My decision to be a part of the Sustainable Bolivian team was quite out of the blue. I had been traveling already for most of the year and was keen just to stay put in one spot for a while. And the idea of volunteering became enticing not just for this fact but also as it gave me a chance to give something back to what was quite an indulgent year. I came across Sustainable Bolivia whilst researching on the internet, and to me it stood out as the best choice as it provided excellent volunteering opportunities that covered a whole variety of fields.
I chose to opt for Centro de Salud Pacata as I am a medical student and thought that it would be a valuable experience for both academic and personal reasons. My experience at Centro de Salud Pacata was incredibly worthwhile. It saw me take part in the Bolivian preventative health approach. I was involved in the vaccination program for all Bolivians; as well as monitoring the health of people, mainly children, that lived in the region. Skills that I were able to practice and hone included suturing, vaccinating, using a sphygmomanometer, and common medical sense with regards to monitoring development of children. Working with the locals though was the real reward, as they are ridiculously friendly and grateful. And the children are absolutely adorable and one can’t help but fall in love with all of them.
Heading away no from the health centre, living with a bunch of other volunteers is, put simply, a lot of fun. The housing is more than adequate, the nights and weekends are as enjoyable as you want to make them, there are opportunities to practice your castellano (with excellent tutors), and the city itself provides many Bolivian marvels and delights. So if you want an unforgettable experience that includes a proper connection with the people of Bolivia, giving you a chance to learn so much more than you thought possible, than do this. Seriously.