Manos Abiertas: Two Weeks Down

Hey everyone! So my name is Erica Fuller and I am just wrapping up my second week as a midwife intern at Manos Abiertas in Ciudad Vieja, Guatemala. I can’t believe that time has already flown by this quickly! I have absolutely loved my time thus far in Guatemala. Ciudad Vieja itself is a very residential town, but very close by is Antigua which has many wonderful restaurants and activities which myself and my fellow interns have enjoyed.

The clinic is beautiful. There is a little open garden in the middle and the halls are all full of posters stating the rights of women and the joys of pregnancy.

There are currently four interns, three of us are from Tulane. We live in the back so we spend a lot of time cleaning and making sure everything is ready for the next morning. As for office hours, we are able to divide the work pretty well. We break into morning and evening shifts. If you are in on the appointments in the morning, you are on cleaning duty in the afternoon. In the down time, we study midwifery from textbooks in the clinic.

These first couple of weeks has been mainly about observation. I sit in on appointments with the midwives and the pediatrician when she is here and try to assist in any way I can. Spanish is a little difficult at times for me to completely understand because the midwives use such specific terms, but I am slowly getting the hang of it. During appointments, I have weight and blood pressure, which I am proud to say I am now an expert at taking. I also get to feel the position of baby which is very exciting. Today I was asked to find the baby’s heart for the first time! There are six births pending within the week so hopefully, the next time I blog I can tell y’all about assisting births.

In the short time I have been here, I have already learned so much. Prior to this internship, my knowledge on pregnancy and gynecology was bare minimum. Two weeks in and I able to discuss signs of STDs, prenatal health and birth risks. By the end of the summer, I hope to have a great grasp on the field and Spanish.

I heard about the internship at Manos Abiertas through the public health major’s capstone presentations last fall. A student had gone here the previous summer and had loved her experience. After talking with her a few times, I decided that I had to apply.

If I had to give advice to someone looking for a internship, I would say ask the people you know. Ask people in your major, ask professors, and ask family friends. Even if an internship might not be directly related to your field of study, if you are interested in it, apply. You never know where it could lead.

Anyways, until next time.

Photo credits to my fellow intern Amy Grossman who has become our unofficial photographer here at the clinic.

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