It was another warm and wonderful day for the Project HOPE volunteers who provided medical care ashore at the medical site set up in Hung Linh, Vietnam.
Dr. Samuel Hunt, a retired family practice doctor from Mason City, Iowa, and a Project HOPE new-comer Jennifer Carr, a Nurse Practitioner student from Florida International University helped provide medical care in the small village as part of Pacific Partnership 2012.
"I saw roughly 30 patients today,” says Dr. Hunt. "The people here are farmers. They live on the land, spending their days in the fields tending to the rice crops. Working with them, and providing for their health needs reminded me of my childhood, growing up on a farm working with the corn and soybean crops."
Dr. Hunt said he was very familiar with the injuries and aliments that his patients presented with. “It doesn’t matter where the fields are, or what crops are being harvested, arthritis in the hands, knee pain and neck to lower back pain are common among all farmers.”
Carr also found similarities in the Vietnamese and American cultures when treating patients alongside a Vietnamese doctor at the site.
"It really shows how small of a world that we live in when we can bridge the gap of the language barrier with medicine," says Carr. "We saw many patients with high blood pressure, sore throats and patients with lower back pain."
One of the main differences that Carr did note in lifestyles was the quantity of physical labor. “The Vietnamese definitely participate in more physical labor during the day which probably explains the higher caseloads of patients with arthritis.”
After a day of true culture meshing, the Project HOPE volunteers felt connected and one with the people of Vietnam.
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