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Monday, May 16, 2016: No comprendo, pero disfruto

Today was the first day to work in the clinic and put our medical training to the test. In theory, we had an idea of what we were doing and what we signed up for. In reality, there was no way we could have been prepared for this.

After two days of relaxing and sightseeing, jumping into work at the clinic was a sudden change. It started with the 5:30 AM wake up call, which was against the norm for most college students. Soon after breakfast, and a necessary nap in the car, everyone was up and about and ready to get to work. The moment we entered the clinic it was an exhilarating yet overwhelming rush. However, after just a few minutes into the first shift, we found a natural rhythm. Although I, like others, felt like we were thrown into the medical arena facing a rush of patients, we came out alive and with new skills and experiences. Between taking vital signs, organizing the pharmacy, shadowing, taking weight, and shadowing in dentistry, our team has had such a diverse experience in just one day that most pre-medical students do during the course of a several months. Yet, a diverse experience also encompasses a hectic one. Switching from station to station, there was no time for a learning curve, rather we propelled straight into the pandemonium.

In the unfamiliar world of Guatemala, the cultural and language barrier was almost insurmountable. The doctors we were shadowing, the labeling of the medicines in the pharmacy, and the most challenging, interacting with patients, were all responsibilities that we had to accomplish despite the communication constraints. But, like everything else, as a talented pre-medical volunteer team, we managed to grasp the basic concept of what the patients and the doctors were trying to say.

Ultimately, as the title suggests, we struggled to comprehend exactly what was going on, but we still managed to enjoy the experience of helping over 400 patients and interacting with a myriad of medical professionals. As an ending note, we might be up in the mountains already, but there is so much more left to climb.

- Divya Chilukuri, Humanity First student volunteer

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Humanity First is registered in 43 countries across 6 continents, and has been working on human development projects and responding to disasters since 1994. These have included the earthquakes in Turkey, Pakistan, Japan and Iran, floods in Africa and Latin America, hurricanes (Katrina and Rita) , tornado's (Kansas) and wild fires (California) in the USA, Indonesia and Bangladesh, and conflicts in Eastern Europe.

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Since its inception and IRS registration in 2004, Humanity First has been focused on spending most of the raised funds on direct program related expenses. As a result, more than 90% of its funds are in that expense category. This is achieved through dedicated volunteers in its management, and program operation teams.

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