GLA’s Global Health Initiative program is a primer for studying medicine or public health in the developing world. A university-level program, it’s designed to give a progressive experience— challenging preconceptions of health with new experiences, and guidance from attending medical and public health professionals working in the field.
Global Health Initiative Itinerary
Please note: Activities may happen on different days due to weather or community needs. This is a tentative itinerary.
|1||Arrival in Santo Domingo and Night in Colonial zone|
|2||Travel to Barahona, Orientation at Homebase and have clinic orientation|
|3||1st Health Brigade|
|4||Repairs and reparation of health facility|
|5||Travel to Jimani Border town and Lago Enriquillo|
|6||2nd Health Brigade|
|7||Town water pump house restoration at the world’s shortest river|
|8||Travel to Cachote cloud forest village|
|9||Repairs and reparation of health facility|
|10||Town water tank restoration|
|11||3rd Health Brigade at Las Filipinas Mining community|
|12||Repairs and reparation of health facility|
|13||Activity Day: Boat ride to Playa De Las Aguilas and snorkel|
|14||Return to Santo Domingo and fly home|
Our first work day of the trip! We traveled to Los Cocos to help with the construction of the local school using plastic bottles. We left feeling both incredibly sweaty and incredibly grateful for this experience. A standout for a lot of us was playing soccer, kickball, and volleyball with the local kids. It was really exhausting getting demolished by the children, but really cool to see how we could connect in another way despite the language barrier. It was great to see how the community was so active and helpful in building the walls out of bottles with us. It really brought it home for us that this work was so important to the community, especially the kids.
When we got back many of us spent our free time enjoying the beautiful beach down the road. After dinner (taco night!) we played a game that taught us more about global health and how important it is in both developed and developing nations.
We’re very excited for our first clinic day tomorrow!”
Written By: Emma and Alexander
Today was our first clinic day! Being in the clinic today was a big eye opening experience for us because it was vastly different that what we were expecting. The clinic serves close to 5000 people in 6 communities, but the shocking part is that there are only 2 doctors, 2 pharmacy staff, and a single nurse. The more we talked, the more we noticed the differences between healthcare in DR and the US. It was shocking to us that it was up to the patient to arrive to the clinic considering the conditions of the road. The only ambulance that the communities shared burned down a couple of months ago and there is no 911 service in the entire province. After we got back to the home base we had a cooking class and got to make fried yuca bites and they were soooooo good.
Today, we went to a mountain community named Cachote. To get to this community we had to leave behind our bus for 4X4 off-road trucks with roll cage seating styles in the bed that made the trucks feel like “Indiana Jones”.
In the community of Cachote we repaired and painted the communities water storage tanks, which allow the members of the community to have access to cleaner drinking water. Our lunch was prepared by a community member who cooked and we enjoyed chicken, rice, vegetables, fruits, and salad while sitting in the community member’s front yard. After completing our repairs and painting of the water storage tanks we loaded back into the 4X4 trucks and travelled back to the home base for a crash course on Merengue dancing.
Date: July 10, 2017
Authors: Madeline P. & Katina H.
Today we were all pushed to the limit both mentally and physically by renovating and working on the roof of the soon to be health clinic lab. It was a thrilling and stimulating experience. Our fellow students worked on the top of the health clinic lab, laying out the cement which was an extremely hard task in addition to the fact that we were standing of the middle of a field in the sun. It is these moments which truly emphasize the extreme importance of hydration and sun protection. While some fellow students worked on the health clinic lab, others enjoyed the company of community children eager to play, run and interact. Some of these children are younger than our fellow students and it is a great experience to see fellow GLA students overcoming the language barrier and creating bonds with community children and their families.
Author: Katie and Juliana
– Arriving a few hours before noon the (border market Jimani) sight was breathtaking! The mountains arose in the distance reminded me of those in Greece, or the Himalayas or the Great Wall of China; You have to see it with your own eyes to know what we mean! The mountains are even more amazing up close, there were sites filled with carvings drawn by Taino Indians prior to the colonization of the island by the Spanish. These carvings are relics left behind by the indigenous and now extinct peoples of the island. However only speaking of Lago Enriquillo’s surroundings would not do it justice, lago (lake ) Enriquillo has a very rich history but it’s greatest impact has been that on the living communities around the lake. Its rapid expansion between 2003 and 2015 led to the displacement and relocation of an entire town – Boca de Cachon (mouth of Cachon) to a whole new region. The Town lost farmland and it’s community was displaced as a consequence and social tensions of ”Enriquillo wrath” didn’t end there. The lake’s expansion killed off many species, forcing predators in the region to flee!
After a boat tour and a hike up one of the mountains we were on a 3 hour ride home or so we thought! The only road leading to Jimani was blocked by a local community strike and we were forced to turn around long story short the day ended with a 13 hour drive that left us exhausted hopefully that never happens again!
Today we woke up bright and early at 5:30am to travel to Jimani a Dominican – Haitian Market place. Halfway through the ride we encountered a literal bump in the road when the road was blocked because of a community strike. The community was striking because the government has refused for 3 years to improve the communities’ hospitals and clinics. Because of the strike we had to change directions and head straight to Lake Enriquillo to visit its waters and sight see in its vast wildlife that included huge iguanas.
In a movie Called Poverty inc., we learned that people’s attempts to be helpful aren’t as they may think. For example, the shoe company TOMS made a promise that they would donate a pair of shoes to a child in need when someone makes a purchase of their shoes. TOMS didn’t take into account the fact that there was a preexisting shoe maker in the town of the children in need. The community member of the children in need who was the shoe maker was put out of business because of their lack of social awareness. From this, we learned the importance of checking the situation before bombarding them unnecessary aid and assistance.
Today we were renovating a clinic in Los Patos that we had visited before. We had helped paint the walls, ceilings, window frames and the doors of the clinic. Our day started quite nice. Our breakfast consists of cinnamon toast, oatmeal, fruits and hushpuppies. And these hushpuppies are really really really delicious. They are like a fried pancake or more like a fried dough. It was a sweet and savory and ultimately extremely delicious. During our time renovating and painting at the clinic, everyone was having a great time. We were able to get our work done and in the end, everyone was covered with paint all over their hands, shirts and pants. It was quite funny. When we came back to home base, after a long day of painting, everyone went to the pool to hangout and to swim overall today was a nice day. We did not need to do hard labor and had time to relax and to rest as well.
Our final work day at the Juan Esteban clinic went by quickly. Everyone was working hard and connecting with the patients keeping the clinic running smoothly to refuel our students a delicious meatball lunch was devoured. Because of everyone’s hard work we left early and got back to home base. Next we had time to pack and relax by the pool where local craftsman sold their merchandise for one of our last meals together we enjoyed a good old American hot dog!
During supper the mentors announced…. Stay tuned for the last blog post!!!!
Authors: Ashley & Sarah