand the daily lives of these individuals. These families welcomed us openly into their home and shared with us some aspects of their lives. The day ended with a brief meeting with us reflecting on our experiences for the day.
Stay tune for tomorrow, we will have 2 students presenting their capstone projects in Las Obras and a clinic in Pastores.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

We began our very first day in the local hospital, Las Obras. Upon entry the staff greeted us with open arms and were happy to see us.
After a brief tour of the hospital, we were eager to meet the patients. We were divided into groups to cover young adults, geriatrics, and pediatric sections of the hospital. In collaboration with the staff, treatments provided included gait training, bed mobility, balance training, development of motor skills, and joint mobilizations. The patients were very excited to see us and were happy to participate in therapy. Our day concluded with a Guatemalan style dinner which was cooked in our condominium.
Over dinner we reflected on our various experiences throughout the day. Overall, we were pleased about the work we were able to provide today. Stay tuned to see what tomorrow has in store for us!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hello from Antigua!

Hello from Antigua! After an early morning of traveling we have safely made it to Guatemala and are happy to report we are already well on our way on a wonderful adventure! Once we arrived in Guatemala we exchanged our American dollars for Guatemalan Quetzals at an exchange rate of approximately $1 dollar for 7Quetzals. An hour taxi ride brought us from Guatemala City into Antigua where we settled in at our very nice accommodations. We had a quick bite to eat in the Antigua Central Square and then were off to our first excursion, a coffee farm tour. We hiked up a hillside and learned all about the coffee trees and were given the opportunity to pick our own coffee beans.
Later, at the home of the farmer we practiced hand-shucking the beans and operating a bicycle-powered shucking machine. Next came toasting the beans over a wood burning stove in the home and grinding beans on an old fashioned grindstone, all of which we got to try ourselves.
At the end of it all we enjoyed a cup of delicious Guatemalan coffee! Delicious! We dined this evening at a neat rooftop restaurant and celebrated Derrick’s birthday complete with cervezas! Tomorrow we begin working at the local hospital, Las Obras. Check back for more tales from our Guatemalan adventure tomorrow!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Countdown to UNC PT Outreach 2012 coming to a close!

Hello Friends of UNC PT Outreach!

The countdown to the UNC Physical Therapy Outreach Service Learning Trip to Guatemala 2012 is coming to a close! By this time tomorrow our group will have landed in Guatemala City, Guatemala and be well on the way to an amazing and rewarding adventure! Please continue to check back here on the blog for daily updates (through May 2nd) about our time in the clinics and the fun we are having on excursions. Thank you all for your support and encouragement!


Students: Katherine Culver, Christina Gray, Aisha Jones, Leigh McLaughlin, Nikki Oladele, Derrick O’Neal, Samantha Price, and Amanda Reed
Advisors: Sadye Paez Errickson, Lisa Johnston, Katie Ollendick
Alumnae: Darcy Little, Catherine Noonan, and Amanda Niles