Lauren Kmieciak, Managua and Leon, Nicaragua, May 19, 2013

Our morning started around 6:30 and we had breakfast at 7:00 at the hotel, and man did they spoil us. This was nothing like the continental breakfasts that I am used to from the States. There were several fresh fruits to choose from, real scrambled eggs, rice and beans (of course). The pineapple was white, which threw all of us off a little, but soon we discovered how much sweeter and more fresh the fruit was. Everyone had their fill.

May_19_1After breakfast we split into our respective groups (veterinary, dental and medical). We met our head veterinarian, Dr. Jasson Figueroa. We went through the VIDA veterinary handbook, and Dr. Jasson made sure we all understood the protocols for clinic set up and take down, safety, surgery, and recovery. As the day progressed we started to watch videos on spays techniques that we would be using during our clinic days. Dr. Jasson took care to make sure we were all on the same page since each of us had a different background and experiences.

We broke for lunch and again where we had a huge buffet and food that was absolutely delicious topped off with some yummy desert. They sure were not letting us go hungry on this trip! We sat with our fellow veterinary group and started to learn a lot about one another, and quickly realized that we had a fabulous veterinary team!

May_19_2But before our 2 hour trip to León we had to do inventory and check all of the boxes that contained our clinic supplies. Then we started practicing our suture and ligature patterns. We got a lot of good practice with the different patterns we would be using or observing during surgery. Dr. Jasson made sure we felt comfortable and was very willing to help! Before we knew it, it was time to pack up our boxes, load the bus, and head up to León.

Once on the bus we were told the ride would be a little over 2 hours, and we took in the scenery the whole way there. We drove along Lake Managua for a while and could see the volcanos in the background. When we finally arrived in León we checked into a Best Western and had some time before dinner. Many of us chose to go to dinner with our team leader, Lester, who knew some of the best places to eat! I was shocked at how inexpensive the meals were especially for the amount of food we were given, although they took a while to prepare the wait was well worth it. Joe, one of the fellow veterinary team members, had this plate for about $10!

Once back at the hotel we all quickly went to bed since we had our first clinic day in the morning!