Neethu Athimattahil was part of a Global Health team last December. We reached out to her to ask her about her experience, and she shared this story with us.
In December of 2014, I had the wonderful opportunity to go on a service trip with ISL to Baja, Mexico. I was a nervous wreck leading up to my trip, not knowing a single soul on the trip or what to expect once I got there. I met my team in Phoenix, AZ and from there it was a 4-hour drive to Puerto Penasco. By this time, my nervousness had disappeared with the comfort of already having new friends.
We stayed in beautiful houses right on the beach and were given a seminar on the first night to go over safety and health during our trip. Emailed to us before our trip were several packets filled with Spanish terms we should try to memorize, common diseases in the area, cultural aspects, and ways to keep up our health during our stay. This was so helpful in preparing me for the trip. Our host and her daughter were so amazing and sweet the entire trip making sure we were safe and enjoying our time. It was an incredible experience to be part of the global health team as we went house to house taking government surveys and blood pressures.
We also had a few community clinics where locals came to get checked by doctors and nurses. This was an excellent way to not only immerse ourselves in the culture but to also see how the medical field is in different places. On most evenings, we would meet to have a seminar on various topics taught to us by doctors and nurses from the local hospital. Practicing injections and suturing on oranges is an experience I will never forget! I met so many memorable people that were a part of ISF and was able to tour the area as well. I appreciated the attitudes of people we visited because even though they did not have much, they smiled and were kind. Many opened up their homes to us, and most were willing to talk to us and answer any questions we had.
I learned so much and grew so close to the group of girls I lived with. It was just so enjoyable to work hard most of the day and go to bed knowing we had made a difference. I loved that we were not just doing something just for the sake of doing something for a trip, but we made an impact and helped people who would not get it otherwise. I have a renewed love for the medical field and more of a determination to accomplish the goals I have set for myself. I am so glad I went and did not want to leave! I am delighted I have memories I can always hold onto and that I have met friends in the medical field that I will always stay in touch.