Friday, August 13, 2010

Last Week!

So this whole entire trip has been quite an adventure. First we spend a month in Costa Rica learning Spanish and Engineering. Then we practice what we learned in Nicaragua at our hospital in Jinotepe. Along the way, we have seen many tourist spots ranging from Monte Verde to Ometepe Island. The work though has been very fulfilling. Our total count includes that of fixing 32 machines over these 4 weeks. We have probably put $15,000 worth of medical equipment back into service. The hospital seemed very appreciative, and we were just glad to help. When the doctors here are so good, they need the help to accompany their great service. I feel as if Nicaragua has the bright minds to accomplish what it wants but it is being held back by bureaucracy. Overall, I feel that a lot has been accomplished over these two months and I am sad to leave this place. I am very sure next year´s group will have a great time. And so, for the last time....signing out from Nicaragua...Manu

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Week 3

So, week 3 has finally come to a close. It was a very interesting one with the usual success of fixing medical equipment. We now have gotten to a rate of about 9 per week. As of now, the count is 29 but more is certainly achievable before the the next week is over. We have fixed all sorts of equipment this week ranging from a necessary printer to 3 or four ekg machines. We even employed this new technique of creating ekg electrode pads out of the plastic seal from glass coke bottles, a nickle sewing clip, and some medical tape. It was very cool when we got to try this out on a patient to see beautiful and clear waves on the EKG monitor. The nurses very very appreciative. They even then decided to give us more equipment hidden away from most to see. We got handed another ekg which we are currently working on as well as a pulse oximeter that had a finicky power switch. We opened up the pulse oximeter and tightened the connections to get a new working oximeter. Success! In other news, we are working on our secondary project where we helping the hospital with a goverment ordered inventory of fridges by excel. It seems they will get new ones if we help them with this. We are also making instructional videos about using the ekg pads that we learned about. This coming Monday is hospital worker appreciation day so there is no work and a fiesta!

That is all for now.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Week 2

This week has been a fast paced work heavy but really rewarding week. It is only Wednesday and we have already fixed up to 10 pieces of medical equipment. The main prize was fixing this Newport e360 ventillator that probably was worth about $5000 dollars. It needed a new flow valve and some inner adjustments but we put it back into service. Now the hospital has 2 ventillators in service which could possibly end up saving more lives! We then fixed 2 aspirators that basically needed some inner cleaning and some minor parts replaced. Lastly, we fixed a centrifuge that needed some carbon brushes replaced along with some cleaning. Besides the machine fixing, we have gotten to know the staff well. We take inventory to see what machines they have and then find the broken ones to repair. We also try to develop these relationships so later on we can talk to them about what more they need to keep up their services. We are planning on doing a needs finding survey and interviewing a few doctors about their most pressing needs. Tomorrow, we are planning on doing a inventory with the surgery unit, and I might even get to witness some surgeries first hand! Well, this is it for now. This weekend we are planning to go to Ometepe Island which apparently is a beautiful national park. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Hello from Managua. I am writing from an internet cafe, but I have loads to tell in this quick short time that I have. So far, working in the hospital has been great. We have worked on about 8 pieces of equipment so far and had a repairing rate of about 50%. We have put about 2 EKGs, a phototherapy light, and a NIBP machine back into service. The staff are really appreciative it seems and keep giving us more equipment to repair. I feel like my partner and I are very welcomed to this hospital. Our homestay father is named Dr. Mercado and he is one of the main contacts in the hospital. He knows a lot about the needs of the hospital and we are definetly going to find out more about what we need to do/give to the hopsital before and after we leave. There are many medical device donation companies across the world that just need the right field information that we can get to donate proper medical equipment that does not breakdown. Next week, we are going to try to work on this ventillator that we have been working on. It seems to be missing a flow sensor that we need to purchase. I am sure if we get that piece we will have a really important ventillator working. Thanks again for reading


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Week 4 Post Early

Well, this is the last week in Costa Rica. It's kind of sad to leave such a nice place. However, I have learned a lot and am as ready as I can be for this upcoming month in Nicaragua. This week we are all trying to spend time with each other since we part ways as some of the group goes to Honduras and others to Nicaragua. Also, we are spending time with our host families and it will be very sad to leave them as well. We are thinking of getting some nice gifts for the grandchildren of our house and perhaps something photo related for the grandmother. Overall, I have been very satisfied by Costa Rica and am looking forward to the next month. Until next time....adios!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Week 3

Sorry for the late posts! This week in Costa Rica has been a very quiet one, but it has taught me a lot. First off, my spanish is getting so much better. Conversations are starting to get easier to understand, and I am able to communicate my ideas much more effectively. The grammar is flowing, and I am starting to feel a part of this culture. Engineering classes are going well too as we have transitioned from the electrical labs to the actual aspect of working in these developing hospitals and how to approach training technicians without going overboard. Recently, we toured San Jose's Children's Hospital in downtown San Jose. The hospital was very modern with state of the art equipment and almost a model for hospitals all across the country. There were CAT Scan machines, other sources of X-Rays, and plenty of incubators and ventilators alike. The main engineer at the hospital even had appropriate working space and conditions to fix the equipment. Tons and tons of money have been poured out on this hospital and I think it is a model hospital in and of itself. This coming next month in Nicaragua will be a true test in trying to help the hospitals get to the next level as best as I can. In terms of exciting other things, we recently had a get together at our Spanish teacher's house. Just imagine all 20+ of us in one house. The house was very nice and almost seemed like home. It was so interesting to see the stark contrast of the well off and the not so well off in Costa Rica. We were lucky to get hosted, and I had a great time. This weekend some friends went to do their own things and I decided to catch up on sleep and other things that I needed to get done. Thanks for reading and this will be my last week in Costa Rica. My next post will be right before I head out to Nicaragua! Cheers!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010