Challenges medical mission july 2022


Fundación Clavel’s second volunteer medical mission of the year has ended, and we want to share our thoughts on the experience and what we learned. We asked our team member, nurse Lara Gonzaléz.

When dealing with patients there, there are big challenges: the difference in language and the difference in culture. For communication between patient and doctor, a translator is needed. The issue of cultural difference with regard to understanding of medicine, is another challenge. As Lara says, “The patient usually goes to the doctor only as a last option after having gone to the traditional healer or having tried other types of remedies. As result, the time they see the doctor, their pathology is already very advanced and treatment is more difficult.”

There are other difficulties to overcome, such as lack of adequate material and the condition of the facilities. "The material is very old, sometimes the instruments are not sharp, they do not cut, they get stuck, and it is not easy to get new ones," she says.

"Despite all this, although it takes more time and effort, surgeries are performed. They have few means but they do a great job. They are great at adapting and finding a way to solve the situation," she says. This turns out to be one of the key take-aways that our volunteers bring home from the missions: learning to solve a variety of problems with hardly any resources. 

Despite these complications, the team has returned home happy for the things they learned that will help them grow both professionally and personally.