Volunteer Guatemala

Volunteer in Guatemala Xela Review Elizabeth Fox Clinic Outpost

ABV is an excellent organization and I highly recommend it. This was my first volunteer experience, and I´m so happy I chose ABV. I´m a nursing student and came with two friends. It made the experience so much better. The independence given to us in the clinical setting was rewarding. Some days there were not many patients but we cleaned and organized and felt useful. It was perfect that one of our friends spoke Spanish, and could translate for us.

Volunteer in Guatemala Xela Review Elizabeth Fox Clinic Outpost

  1. How were the local ABV coordinators and the support provided in-country?

They were wonderful. We were picked up and taken to host family, and all questions were answered. She helped to coordinate all travel while in Xela and make us feel comfortable.

  1. What was the most surprising thing you experienced?

The people were so very warm and inviting, even though we had huge language barriers. They always smiled and said hello on the street and were appreciative of all care. Everything is so inexpensive. Surprised we were given the opportunity to do patient consults. Amazing.

  1. What was most difficult to experience?

The pollution or air quality while walking, due to no smog control on cars. It sometimes made breathing more difficult. The language barrier is tough for the first few days at the clinic. I was exhausted from learning, and 4 hours of Spanish was too much! 😉

Volunteer in Guatemala
Volunteer in Guatemala
  1. Any tips for future volunteers? (clothing, travel, personal items, donations, etc. ?

My sleeping bag was the best item for this cold weather! Bring layers and thermals. Bring a journal. You will use it everyday at night and also at the clinic. Take notes. Try to bring Quetzales before you arrive. Bring enough clothes or use wash service. SNACKS!

Donations: Pulse oximeter, batteries for baby Doppler, more Dopplers

I brought an iPad. Have movies downloaded to watch at night. It was fun! Go to dinner or other meal. It´s cheap and fun. We went to Crossfit Xela and the mall, good experience.

Volunteer in Guatemala

  1. Other things volunteers should know?
    a.
    Be prepared to do a lot of education with patients. Don´t assume they know how to feed babies or how often breastfeed.

b. Jump in. Scary but just do it. Write things down.

c. Allow extra days to travel

d. There was no set schedule or formal written instructions at the clinic. Example: vaccines – we had to learn on the spot and didn´t know names (their different in the USA).

e. Serious lack of hand hygiene. Bring gloves and hand sanitizer, and show education.

  1. ABV program testimonial (write in your own words about your experience):

ABV is an excellent organization and I highly recommend it. This was my first volunteer experience, and I´m so happy I chose ABV. I´m a nursing student and came with two friends. It made the experience so much better. The independence given to us in the clinical setting was rewarding. Some days there were not many patients but we cleaned and organized and felt useful. It was perfect that one of our friends spoke Spanish, and could translate for us.

  1. How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security (e.g. host family, on-site, shared)

Our host family is wonderful and always sits with us. We loved a house of all women. We loved the house and set up with private rooms. Perfect for me. It was cold, but to be expected. Security was great. Meals good but I need more vegetables and fruit and less bread!

Volunteer Guatemala
Volunteer Guatemala
  1. What was your favorite memory of this trip?

Walking to the clinic with my friends! Always a new experience. We felt safe. We went out to dinner and lunch and had amazing meals. DO THIS!!

  1. How was the ABV USA support prior to travelling?

Excellent; Sarah always emailed back immediately and answered all questions.

  1. Are you willing to speak to potential ABV volunteers?

Absolutely!!

* About Spanish class

Our instructors were wonderful. We cut class short a few days but that was ok. Have them take you shopping, to the bank or anywhere else. Good learning experience.

Guatemala Programs

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