Boston to Guatemala: Clinical Work in Quetzaltenango

by tuftsigl
May 28

Kris Boelitz is a junior majoring in History, and is a member of Tufts Timmy.

I have been down here in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala for just a bit over two weeks now and I can’t believe that my part of the trip is already almost over. I have been spending most of my time working on the Timmy supported projects that occur at Pop Wuj, but have also been assisting at other projects around Pop Wuj. I have been spending most of my time working in the medical clinics that happen 3 or 4 times a week here in Quetzaltenango.

The clinic is run by Pop Wuj, with support from Timmy and employs two Guatemalan doctors and has many volunteers with different levels of medical and Spanish abilities from the school. I have been working in these clinics to both better understand the population and their issues and to further the mission of Timmy by providing Spanish translation and assisting in the clinic. In the clinic, I have been mostly working on performing patient histories and triage, which has allowed me to have a much greater understanding of the patient population and has given me further ideas on how we can most effectively promote both cleaner water and an overall healthier lifestyle in and around the Western Highlands of Guatemala. Hopefully this knowledge I have gained can assist Nick in his work later in the summer and the work we do while we are both in Boston.

While working in the mobile clinic we also conducted public health interviews, and with that knowledge we hopefully can begin to implement more public health education in all Timmy supported clinics.

Additionally, I myself have been taking Spanish classes and cultural competency classes here in Quetzaltenango, which has greatly helped me in becoming conscious of the culture itself. Being able to clearly communicate and understand a culture is key while working with on issues related to health, as they often are very sensitive and personal. I think this knowledge will allow us to continue to work more closely with the community itself.

Finally, I have also been able to have a little time to explore Quetzaltenango and Western Guatemala.

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