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CASSAUNDRA BRADEN

FERRI S STATE UNI VERSI TY



Service Learning Experience
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Introduction
For this project I fulfilled a long time dream of travelling to
another country to provide them with help in any way I could.
I was given the opportunity to travel with a team to
Guatemala City, Guatemala with a group of 42 high-
schoolers, college students, and adults for ten days.

The team had three divisions: construction, education, and
medical. As a member of the medical team we worked in
multiple schools around Guatemala City side by side with a
doctor and dentist providing the children with much needed
medications.

Agency Description
AMG International is a missionary agency established in 1942 ministering
in over 30 countries of the world. AMGs holistic ministry philosophy
recognizes that people in extreme physical need are often not interested in
the truth of the Gospel unless their basic needs are cared for. Because of
this, we seek to touch lives and hearts of those in need by ministering to
them on a physical and spiritual level

We worked with the Guatemala branch of AMG and had contact people
that helped prepare us during our stay and in the months leading up to
the trip. This agency has a base school, Verbena, where children who are
sponsored to attend go for grades K-5. They also provide services to many
other schools in Guatemala City. All children must be sponsored to be
able to attend school but when AMG finds a child in need they do what
they need to locate a sponsor for that child.
(AMG, 2012)
Volunteer Role Description
There were six medical professionals on the medical team
including myself coming from a variety of backgrounds. The
medical team met at Verbena each morning and travelled together
with the doctor and dentist to different schools. We administered a
liquid de-worming medication to the children at each school as well
as vitamins, fluoride rinses and tooth brushes and tooth paste. The
de-wormer is a medication that the children need to receive every
six months to tolerate the food and water they eat and drink daily
without adverse reactions.

The trip was not all work though, while we were there we spent a
day in Antigua, Guatemala and were able to hike a volcano, take
salsa lessons, learn to cook traditional Guatemalan dishes, and
shop!

The Team
The Medical Team
Volcan de Pacaya
Verbena
Critical Reflection
Prior to the trip I viewed this as a very expensive and fun way to complete my service
learning requirements while fulfilling a dream. I had expected it to be quite an
adventure and worthwhile experience. I didnt realize how much what I was doing
would impact me and my career. I knew it would be sad to see all the kids who were
less fortunate than us. I did not realize the horrendous living environments they were
exposed to. Many families, who were fortunate enough to have a home, lived in multi-
family houses which were all stacked on top (literally) of each other, sometimes five
houses high and side by side with other houses. I assumed that the kids would be sad
and suffer from depression. I was wrong! These kids had some of the biggest hearts
known to man-kind. They would run up to you, having never met or seen you before,
and hug you with all their strength. The AMG workers said that this is because they
think any white person they see is their sponsor and the reason they are able to go to
school.

This trip changed my life. I did not get to provide any life saving measures but I was
able to use my skills as a nurse help children in desperate need, while at the same time
these children helped me. It was worth every penny I spent getting there and more.

The Kids
Synthesis
I was surprised that the BSN program required a service
learning experience. I did not think there would be any
requirements outside of the virtual classroom. I am glad
there was. I learned the importance of using my skills as a
nurse to help those in need without compensation for my
time. Those who need help the most are generally least
likely to be able to reimburse you for your help. This is
absolutely a beneficial experience to learn before obtaining
a bachelors degree in nursing. Our profession is about
helping others after all. I would recommend this service
learning project, or one similar, to anyone who is presented
the opportunity.
Reference
AMG International - Advancing the Ministries of the
Gospel. (n.d.). AMG International -
Advancing the Ministries of the Gospel.
Retrieved July 12, 2014, from
http://www.amginternational.org/main/fs/