We ask our volunteers to write a review after their vist. Here are a few of them.
Grace always loved to travel, and made the most of every opportunity to go on an adventure. Still, it was tempting, after graduation from the University of Illinois, to begin full-time work at Epic Systems in Madison, Wisconsin immediately.
With a strong interest in prosthetics grad school someday, she simply Google-searched "prosthetics volunteer abroad" and was delighted to find out about FUNPROBO. In a whirlwind of quick decisions, Grace reached out to Matt and set up travel dates for 7 weeks volunteering full-time as a Workshop Assistant. Her time in La Paz went by in a blur, working mostly with the patient prosthetist expert, Florencio.
Florencio told Grace on day 1 that she would create a prosthesis from start to finish, and that is what happened. Grace forged a friendship with Florencio, who is himself an amputee, and she had the chance to spend a weekend with his family out in Cochabamba. Besides physical prosthetic leg building, Grace helped to translate patient stories, set up and attempt 3D-printing of upper limb prostheses, and assist fellow volunteer Amy Souster with physical therapy.
Before traveling to Bolivia, Grace had done several prosthetic and orthotic projects in college, as well as shadowing at Hanger, but there was much to learn for the entire process of casting, manufacturing, and adjusting a full leg prosthesis. Grace is currently applying to schools to obtain a Masters degree in Prosthetics and Orthotics. She looks forward to returning to La Paz someday as a certified prosthetist and orthotist to reunite with Florencio and Bismark, his nephew who is a prosthetist-in-training. Human mobility continues to be a huge passion for Grace. Because of her experiences at the Centro de Miembros Artificiales, she recommends volunteering abroad to anyone who is interested in Spanish, mobility, and medicine. ¡Que le vaya bien!
The work at Funprobo was the most rewarding I have done. I spent my time working on the patient database. It was a great opportunity to visit Bolivia improve my skills and do something to help others.
I spent most of my time working at the clinic and developing a database and program to store the patient data. Previously it was all stored in paper records, this data now be used to help secure grants from the academic community.
I found the clinic staff and atmosphere friendly and easy top get on with. I got to see the real side of Bolivia living and working along people at the clinic.
As well as working in the clinic being there gave me the chance to backpack around south America. Bolivia is right in the middle of the continent which made a great base to explore from. I visited most of the surround countries but always found myself happy to return back to Bolivia.