In Nicaragua, we were tasked with aiding villages in need with water sources, public health and sanitation, as well as medical and dental aid. As a pre-health student, I was naive in thinking that all we were really there for were medical and dental aid because that was what I had thought was most important. I quickly learned otherwise when our first service day was to aid in the construction of a pipeline to allow easy access to a village whose closest water source was four miles away. Their residents would have to walk that distance every morning just to get water for the day. I started to wonder why people had to live like this on a daily basis, however at the same time I observed how happy and thankful these people were for what little they had. It showed me how much we take for granted when we live comfortably at home in the United States.
When it came time for our clinic days (medical and dental), I yet again had an ignorant thought that we were going to “save” a village, but no one needed our saving. What they needed was education on how they can prevent certain health problems from recurring. With our charla station, I believe we were able to effectively educate the people on how they can take care of themselves. I realized that what we had been doing with our water and public health days, were forms of prevention for the illnesses we saw on our clinic days. In most places in the world, it can be very difficult financially to visit any type medical professional. What my Global Brigades experience in Nicaragua taught me, was that with the right education and proper preventative measures, we can ease the financial stress on families as well as the time spent on seeing a doctor or a dentist. Overall this experience was very humbling and eye-opening and has encouraged me to continue studies in the medical field to hopefully one day come back to Global Brigades as a medical provider and continue tending to and educating those in need.