FIMRC Volunteer Service in Alajuelita

Project Alajuelita currently welcomes volunteers travelling individually or in groups of up to 10. If you are interested in organizing a group larger than 10 as we are occasionally able to expand our capacity. Volunteer activities run year-round, so please contact us with the dates you would like to travel!

The nature of a volunteer mission to Alajuelita will vary depending on the number of volunteers in each group, the length of the volunteer trip, respective proficiencies in Spanish, medical expertise, and the current needs of the community and the clinic upon arrival. What FIMRC can guarantee, however, is that every volunteer mission will be culturally and socially enlightening to its volunteers. Each volunteer will have opportunities to examine Costa Rica’s systems of medical provision in numerous ways and learn about health care disparities as outlined below.

Standards of medical care are extremely divergent within Costa Rica – you may witness modern hospitals comparable to those in the US, but in the same day witness communities receiving a very low standard of care, with no medical insurance coverage.

Outside FIMRC’s clinic, volunteers will develop health educational initiatives in Tejarcillos, a soup kitchen located in the underserved areas of Alajuelita where children play in safety and receive hot meals daily. In addition, volunteers may spend time conducting house visits to provide preventative health education to local families on topics such as hygiene and water contamination.

Progress in the clinic accelerates daily, and volunteers maintain important roles in the clinic’s future. Activities include establishing medical record systems, building health education curricula on the topics of HIV, parasites, or dental health, charting patients’ vital signs, and observing clinical interactions with medical staff. There are many opportunities for shaping an itinerary to skills or interests, as FIMRC’s goal is to provide every volunteer a memorable, worthwhile experience that will leave lasting impressions about healthcare in developing communities.

We give each volunteer the opportunity to shadow the doctor in the examination rooms, administer medications, and take vital statistics of patients. It is important to note, however, that a visit to a FIMRC clinic may not revolve around clinical or medically focused experiences for the volunteers. While giving an injection, for example, may be an inspiring experience for a volunteer interested in a career in medicine, FIMRC maintains the policy that medical care must be delivered by qualified, trained professionals for the benefit of our patients. Those volunteers with medical background or expertise will likely have the opportunity to work in a medical capacity alongside our clinic staff. Student volunteers are asked to enhance our projects by participating in and conducting health education seminars, construction related projects, and other activities that promote FIMRC’s mission, in addition to their time in the clinic. FIMRC asks that all volunteers be flexible and willing to help FIMRC staff where needed.

The following is a sample itinerary of a one-week volunteer mission with Project Alajuelita. This itinerary has been made to provide a clear, general impression of the way volunteer time is spent. Please note, however, that in order to ensure that a volunteer’s work has the greatest, most relevant impact on clinic and community, volunteer schedules are established upon a volunteer’s arrival at the clinic.

 

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

8:15 AM

Depart from homestay

Depart from homestay

Depart from homestay

Depart from homestay

Depart from homestay

9 AM-12 PM

Planning health education lessons

Shadowing physician in examination room

Managing patient intake in clinic waiting room
in Jasmín

Organizing and administering medicines

Clinic improvement construction project

12 PM-1:30 PM

Lunch in Alajuelita

Lunch in Alajuelita

Lunch in Alajuelita

Lunch in Alajuelita

Lunch in Alajuelita

1:30 PM-4 PM

Dental hygiene project with children

Discussion with young mothers on prenatal care

Discussion of parasite prevention in kindergarten

Aid with food distribution and play in Tejarcillos

Discussion of leading an active lifestyle

 

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