Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Today we visited a small school in Antigua for kids from Kindergarten to the 6th grade. When we arrived, all the kids started staring at us from the windows of the classrooms. They seemed pretty excited to see a bunch of Americans standing around outside. We were at the school to give presentations on how to wash your hands in addition to providing an anti-parasitic pill to each student. I was so nervous to talk to a bunch of eight year olds, which is so odd for me. I love being around kids, but speaking Spanish to them was pretty nerve racking. I messed up many times, but I don’t think they minded too much! While at the school we were around for their recess. I don’t ever remember my recesses being so crazy!! However, it was a great reminder that laughter is universal, and with kids, there is never a shortage of laughter. (Even if it means them laughing at your lack of Spanish!)

After visiting the school, we took a tour of Hospital Nacional Pedro de Bethancourt, the national hospital of Sacatepequez, the state where we are living. The tour was given in very fast spoken Spanish, but from what we all could pick up, I learned that the hospital is very different from what we have in the states. The most shocking thing was that it only has two nurses for about eighty patients because they cannot afford to hire anyone else. With only two hundred beds, some hallways were filled with sick patients, while others were turned into waiting rooms. The mothers of kids in the pediatric wing had to be the ones to provide care to their children because there weren’t enough nurses to do so, and starting just last year, the hospital was finally able to provide clean water to their patients, but still can’t provide food to their employees due to lack of finances. The care provided is completely free, but the lack of resources is a major issue.

I walked through the hallways and couldn’t help but compare it to the halls of Cardinal Glennon back at SLU. Everything in CG is new, bright, and clean. Nurses, doctors, therapists, and volunteers are always around. Taking a dinner break in the cafeteria means having your choice of five or more different types of warm food, with enough sides and snacks to last throughout all the long hours of studying we do. But here, a mother not only has to worry about her child as a mom, she also has to be a nurse, providing care that the States has professionals to do each and every day. What a difference.


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