GeoVisions Blog

Gloves-On Volunteering In Peru

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Thu, Oct 06, 2011

Our program, Health and Wellness in Peru, is really about as good as it gets if you're wanting to volunteer on a medical project.  All of GeoVisions' medical volunteer projects are hands-on, making them perfect for nursing and medical students.

This program is a great hands-on opportunity to work toward improving health care in Lima or Cusco, Peru. Our volunteers work directly with local Peruvians who have little access to health care. GeoVisions provides ample opportunity to work with locals of various age groups to bring adequate health care, intervention and prevention to the people these clinics serve.

Alex Cabble is a GeoVisions volunteer onsite right now.  She is documenting her trip on Tumblr with her Blog, Across The Equator.  Here is an excerpt from a recent post:  "Last week I was in Topico and I was able to clean a wound on a woman’s toe by myself! I also talked to a man who was getting stitches on his arm after a dog bit him about New York for a while! Topico was interesting and I definitely had more of a hands on experience there. It was nice to talk to some of the patients and I liked seeing all of the babies and helping to break their fevers. The kids here are sooo adorable!"

Kelsey and Alex in PeruAlex writes about other hands-on cases she has had recently, like "my first patient was an older woman who didn’t have a toenail on her big toe."  And, "a 7 year old boy who fell and had a gash right above his left eyebrow. The gash, at its widest, was probably about the size of a dime and went pretty deep.  He ended up getting stitches inside the gash and then stitches on the outside to hold it together."  Alex' day ended here, "another patient was a 10 month old baby that had a fever. I took her temperature and it was 38.9 degrees C when the normal temp is 37 degrees C. We put some wet towels on her to bring down the temperature and by the time that I left, it was normal again!"

Be sure to read her Blog for more details and she has included a lot of photos as well.

Oh…and as I prepared this Blog to go live, we received this email from Alex' friend Kelsy who is also on the same program:

"Just checking in to say hi - everything here has been absolutely amazing so far! Alex and I have been doing great, our host family is wonderful, and the clinic has been so great. I worked in gynecology and obstetrics the first two weeks which was really neat - I got to see a few live births too so that was cool. I'm working in the pharmacy now which is good, because I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get there at all. Our Spanish is improving tremendously. The ruins and views here are so incredible. We just went to Machu Picchu yesterday, which was amazing, and we've also been to Ollantaytambo, Pisaq, Saqsayhuaman, Salineras, Maras, and Moray. The night life in Cusco is a blast too. We're both learning lots of salsa! Overall, everything's been wonderful and I would definitely have to say I've been having the time of my life. Learning tons, and having a blast too!"

GeoVisions founded the Conversation Corps, and specializes in medical volunteer projects for the traditional volunteer abroad program.

Tags: Peru, Medical/Health Projects, Volunteer Blogs, Volunteering Abroad

Samrong Hospital-Medical Volunteering In A Primitive Setting

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Fri, Jul 30, 2010

Surgical gowns drying in front of a fan."I went to was a small hospital - Sam Roang Hospital, at the rural area of Siem Riep. This hospital is nothing like what you will ever see in Melbourne or Malaysia and I was utterly shocked by the condition of the hospital. The very limited facilities and resources, running low on/out of medical supplies, fan-less maternity ward, supposedly sterile operating theatre with flies in it and only three out of five bulbs of the operating lamp are working. You can't possibly imagine what the condition is like until you see it for yourself. It is primitive."

Phey Yee is from Melbourne, Australia.  She wants to be a Doctor.  So quite naturally, Phey looked to the GeoVisions Medical program in Cambodia for a unique medical experience.  She found it!

Phey volunteered at the Samrong Hospital in the rural area of Siem Riep in Cambodia.  Phey wrote a Blog about her experiences and was kind enough to grant us permission to feature her Blog and her photos.  Some of her posts include:

A Typical Day in Sam Rong
Of Fund Raising and Fun Raising
Of Dust and Sweat and Cambodia

At the entrance to the hospital.Phey Yee had such a great experience, she is now fund raising for the community and hospital.  Please click the links above to particular posts, or just click this link to see the entire Blog.  And be sure to look at all the photos.  They're so good.

