“After going to the Dominican Republic with Una Vida in high school, I went three more times while in college as a nursing student. Spending time in the Dominican Republic during nursing school was a critical part of my college education, without a doubt. It allowed for real life application of the lessons in compassion we learned on campus. Spending time living alongside people who live passionately, love actively, and care selflessly gives college students inspiration and passion to do something really incredible with their lives. I’ve seen this time and again. Students realize how connected the world is while in the DR, and get excited to become a part of it. An experience like this is the perfect pair to go with the in-class lectures as we realize how much more exists outside of the classroom. I know I have been a better health care professional because of the lessons I learned while on Una Vida trips: for that I am forever grateful.
My favorite story from my trips to the Dominican Republic is one that I will not ever forget. Una Vida’s health focused trips have a special place in my heart as I saw them grow from the ground up. During one of these trips, a pregnant woman came to see us with no idea how far along she was or worse, how sick she was. She had a common yet preventable complication of pregnancy called pre-eclampsia– basically dangerously high blood pressure that compromises both the baby and mother. Recognizing she needed medical attention immediately, we used an Una Vida vehicle to drive her to the closest hospital. After a long couple of days not knowing what happened, the participants and I got the best news. The baby was born by emergency C-section, and both mom and baby were doing great. If that wasn’t enough, we were able to visit the hospital on our way home on the last day. Because we happened to be in town that day, we saved two lives in a situation that could have had a devastating outcome. We learned that simple maternity health education, something we take for granted, is lacking in many parts of the world. We also learned how big an impact each of us can make on others and on the world.”