I recently returned from a 9-day brigade to Nicaragua with Global Brigades. The brigade was a combination of a medical/dental brigade, a water brigade, and a public health brigade.
Global Brigades is a program that aims to make sustainable changes in communities by combining programs that focus on health, education, and economics. Volunteers take part in short brigades that help communities to develop different sustainable skill sets. The reason the brigades are short is to prevent physical and mental burnout from the volunteers, and ensure that fresh ideas are constantly being used to improve each project.
My school’s chapter has a primary focus on medicine, however, we take part in areas of service on our brigades. Although this was not my first brigade with Global Brigades this was my first time visiting Nicaragua and doing a water and public health brigade.
- Medical/Dental (3 days)– We set up a clinic in 3 local communities and provided medical and dental services not readily available in rural areas. These included physical exams, pap smears, and tooth cleanings and extractions. We also provided medications for specific conditions and monthly supplies of vitamins.
- Water Brigade (1 day)– We contributed to the building of a community well by covering part of a pipeline that was built into a trench. The goal is to have the well fully functional by July, and the community plans to share the water in their well with neighboring communities.
- Public Health (2 days)– We worked in 1 community to help build different houses by mixing cement for the floors. We worked in approximately 4 houses.
I am so thankful to have been fortunate enough to be a member of the Global Brigades family and to attend this brigade. Being a part of this group has changed me as a person. It allowed me to understand that no matter how small of a contribution you can make it can always help. It allowed me to grow my apprecation of other people and cultures, and increase my desire to help others. Finally, this group helped me to take a step out of my comfort zone and reach for new experiences in all areas of my life.