Volunteer: Mary Clausner

Volunteer
  • During:

    2011

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Bicol Clinic Foundation, Inc.
Philippines, 2011

My trip to the Philippines was truly amazing. It was an experience that opened my eyes to a new side of the world, the field of medicine, and people in need. Before the trip, I had no interest in medicine; nor did I have any clue about the adversities facing rural populations around the world. Witnessing firsthand the hard work of the doctors in the Bicol Clinic, the dedication of the medical students, and the success of their surgeries and interactions with patients, helped me understand why so many in the United States work hard to get into medical school--to help people in need.

I spent most of my time in the clinic observing doctors or filling prescriptions but one time I was able to help dress a wound in the surgery room, and I thought to myself, "I really wish I would have taken classes to become a nurse." Having graduated recently without any firm plan for my future, I still think about possibly becoming a nurse or taking classes to help broaden my understanding of health and medicine. Though I've experienced much in my short life so far, I've never felt anything like I did in that surgery room in the Bicol Clinic or while teaching Filipino kids volleyball in Bulan.

The volleyball camp was the other inspiring part of the trip. The Filipino children clearly enjoyed the activities of the camp. After the last day, I wanted nothing more than to continue this camp each year and to keep donating volleyballs to the school. I've never seen so many happy and excited faces. We could have played with the children for hours on end, and we noticed improvement over only a few days. I wondered if students in the US would get this excited over something so simple. Probably not. In short, the Filipino people were welcoming and friendly. Sure the scenery wasn't too shabby (amazing hot/cold springs, beaches, volcanoes, picturesque bays, and more) but the people really made this adventure special.

This trip was, overall, one of the most inspiring and life-changing things I have undertaken. The heart of the Bicol Clinic is in the right place-it lies inextricably with the needs and hopes of the Filipino people. I know I will continue my support of this endeavor, and I wish the Clinic and its patients a bright future.

Mary Clausner
Tulane University
Volunteer

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