Health&Help: living conditions
November 5, 2018


Here you can find a lot of use­ful in­for­ma­tion about clinic fa­cil­i­ties and ac­com­mo­da­tion con­di­tions.


The clinic has three units: the med­ical wing, the vol­un­teer house, and the pantry. They are con­nected with a pas­sage.

The clinic is elec­tri­fied. Un­for­tu­nately, there are power out­ages out­ages es­pe­cially dur­ing wind and rain storms. But don’t worry, we are equipped with emer­gency flash­lights and can­dles. Though we have these avail­able, we rec­om­mend you bring your own flash­light or head­lamp. We would greatly ap­pre­ci­ate if you did do­nate AA and AAA bat­ter­ies, prefer­ably Eneloop, as safety mea­sures in case we are with­out power for a long pe­riod of time.


We are tak­ing care of our bud­get as well as the en­vi­ron­ment, so we save en­ergy by switch­ing the lights off and plug­ging the de­vices out of the sock­ets when­ever we are not in the room. Every lit­tle thing helps - money will be spent on med­ica­tion for our pa­tients.

The clinic has a wa­ter sup­ply sys­tem, but it might not be work­ing from time to time for the same rea­sons af­fect­ing our elec­tric­ity. We fill tanks with wa­ter to be pre­pared for a short­age. Be­fore us­ing it for cook­ing, the wa­ter needs to be fil­tered or boiled. There is a UV and sed­i­ment fil­ter for the wa­ter on tap in the kitchen, though you need to re­mem­ber the UV light will not work dur­ing an out­age.


Med­ical wing

The med­ical unit is our largest space in the clinic. There are five rooms to be used: wait­ing room, phar­macy, lab­o­ra­tory, OR/​​de­liv­ery room, pa­tient room, as well as sep­a­rate WCs for vis­i­tors and vol­un­teers.

The clinic is well-equipped with stetho­scopes, pulse oxime­ters, blood pres­sure me­ters, ther­mome­ters, oto­scopes. How­ever, we are al­ways open to do­na­tions of sur­gi­cal in­stru­ments.


The clinic is equipped with:

* All med­ical vol­un­teers, nurses and med­ical stu­dents in­cluded, must be trained to use the ma­chine and in­ter­pret the re­sults.

**This de­vice must be charged at all times; the charger is lo­cated at the lab­o­ra­tory.

*Our team uses both the US and Eu­ro­pean mea­sure­ment sys­tems. There is no big dif­fer­ence be­tween them: you just need to di­vide by 18 to get the Eu­ro­pean num­bers, and mul­ti­ply by 18 - to see the US mea­sure­ments.

  • There are au­to­matic and man­ual STAT-Site® M Hgb he­mo­glo­bin me­ters at the clinic.
  • In­fec­tious dis­eases (HIV, syphilis, he­pati­tis type A/​​B/​​C, mononu­cle­o­sis) ex­press tests as well as preg­nancy and urine tests are at your dis­posal to iden­tify var­i­ous pa­ra­me­ters.
  • Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis as well as helminths can be seen un­der the 10/​​40/​​100 mi­cro­scope, when adding dye.


  • Neb­u­lizer for adults and chil­dren turns med­ica­tion into mist, al­low­ing them to be eas­ily in­haled into the lungs. Bronchial asthma, bron­chi­tis as well as per­tus­sis are treated with this de­vice.
  • Ambu-bag is used for emer­gency lungs ven­ti­la­tion; var­i­ous masks are pro­vided as well. The pa­tient can be in­tu­bated with laryn­go­scope, tubes, LMAs.
  • Height and weight mea­sur­ing scales are pro­vided at the clinic along with UV and heat ster­il­iz­ers to dis­in­fect sur­gi­cal in­stru­ments; ster­il­iza­tion bags are also on stock. Sur­gi­cal (plenty) and den­tal (one kit) in­stru­ments can be found on site.


We did our home­work and sup­plied our phar­macy with var­i­ous med­ica­tion drugs. We ask all our on­site vol­un­teers to bring med­i­cine do­na­tions with them. Thanks to them, a rather wide range of drugs can be found at the clinic phar­macy.

Vol­un­teer house

The vol­un­teer liv­ing quar­ters con­sist of three rooms with all the bare es­sen­tials you will need: beds, shelves, ta­bles, linens, tow­els and other ameni­ties.

Nor­mally, each room ac­com­mo­dates 2 or 3 peo­ple. Be­ing re­spect­ful of other peo­ple’s pri­vate space is key: re­spect your room­mates by re­frain­ing from loud con­ver­sa­tions or any other noises, al­ways analyse if they are ok with what you are do­ing in the room, al­ways be pos­i­tive, and avoid con­flicts. Keep­ing the room clean and do­ing laun­dry reg­u­larly will help build a healthy at­mos­phere. The floor and win­dows clean­ing sched­ule is usu­ally put up in ad­vance.

Each vol­un­teer has their own bed with a nice cushy mat­tress. We pro­vide our vol­un­teers with linens, pil­lows, a blan­ket, and a per­sonal towel.


