Like many people, I located Sustainable Bolivia through the internet. My friend Brindha and I were scrambling to make plans for the summer, and applications for funding were due in under two weeks! Thankfully, Erik was incredibly responsive to our emails, and sensitive to both our wishes and skills when arranging volunteer placements. From the minute he personally picked us up from the airport in the sputtering SB van, I felt very welcomed and appreciative of everything that SB does for its volunteers.
The wonderful volunteer placement director, Boria, accompanied me to my first day at Centro de Salud Pacata (a rural health clinic). The Centro was relatively small, so I immediately became integrated into many of it workings. I shadowed doctors, learned to work the patient registration system, took medical histories, and had many interesting conversations with the doctors, staff and medical interns. I even got to help the nurses with things like cleaning wounds and taking vital signs, which was very cool. About half way through my time at Pacata (I stayed 6 weeks total) another SB volunteer, Matt, started working there too. SB provided him with funding for an independent project, and we worked to implement a public dental health project that supplied over 1000 toothbrushes for the community.
I thought it was really awesome that SB had provided that opportunity. In addition to enjoying my work, I loved exploring the beautiful city and country, and made several close Bolivian friends that I still keep in touch with. If you go, I highly recommend a visit to the jungle in Chapare! I’m so thankful for everything that Erik and the rest of the SB staff did for me, and I have recommended this organization to many people interested in South America at my University. If you have any questions feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I love to talk about Cochabamba!