Post Trip Reflections

Forgive the late posting of this – it has been sitting in my drafts box waiting for me to hit ‘post’ for the longest time.

 

Having just landed back in the US, I can whole heartedly say that this summer in the Dominican has been one of the most incredible experiences that I have had thus far.

By the end of the trip, I will admit that days felt longer, feet felt more tired, and spanish felt more labored. I believe, however, that by the end of the trip my teammates and I had a heightened awareness of what it means to think collectively, taking into consideration the good of the community and the SOMOS model that serves as our structural foundation. Constant email chains and Skype calls made us cognizant of the decisions we were making, and helped us to better understand what to take into consideration when either verbalizing ideas/situations to the team or communicating with community members in real time. The past two and a half weeks have given me a heightened sense of ownership over the project, a sense of belonging, and a reenforced understanding of SOMOS and its goals. For this, I feel that I will be a more productive member of the project and be able to advocate more for the community, to the Charles Center, I am eternally grateful for this opportunity.

The final leg of my trip was extremely productive. By the end, 28 houses were sampled for beliefs on dengue (of 90). All 90 households were surveyed for SNA (Social Network Analysis). There was an extremely successful community  meeting – with a large turn out and lots of community member discussion surrounding the upcoming SOMOS projects in the community. Additionally, after my departure the team plans on holding health committee meetings when the doctors from VCU (SOMOS long term partner HOMBRE) arrive in country. The community is now ready for the future work with SOMOS, HOMBRE, as well as the EWB in the coming months.

Now, back in the states I will work with Dr. Aday to analyze the responses of the surveys as it pertains to information and concepts in the Health Beliefs Model. Additionally, we will analyze together unique patterns in the knowledge base of the community. By the end of the analysis, we will hope to have identified holes that could be filled by teaching initiatives and programs put forth by the Comité de Salud and SOMOS.

 

More soon.