By Colleen Closson and Sophie Katz
Yesterday we arrived in Moultrie! There are 18 undergraduate nursing students, along with students from Emory’s MSN program, UGA’s pharmacy school, Clayton State’s dental hygienist program, and Georgia State’s physical therapy program. In all, there are over 100 of us here to volunteer with the farmworkers and their families! We started off last night with a scavenger hunt to help us learn the layout of the town before heading to an amazing dinner at the Colquitt County Center for the Arts. This morning we set up shop at Cox Elementary School and were able to organize files, clothing, and toiletries at record speed.
Tonight will be our first time at night camp with the farmworkers themelves. There is a great deal of nervous anticipation and excitement as we pack our vans and prepare for what we are told will be a long night. We’ve already had our first gnat encounters and are seeing the merits of neck fans! We are looking forward to working with this unique patient population and learning what we can do to best serve them. Those of us in the undergraduate nursing group have had three weeks of lectures, readings, and discussions about the complexity of working with farmworkers and how we can best meet their needs. We know we still have a lot to learn, but we can’t wait to get started!
Moultrie is an incredible opportunity for us as students to learn about a large and often ignored population. The men and women who gather our food—who are truly responsible for feeding the country—have immense difficulty accessing the healthcare they need and deserve. This program strives to provide that service as an extension of the Ellenton Clinic, and has done so with immense efficiency and care for the past 25 years. This work relies on volunteers and donations from across the state to continue. The dozens upon dozens of donations we have received over the past year are already being distributed to those in need of clothing, bedding, toiletries, shoes, and much more. The Moultrie Farmworker Program is truly a team effort, bringing together communities and disciplines of every kind. We are honored and thrilled to be a part of it. We can’t wait to see what happens next!