Only the Beginning…

At 5:30 am, the roosters begin to crow! We are awakened but struggle to enjoy the final two hours of sleep left before it was actually time to get dressed and head out for our busy first service day. We all met promptly at 8:15am ready to divide into our groups of three for our daily assignments. Before departing, we were fortunate enough to meet Mr. Shaun Ingraham. He shared with us the efforts of One Eleuthera, including strengthening Eleuthera’s economy and healthcare system. Most notably, Eleuthera will be hosting the first “Earth Day” benefit concert here on the island on April 22nd which I found to be very exciting news!
We all then went our separate ways into Elethera’s primary and high schools, and also the clinics for an exciting day of learning, teaching, and healing!

I was assigned to Tarpum Bay clinic, just blocks away from where we are staying. As we arrived to the pink building, home of the post office, police station, and clinic, I grew more eager to get inside. My group members, Lauren Settle and Brette Winston and I met Nurse Ingraham, Nurse Rolle, Mrs. Kayla and Sabrina Clark, the Tarpum Bay Clinic staff, who welcomed us in and put us to work right away after a grand tour and information session. I did patient intake, signing patients in, weighing them, and directing them to the “Nurse’s Office/ exam rooms.” I also did blood pressure checks for a few patients. Both Brette and Lauren did patient interviewing and patient assessments.
What stood out to me the most was the autonomy of the nurses and the courage within them. Despite their limited medical supply, lack of informational resources, and growing number of clients waiting to be seen, the nurses operated smoothly with content embrace for each patient. They were so pleasant and extremely helpful, sharing their expertise with us and encouraging us in our efforts.Angels Camp

I learned more details of Eleuthera’s healthcare disparities and the government funded insurance that assists people over the age of 65 and people with diabetes or asthma. Children, students under 18, and patients requiring family planning services or antenatal care are seen free of charge, Some of the major health concerns here on the island include chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma and in terms of sexually transmitted diseases, the Herpes Simplex virus.
According to a Tarpum Bay staff member and a male patient, more emphasis should be on “role changing behavior.” Nurse Rolle stated, “People here just will not eat better foods when they know it is not good for them, they love to eat what tastes good.”

My group members and I were prepared to share lesson plans covering healthy lifestyles and preventing obesity, but it was elected that we discuss STD’s by the young Nurse Cadets, five high school females desiring to become nurses. With them, we played a candy trading game to simulate the spread of STD’s and led a discussion session covering abstinence, the Human Papillomavirus and vaccine, and Herpes and allowed the girls to ask questions. We got exceptional feedback following our presentation which made us very happy to know we had shared valuable knowledge.
Around 4:30pm, my group and I returned to our houses, where we reflected on the day and gave each other our analyses and ideas. Some of us then completed our day with a relaxing, inspiring walk around the beautiful island before dinner. I was not entirely surprised, but amazed by the strength of the people here. Today was only the beginning of this journey that opened our eyes to an island dedicated to community and faith.

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