If you have an interest in GeoVisions' Medical programs, there are 10 to choose from:

Cape Town Medical & Clinic Assistance

Children's Hospital in Costa Rica

Cusco Rehabilitation Center

Ecuador Children's Hospital

Ecuadorian Red Corss and Mobile Clinic

Galapagos Islands Hospital

Medical Center in Lima

Medical Help in Cambodia

Medical Project in Sri Lanka

Paramedic Service in Costa Rica

Volunteers' tennis shoes outside the hospital."We got to do a lot of clinical stuff. We attended the hospital handover meeting everyday at 7.30 a.m. and went to the ward rounds.  We have covered the maternity ward, pediatrics ward, general medicine ward, emergency medicine and surgical ward. Most of the doctors here are extremely friendly.  Not all of them know English but they sure tried their very best to teach us a much as they could. I heard my first heart murmur on Thursday! It was indeed a very special moment for me."

We would love to talk to you about any of the medical volunteer projects available and to put you in touch with former volunteers.

Have you volunteered at a rural medical project?  Where were you and how did it compare to Phey's experience?

Tags: Cambodia, Medical/Health Projects, Volunteer Blogs, Volunteering Abroad

Just Out Of Diapers: Two New Medical Volunteer Abroad Projects

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Mon, Jul 12, 2010
Scenic photo of the GalapagosA couple of weeks ago we used our Blog to announce three new programs. Today we are announcing the arrival of two new projects. One in Ecuador in the Galapagos, on San Cristobal Island and another in Kandy, Sri Lanka.  Both of these new projects need medical volunteers.

Medical Clinic on San Cristobal Island, Galapagos
Notice board in the hospitalThis medical project is very hands-on.  On this project you are going to have the opportunity to work one on one with doctors; prepare charts for patients; hand out medication; and assist in medical exams.  If you have medical experience, there may be even more you can do at the hospital.

GeoVisions includes your roundtrip flight from Quito as part of the program fee as well as orientation and a tour of Quito before flying to San Cristobal Island.

Of course, when you're not working at the hospital, you can be swimming, scuba diving, surfing, basking on the beach, learning about marine life, exotic birds, and even tortoises.

Hospital Project in Kandy, Sri Lanka
NA collage of photos of Sri Lankaot only will volunteers have the opportunity to assist Doctors, but this project has two unique components:
  1. After you have been observed and cleared (depending on your abilities and medical background) there is an opportunity to assist with Pediatrics.
  2. Because Ayurveda, one of the world's oldest medical systems, starting around 1500 BC.  Ayurveda was developed in and around India and Sri Lanka.  Volunteers at this project have the opportunity to learn more about Ayurveda directly from the area where it was developed.  If you are unfamiliar with Ayurveda, think "alternative medicine" if you are from the U.S. for example.
This project begins with a full week of orientation in Kandy where volunteers meet each other, learn more about Sri Lanka and its traditions, meet local people, taste the food, take some time for a little sightseeing and learn a lot more about the project.

So there you are.  Do you have program ideas we should consider?  Places we don't currently serve?  Please use the Comments section and let us know.  We are always interested in where you want to go and what you want to do when you get there.

Tags: Medical/Health Projects, Volunteering Abroad

Volunteer Abroad And Start Up Your Own Project!

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Tue, Jan 05, 2010

Photo of a volunteer and children.One of the best feelings in our work is to see volunteers provide assistance to a community or a medical outpost or teaching kids to read in rural Ghana.  If I were to ask my friends who also do this kind of work, more than likely they would say the same thing.  Watching our volunteers and watching the smiles of the recipients of that volunteer's efforts.

