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Thursday, May 19, 2016: We’ve bonded. We’ve changed lives. We’ve persevered.

Another 5:30 AM morning. Waking up this early is not normal for me at all, but the foggy sunlight, chirping birds, and chilly breeze made it very easy for me to jump up and start getting ready. Myself and a couple of other students felt a little nauseous this morning. Thankfully, I was only uneasy for a few minutes because of my anti-malaria medication. This may sound strange, but everyone being sick at the same time is a bonding experience of its own.

We arrived at the clinic around 9 AM and went straight to work. Everyone knows the drill now; set up the vitals stations, get in formation, and avoid the sun. My first rotation of the day was dentistry. I helped with setting up supplies, cleaning instruments, and prepping the anesthesia syringe. Dr. Claudia extracted infected teeth, and I saw plenty of blood. This rotation was gory and full of black teeth, crying children, and blood-stained gauze. Most people find these things uncomfortable, but I was still eager to learn in this environment.

My second rotation was shadowing Dr. Rana. Our team is so incredibly lucky to have him with us. He and his father, Dr. Fazal Rana, have been teaching me about bedside manner, patient history, and basic medical concepts. Not only are we getting a "Doctor: 101" lesson, but they are also mentoring us on medical ethics, how to handle unusual scenarios, and culture. They have been so kind to impart their wisdom and experiences on us, and I truly view them as my mentors. All day, Dr. Rana was able to make so many diagnoses based on such little information while also struggling with a language barrier, and this was amazing to me. Given such basic information like blood pressure and blood glucose levels, the doctors in our clinics are able to accomplish so much to change these patients’ lives. During this rotation, I was given the chance to observe as a patient’s blood glucose levels was taken in Dr. Rana's clinic. The patient broke the glucometer scale: “Extreme levels, above 600 mg/dl.” With our continuing hands-on experience, patient interaction is no longer as intimidating as it was five days ago. This trip has allowed me to become more confident in my skills as a pre-medical student.

I ran around, weighed children, and took vitals for the rest of the day. I was worried about making connections with patients because of our language difference, but simple body language and a smile can go a long way. We saw more than 400 patients again, and our team’s dynamic has blossomed. I am so proud of us and everything we have accomplished. We’ve bonded. We’ve changed lives. We’ve persevered.

Tomorrow is our last day, and I get to be in charge and schedule the rotations for one last time. I’m personally not ready for this to be over.

I can’t wait to come back.

-Amelia Khoei, 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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