Natural Doctors International (NDI) Brigade & Internship

August 8, 2013 at 10:00 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

My internship this summer with Natural Doctors International (NDI) has been full of surprises! I finished my second year in the Naturopathic Medicine (ND) program at National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) in June, participated in the NDI brigade from July 5 to July 14, and will complete my 6-week internship at the end of August. Before I came to Nicaragua, I set an intention to be open-minded to whatever opportunity might arise and to submerge myself in the culture.


During the brigade, I was able to put my knowledge from my second year into practice by helping fellow brigade mates with performing physical exams and offering suggestions of herbal medicine. Being bilingual, I translated during the exams and intakes; I’ve continued to translate for Dr. Dawson Farr who also arrived in July to begin his one-year assignment with NDI. My Spanish skills were rusty before I arrived but have been improving daily; my host family is patient and they aid me in learning the language. I’m so grateful for their hospitality and I’ve observed that a family with very limited resources in an impoverished country can prosper in spirit.


As part of the internship, I have spent time with Dr. Farr in the NDI clinic in Los Angeles (town on Ometepe) and with local doctors at the hospital in Moyogalpa (a main town on Ometepe). At the clinic, we have seen patients with the flu, urinary tract infections, skin conditions, backaches, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. Although these conditions are commonplace in the US, the treatment options are limited here based on donated supplies. It’s been a great experience to learn what Dr. Farr would typically recommend in the US and the alternatives based on our resources. My time at the hospital has been memorable. During the first hour of observing at the hospital, I witnessed my first birth! I was asked to hold the healthy baby girl while the nurses and doctor sutured the patient and used “sterile” water out of 3-liter soda bottles.. It was one of the most intense moments in my life.


Despite the limited resources, the people of Ometepe are so patient and thankful for the help of healthcare practitioners, especially of natural medicine. Just yesterday, a male patient in his 50’s came for a follow-up appointment. He came for his first time during the July brigade, received a very thorough intake, received 3 supplements, and returned with such high praises for how well the natural remedies have worked at lowering his blood pressure and improving his life. We have received so many blessings from our patients; they are very grateful for Dr. Tabatha Parker and NDI.


In addition to observing in the clinic and hospital, I have assisted in several ongoing and new projects with NDI. Besides office work, like updating inventory, submitting data to the Ministry of Health, and translating nutrition material for classes that will be taught to the women who house NDI brigade participants, we have left our mark here physically. A few weeks ago we started digging plots to start an organic garden and last week we painted a mural on the face of the NDI clinic. My time with NDI has been so fulfilling and I am so grateful for the support of my friends and family. The passion inside of me to become a conduit for guiding people onto their own healing path has been reinvigorated!


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