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Monday, May 23, 2016: First Day Experience

Today was the day: our first day in clinic! I was both nervous and excited at the same time, and wondered to myself: Will I be able to use the skills taught to us in vitals class well? Will I be able to converse fluently with the patients since, my knowledge of Spanish was limited? All these and many other questions were running through my mind as we parked our van in front of the clinic at 8 in morning. However, my nervousness vanished away when I took my very first vitals on a sweet, Guatemalan woman during my first shift. Even though I was clumsy, my patient graciously awaited my procedures! Her smile never left her face, even after I was done with her. I took vitals on over 30 patients.

Not only did I get to experience direct patient contact, but I also got to work behind the pharmacy counter, where I learned the names of different medicines and how to read prescriptions in Spanish. I want to help Hispanic patients back home in Texas and learning the Spanish translation of different medicine will only boost my cultural awareness and global perspective of patient care. Working behind the pharmacy counter, I realized how limited resources can be. The reality is that the extent of the treatment we can provide to our patients in a mobile clinic is limited.

The clinic waxed and waned in terms of the crowd, so in between the low time we all got to rest and practice our blood pressure checking and Spanish skills. By the end of the first day of clinic, we were all tired; but we felt content and happy with our journey, while recognizing that our stay in this exquisite villa really contrasts with the daily reality for many people in Guatemala.

- Keziah Thomas, 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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