I am always asked, "What is your favorite city in the world?"  Or, "What is your favorite country in the world?"  To be quite honest, it depends on the time of day someone asks.  Too many favorites I have.

One thing is clear, however.  When I am asked the best part of my job the answer is always the same.  It's watching what happens when our volunteers return from their project.  I've become obsessed with finding out what each GeoVisions' volunteer, tutor and teacher are doing.  More times than not, it is special, as you can see with Daniel Jackson.

Photo of Daniel JacksonDaniel went to Cusco, Peru with GeoVisions last June (2009) to work in the Medical Center there we support.  He was able to volunteer for six weeks.

Daniel is a photographer and you can see his work on his website.  But once Daniel returned to the U.S. he started Friends of Belempampa.  Daniel was so taken with Cusco, and with Belempampa, that he organized a group of international volunteers and staff who have worked at the Belempampa Health Center in Cusco and then put together the "Friends" website to help provide support to the medical center.

Please consider supporting Daniel, his group and his new non-profit group, which will

  • Cusco clinic provide much-needed ambulance equipment;
  • train everyone at the center for gentler treatment of patients;
  • fund new triage equipment;
  • buy new devices for doctors to listen to babies' heartbeats;
  • provide food for patients;
  • a larger supply of sanitary protections;
  • install a warm water line to obstetrics' staff shower;
  • provide a stomach pump for newborns;
  • and provide warm water for wash basins for newborns.

Volunteer in CuscoAlready, the Friends of Belempampa have donated digital thermometers and put together research on handling and preparation of dangerous meeds.  If you check out the website you will see a list of projects completed and their cost (in U.S. $ and volunteer-hours) and then click a link on that page to see a list of projects they hope to accomplish and that cost in funds and hours.

Please support the Friends of Belempampa.  How can you do that?  Well, it could be as simple as making a comment below and we'll pass it on.

You could reach out and email anyone there.  You'll find a lot of information on each person who belongs and has something to do with the group.  Even an email to voice your support for what they are doing would be encouraging to them.

You can donate. There is even a link to the group's financial records.

Photo of DanielLook…this is the real deal.  This is Daniel deciding to leave his photography for awhile and volunteer in Peru for six weeks.  It's Daniel helping children being born, taking temperatures, taking weights and making sure the medical records were updated.  This is Daniel making a difference in Peru.  And this is Daniel coming home and making a difference.

Daniel votes with his wallet and he votes with his feet.  He is literally where the rubber meets the road.  Please support Daniels' group by reaching out and encouraging them to keep going.  Or donating.  Or volunteering your time.

This is volunteer abroad.  This is the definition of voluntourism.

If you can take away something useful from this post, please consider leaving a comment (below) or subscribing to the feed (above) to have future posts delivered to your feed reader. You can also subscribe via email (in the upper right corner).



Tags: Reasons To Volunteer Abroad, Peru, Medical/Health Projects, Staying Involved, Volunteer Blogs, Volunteering Abroad

Volunteer Blog: Health Care Volunteer Project in Lima, Peru

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Mon, Dec 07, 2009

Medical center in Lima, PeruOur health care project in Lima, Peru is a great opportunity because of the "hands on" activities for volunteers.  Many health-related volunteer abroad projects don't allow volunteers to be directly involved with patients.  This one does.

Please take a look at Allison's Blog.  Allison is a volunteer with GeoVisions on this project.  She has been writing her posts since September.  If you are looking for someone on the project now, look no further.  You can ask her questions through the Comments section of her blog.

GeoVisions wants to send more volunteers abroad on this project in 2010.  We are ready to provide more information about the project and are eager to accept your application for the medical volunteer project in Lima.

If you can take away something useful from this post, please consider leaving a comment (below) or subscribing to the feed (above) to have future posts delivered to your feed reader. You can also subscribe via email (over on the right).  You can also follow us on Twitter.


