I greatly enjoyed my time in Paraíso. While it was a short trip, I learned a lot and took full advantage of the opportunity. I was making constant comparisons to my previous summer in Uganda as well as to my previous travels to Latin America.
Jomar is a wonderful, young doctor. She is well organized and cared deeply that we enjoyed ourselves, learned new things, and were fully involved with patients in the clinic. She made sure to mix in some cultural and touristy activities too. She was our guide, our host, and our teacher.
The other physician in Paraíso who also lives in the apartment is really fun, knowledgeable and passionate about tropical disease. He was respectful, excited about my interest in women’s health and had me tag along with him one day. He also gave very detailed and interesting talks on malaria, dengue, chikungunya, leptospirosis, tuberculosis and filariasis. I wished we had talks on these topics every day because they were the most interesting part of the work day, and truly complemented the UVMCOM curriculum.
This trip was also a great way for me to practice Spanish. Because David and I could both speak the language, we interacted directly with the patients and interviewed them independently. Although Jomar is fluent in English, it was much more fun and better practice for our lectures on various medical topics to be conducted in Spanish.
Our living arrangements were close quarters but very comfortable with a nice balcony. I enjoyed the local food and our cook that made us lunch and set up dinner was very helpful. Paraíso is a unique town set in an idyllic location with white sand beaches, aquamarine ocean, palm trees, and such friendly people. I enjoyed the setting. While it is a bit of a drive from Santo Domingo, it is well worth the trip.