March 12, 2014

Blugold Soccer Players and Nursing Majors Visit San Salvador

UW-Eau Claire soccer players and nursing majors Abby Beinlich and Hannah Rademacher are spending time in San Salvador, capital of El Salvador, this month to volunteer in the community.

Below is a story about their time, written by Hannah Rademacher.

March 1, I left for El Salvador to go on a clinical emersion in San Salvador, the capital of the country (about the size of Massachusetts).

We stayed in an orphanage that was greatly affected by their recent civil war (1980's). We left a couple soccer balls there and the "Ohana" t-shirts. The kids at the orphanage come from many different backgrounds, some of their parents passed away, some of their parents left them, etc.

While we were down there, we did community health in two different schools, teaching them about the importance of hand washing and tooth brushing. That is where we donated the majority of the soccer balls.

We also went to a palliative care hospital for the poor. The patients don't have to pay a penny out of pocket to get care at that hospital. There, the family members provide much of the care to their loved ones. We handed out pamphlets telling family members the importance of hand and foot massages and how to perform each. All eight of us then went around to the patients and performed hand and foot massages to the patients. The patient I was assigned to had severe edema, was extremely scared, and didn't know that she was at the hospital to pass away. During the massage, the edema decreased, her pain decreased, and she stated that she was blessed to have us come around.

Finally, we went to a homeless shelter where we donated cough medicine, aspirin, ibuprofen, Neosporin, and other none prescription medication. We went during the lunch hour. We played board games and card games with the people that came in. We also helped the cook make tortillas (We were TERRIBLE).

The children at the orphanage were more than ecstatic when I showed them the soccer balls and even more happy to see new t-shirts. I even laced up one of the kids tennis shoes with the laces off my tennis shoes because he was running around without laces. It's the small things for these children. One of the schools where we dropped off soccer balls was using those cheap plastic balls to do a juggle circle. I wish I could have seen the looks on their faces knowing that they got new soccer balls.