Panama

Kelly Lew

Where did you serve? 

I served in a medical clinic in Zapallal, Panama for a week! We took a local high school and turned it into a two-day clinic that had triage, doctor consult, a dentist department and a pharmacy.

 

Were there any moments of culture shock that really stood out? 

It was so surprising that most of the people who had medical problems like parasites and headaches simply lacked clean water. I think it’s really something that we take for granted. I was also touched by the parents who brought their children from far away communities.

 

What organization did you serve with? Does it have a UCLA connection?

I served with Global Medical Brigades from UCLA along with Global Dental Brigades, who worked in the clinic with us.

 

Why did you choose this organization and location?

It was the first time for Global Medical Brigades to go to Panama, and I felt that these medical brigades are meant to open the doors to even more help. After making the first step in this community, public health, water, and micro-finance brigades can help continue to build the community even more so that they become self-sustainable.

 

What lessons have you learned from your volunteer experience?

What you get out of the experience is what you give into it. I think that because I really tried to speak Spanish and get to know the patients, they taught me so many things in return. I admired their love for each family member and their ability to smile even when we weren’t able to fully cure them. I hope that even with our limitations as a clinic, we are still able to make a difference in as many communities as we can.

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The More You Know

Country Served Panama
Panamanians with access to Proper Sanitation 74%
Service Organization Global Medical Brigades at UCLA
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