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Belize Trip

by Kristina Chiu

Courtesy of AAIH


From December 15th to 24th 2011, African Americans in Health (AAIH), a pre-health club on
campus, partnered with the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNAPHA) in order to
travel to Belize to educate kids in orphanages about hygiene and poison prevention. They also
set up a health fair for local Belizeans.

Over the course of eight days, they traveled to four different orphanages, where they distributed
toys and gave presentations on poison prevention, hand washing, dental hygiene, and the
importance of nutrition and exercise.

“Hand washing was very important,” said Junior LaTiera Zachery, President of African
Americans in Health. “There are adults that don’t wash their hands after they use the restroom or
before they start to cook and that can cause a lot of illness.”

They also traveled to a group home where they gave a presentation about HIV.

“We educated the teens at the home about HIV,” said Zachery, “and how it’s important not to
judge others because some people are born with HIV. [We wanted] to build awareness in them.”

A health fair was set up in a local village to give free health screenings such as body fat analysis,
glucose screenings, and hypertension screenings. Undergraduates from AAIH assisted pharmacy
students by taking patients’ blood pressures, heights, and weights and writing down patients’
medical histories and screening results. The pharmacy students drew blood from patients and
conducted tests to analyze it.

In addition to volunteering, the group also experienced a different culture in Belize, as they went
snorkeling with stingrays and sharks.

“I was just so excited to be in a different culture and just experience something that I’ve never
experienced before,” said Zachery.

However, according to Zachery, the most enjoyable part of the trip was working with the
children.

“Just [to] see the glow in the kids’ eyes is something that will always be with me,” said
Zachery. “It feels good to actually go and put a smile on the kids’ faces.”

Students interested in joining AAIH or participating in their next service trip can email
aaih.usc@gmail.com. The application for the trip will be available in early September. The trip
is open to all USC students, however priority is given to AAIH members.

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