Tags: Peru, Medical/Health Projects, Volunteer Blogs, Volunteering Abroad

Breast Cancer Awareness-Be Involved When You Volunteer Abroad

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Wed, Dec 02, 2009

You have probably seen this great video in other posts or on ABC News, November 30.  It is just impossible to watch without smiling.  Congratulations to the staff at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Oregon for showing us "The Pink Glove Dance" for Breast Cancer Awareness.

My baby sister is a survivor and my entire family is grateful but also very proud of her and the care she received and continues to receive. So I'm going to add to the viral circulation and hope you enjoy the video as much as I did.

Interested in Provicence St. Vincent Medical Center?  They also have the video embedded in their Home Page.  Good for them.

The CDC says, "Each year, in the United States, about 210,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Many fewer women, around 40,000 each year, die from Breast Cancer."  The Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade reports that a new diagnosis is made every 3 minutes and a life lost from Breast Cancer every 14 minutes.  And the World Health Organization says breast cancer is responsible for 502,000 deaths per year worldwide.

The Avon Walk Around the World for Breast Cancer has brought nearly a half a million people together all over the world.  They have participated in raising more than $5.8 million for the breast cancer cause.

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer logoWhen you go to Avon's page, just click on the country of your choice to see the events going on. We think it is something you can do in your home country of course.  And when you're volunteering abroad with can also join in on an event locally and be connected.  It's a great site and a cause you can be involved in here and abroad.

The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer 2010 dates in the U.S. have been announced.  Over two days journey 39 miles if you are in it to end it. 

If you can take away something useful from this post, please consider leaving a comment (below) or subscribing to the feed (above) to have future posts delivered to your feed reader. You can also subscribe via email (over on the right).  You can also follow us on Twitter.


Tags: Medical/Health Projects, Staying Involved, Volunteering Abroad

Volunteer Abroad in Rural Areas Around Cape Town

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Wed, Nov 25, 2009

Child patient in Capetown.In the rural communities around Cape Town, South Africa, there is an immense lack of medical facilities, staff and resources. Volunteers can make a profound difference in the lives of people living in these surrounding communities of Cape Town.  Both medically trained and not trained may participate with this project.  The mornings are spent helping in the medical facilities and the afternoons are spent assisting in the local community. (Full days at the clinics are also possible.)

On this project, it is possible for volunteers to:

  • Assist clinic supervisors with the patients, especially the sick children;
  • Assist in administering HIV tests (if medically qualified);
  • Assist in administering pregnancy tests, baby weighing, checking of vitals, as well as sit in on consultations if agreeable by the doctor and the patient;
  • Assist in the clinic pharmacy with sorting and labeling medications;
  • Administration work in the clinic.

Hospital staff in Capetown.Thus far, on this project, volunteers have contributed over 2,600 hours to medical and clinic assistance in Cape Town, South Africa, through their work in township clinics.  This project, together with the support and advice of our charitable foundation team at The Happy Africa Foundation, are continuously assessing this work and project strategies to ensure that these hours are meaningful, with measurable outcomes.  Volunteers have helped convert patient filing systems to computer, as well as having assisted the community by showing their support and commitment to improving general health and wellbeing.

In a city of contrasts, Cape Town's private sector health care and provision is extensive, but it is the rural communities that suffer from an immense lack of facilities.  While there are some structures in place for an effective health service, there is an enormous deficit in terms of staff and resources.  This is why the volunteers' help is very much appreciated by the nurses and doctors we work with.

This placement will give you the chance to make a positive impact on the health service in these underprivileged areas on the outskirts of of Cape Town, and to make a profound difference in the lives of people living in the surrounding community.  Both qualified and non-qualified volunteers can join.  Furthermore, qualified volunteers would be able to offer advice to the day care and after care centers that they will be working with in the afternoon.  There are many children at these centers with special health care needs.

You can download a more extended project guide or you can visit the GeoVisions web site and look over the program description.

Tags: Medical/Health Projects, South Africa, Volunteering Abroad