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28 March - Our Last Day of Work

For our final day of volunteer work, we visited the HIM Nutrition Center in Gualan. This facility is home to children who have been found severely malnourished in outside villages and brought to the center. HIM works to restore the physical and emotional health of each child so they can be returned to their families. The number of children living there fluctuates, as some stay for a few months at a time while others may remain there for years. Additionally, the center opens its doors for physical therapy two days per week and serves a free lunch every Thursday to any and all local children who come.

Again, we treated both children and adults. And while the majority of cases were musculoskeletal conditions, I was able to branch out yet again and assist in wound care (despite all my objections!). We also had the opportunity to help serve the children lunch. Around 75 kiddos showed up and it was a whirlwind experience! I’ve never seen kids eat their meals so quickly and so thoroughly!

Although there were some individually long days, this week has absolutely flown by. At dinner, we shared about what stands out the most to each of us about this trip. From the student perspective, I was most impressed with the variety of patients I treated over the course of the week. This really stretched my brain and draw from all facets of my didactic education. My CI talked about shifting her focus from a single treatment session with each patient to providing education and mentorship to parents and caregivers, including the local therapists, an approach that will allow her to have a much broader and longer-lasting impact on the lives of her patients.

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