How would you describe/rate your experience working with the ABV staff in the USA?
My experience working with the ABV staff in the USA was incredibly positive. The staff was both prompt and helpful in answering any questions and in relaying necessary information.
How was the local ABV Director and the support provided in-country?
The local ABV Director and support in-country were very kind and easy to interact with. The in-country staff and support were easy to get in contact with, and they were more than willing to assist in clarifying any concerns and clearing up any questions.
What was your favorite memory of this trip? I cannot pinpoint a favorite memory from this trip because I thoroughly enjoyed each and every day I spent in the clinic. The patients and staff were so incredibly generous, and they truly filled each and every day with new learning experiences and heartfelt conversations that I will always carry with me. Despite all of the challenges and obstacles the people of Guatemala face, they are the most loving and caring people I have ever had the privilege of knowing, and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to share in their lives.
What was the most difficult thing you experienced?
The most difficult element of the trip was experiencing and learning of the hardships most Guatemalans struggle with on a daily basis. There is a great deal of frustration in confronting the inequalities that exist both within Guatemala and between Guatemala and the United States. It is very difficult to process the realities of poverty in Guatemala, and even more challenging to establish a solution to these unfortunate realities. Furthermore, we unfortunately live in a world that creates barriers amongst people from different ways of life, so one of my greatest struggles in Guatemala was figuring out ways to work around and overcome such barriers in order to establish meaningful relationships with the incredible people I was blessed to meet. Beyond any difficulties and challenges associated with my time in Guatemala, it was a truly remarkable and life-changing experience that I will forever hold dear to me.
What was the one thing you wished you were better prepared for?
The one thing I wish I were better prepared for was the language barrier. Though I worked to better my Spanish leading up to my time in Guatemala, I do not feel as though I was as prepared as I should have been. I always felt guilty when patients would try to relay important information to me, some of which I understood, but I could not respond back in an appropriate fashion.
Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc)
o Hydrocortisone cream
o Children’s vitamins
• Personal items
o Lake Atitlan
o Valhalla Macadamia Nut Farm
Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):
I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity I had as an ABV volunteer, as it was truly one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. My time in Guatemala opened my mind to new horizons, and reaffirmed my decision to dedicate my life to serving others as a physician. The ABV program allowed me to gain an in-depth perspective of a wide variety of aspects of life in Guatemala, including its cultural prosperity and rich social customs. The relationships I formed while in Guatemala will forever remain close to my heart, as there is not a day that goes by that I do not look back to my time in Guatemala. The ABV staff was remarkable in their efforts to ensure a phenomenal, well-balanced experience, and I am eternally thankful for their contribution to guaranteeing that my experience surpassed all expectations. I will always look back on my time in Guatemala as an ABV volunteer with a smile and a warm heart.
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Danielle Volunteer Abroad in Antigua, Guatemala
Volunteer Name: Danielle Lucchesi
Project Location: Antigua, Guatemala
Program Dates: 7/31/12- 8/13/12
Volunteered At: Centro de Salud
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