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Posted By: Amy Champagne on May 13, 2013

Labels: Americas , Global Health Expertise, Health Care Education, Health Systems Strengthening, Women’s and Children’s Health

Amy Champagne, a recent graduate of the University of New Orleans and former member of the U.S. Marine Corps, is Project HOPE’s Volunteer Operations Coordinator for New Horizons 2013, a humanitarian mission to Belize orchestrated by the U.S. Air Force.  Six Project HOPE volunteers participating in the mission will spend two weeks improving the quality of obstetric care in Belize.

I am honored to say that I am the first of the New Horizons team to arrive in Belmopan, Belize.   After a long, tedious trip by plane, I arrived safely in this beautiful country.   After driving from the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport, I arrived at my temporary place of residence, KenMar B&B.

The Project HOPE volunteers participating in New Horizons 2013 will teach the course, Advanced Life Support Obstetrics (ALSO).  ALSO focuses primarily on labor and delivery room emergencies.  The course also covers prenatal risk assessment, and bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy.  The volunteers will also spend time evaluating the current maternal health capabilities in Belize.

The HOPE volunteers and their Air Force counterparts will be split among three locations spanning the entire country.  We will begin in Belmopan with our two person team of Holly Kirkland-Walsh and Lindsey Zupanic, who will teach obstetrics to five local health care workers.  The second location, Orange Walk, will be taught by HOPE volunteer Amy Kogut.  Finally, in Dangriga the ALSO course will be taught by Certified Nurse Midwife Alice Taylor, Cherri Dobson and myself.

The other Project HOPE volunteers arrive May 12th.  Until then, I am keeping busy as a tourist.  Today I found myself in the Belmopan market square.  The market has an array of different fruits, vegetables and trinkets for sale.  Craboo, which is only common in Belize, has become my favorite fruit.  The local fruit is found in a wide range of dishes, drinks, and desserts.  Craboo is quite versatile; its flavors can vary from sweet to sour, and some pieces even taste like cheese.

Belize is a melting pot of colorful personalities.  My sole complaint would be how inconsiderate the roosters here are to their neighbors in the mornings!

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