Over two dozen students from Des Moines University are in a warmer climate for spring break, but the are on a working trip, not a vacation. Student Ashley Rivera says they will be using their medical skills while in Honduras.
“We spend four days in a community down there and we set up a mobile clinic type of thing and people are seen for various medical issue,” she explains. “We saw about a thousand patients in four days last year, and probably gonna see hopefully about the same this year.
Rivera says the DMU students get a new perspective on the world during this trip. “It’s a lot of eye-opening and just seeing how things are different outside the U.S., you know we’re very privileged for the most part here,” Rivera says. “Just seeing how other people live and how grateful they are for very little bit of help they get. They may only see a doctor one time a year, so when we go down there we really try to get everything cover and be sure all their concerns are being met.”
Rivera is a second-year medical student, and says the trip also gives students a chance to learn more about the health profession. She says they get a chance to meet people in other programs, such a physician assistants, and those who are in different parts of the health care field that they don’t normally see in class.
Residents from Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines and students and faculty from Drake University are also on the trip. Rivera says they gain some practical medical experience along with the other benefits.
“The providers that come down with us are really awesome teachers, so it’s a really cool way to see how what we are learning here — in the classroom it doesn’t seem applicable sometimes — and we go out and actually see openings for a hand, where normally you wouldn’t get that until your third of fourth year — so it’s a little taste of what’s to come,” Rivera says.
She says it’s the ninth annual trip for the school and the third straight to Honduras. “People are so grateful — I mean we go into a lot of communities that do want us which I think helps a lot — but people there have so little and they are so appreciative for it,” Rivera says.
“We bring down hygiene packets of things like vitamins and soap, band aids and things that they don’t have access to every day. It’s kind of neat to see the things that we just take for granted I guess.”
The DMU group will be in the country through the 24th of the month.