The area is not that in­fested with in­sects, how­ever, we need to be aware of scor­pi­ons and spi­ders, which tend to hide in­doors dur­ing the rainy sea­son. If re­quired, the bed can be equipped with a mos­quito net.

Rooms have shelves and cab­i­nets at your dis­posal. Ta­bles, a mir­ror, hang­ers, and shoe racks are spread evenly be­tween the rooms.

The bath­room is com­mu­nal, which means each vol­un­teer is re­spon­si­ble for its clean­li­ness. Though the toi­let flushes prop­erly, toi­let pa­per can­not be thrown in it. To avoid clog­ging, please put used toi­let pa­per in the ad­ja­cent bin.

The shower is elec­tric and has a so­lar pow­ered heat­ing sys­tem to pro­vide hot wa­ter. We strongly ad­vise to limit your show­er­ing to 10 min­utes as the elec­tric bills are high. Be­ware of scor­pi­ons and snakes crawl­ing around. To avoid un­pleas­ant sur­prises use show­er­ing slip­pers.


Like the shower, the wash­ing ma­chine is a lux­ury - it burns tons of en­ergy. There­fore, Sun­day is laun­dry day. Please, keep in mind that your clothes will be washed to­gether with those of other vol­un­teers - so, be mind­ful when han­dling all laun­dry.

Tidy­ing up is done at least once a week: gut­ters, toi­lets, floors and the mir­ror are washed.

Tak­ing care of your room­mates’ well­be­ing means tak­ing care of your own com­fort.

Re­cy­cling is an im­por­tant part of the daily rou­tine at the clinic. Biodegrad­able waste is com­posted; plas­tic and pa­per is burnt; glass, metal and other rub­bish is stored to be taken out to a land­fill; med­ical waste is kept in spe­cial con­tain­ers to be uti­lized by a cer­ti­fied com­pany in Mo­mos­te­nango. The vol­un­teer on duty checks the premises on a daily ba­sis, re­cy­cling garbage.



The pantry is where we keep food, clothes, build­ing ma­te­ri­als, tools, and med­ical sup­plies stored in marked con­tain­ers, easy to ac­cess. You can find clothes of any sizes and types left be­hind by other vol­un­teers. All cloth­ing items have been washed and are ready to be worn again.

Here you can also find the kitchen and din­ing room. This part of the build­ing does have win­dows, there­fore it can be rather chilly in there.

These rooms are kept tidy by two vol­un­teers on duty, who are do­ing the dishes, clean­ing the table and the stove. It is highly im­por­tant to put away the food as there is a risk of it go­ing bad or be­ing eaten by in­sects and ro­dents. Gro­ceries must be stored in con­tain­ers to stop the mice and flies from be­com­ing our house­mates.


There is a gas stove pow­ered by nat­ural gas in the kitchen. We rec­om­mend us­ing it mind­fully as gas is costly and hard to de­liver. You can also pre­pare food in the slow cooker; al­ways cook for sev­eral serv­ings to save en­ergy. Plenty of kitchen­ware, both glass and plas­tic, a mixer as well as fur­ni­ture can be found in the din­ing room.

We keep food and med­i­cine in the fridge - it is cleaned out and washed reg­u­larly. In case there is an out­age, all drugs must be re­lo­cated to a safe place.

We keep our pick-up truck un­der the tent. The truck is used for both emer­gency pa­tients and gro­cery shop­ping in Mo­mos­te­nango. It is strictly pro­hib­ited to use it for per­sonal pur­poses.

We also take care of our back­yard, wa­ter­ing the flow­ers, clean­ing it from old leaves and weeds. Chil­dren usu­ally take turns on the swing in our court­yard af­ter movie night on Sat­ur­days.


Free time

Af­ter busi­ness hours you have some time to your­self. Feel free to read, walk, or watch a movie. How­ever, you are still ex­pected to do your part of daily chores.

We have a lap­top at the clinic for gen­eral pur­poses. There are plenty of movies, mu­sic, and ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­ri­als down­loaded onto it. Nor­mally, we show car­toons to lo­cal chil­dren in the evening, giv­ing them a chance to know the world bet­ter. There is a pro­jec­tor used for hold­ing movie nights.


There are sev­eral books in Span­ish, Eng­lish, and Russ­ian at your dis­posal.

Wi-Fi or wired In­ter­net con­nec­tion is not an op­tion at the clinic, how­ever, you should be able to use the mo­bile in­ter­net. The sig­nal is not that strong, but it is enough for tex­ting.

There is also an out­door bar­beque used fre­quently to have par­ties. Please al­ways be re­spect­ful to­wards other vol­un­teers’ and pa­tients’ needs; make sure every­body else is ok with the ac­tiv­i­ties you are do­ing. While you are free to en­joy your­self, we ex­pect you to take emer­gency pa­tients when­ever they come in.


As we live in a pre­dom­i­nantly Mor­mon and Evan­gel­i­cal vil­lage, al­co­hol con­sump­tion and smok­ing are pro­hib­ited in pub­lic places. All al­co­holic bev­er­ages must be con­sumed out of mugs; bot­tles must be stored in dark trash bags un­til the next visit to the land­fill. One doc­tor and one dri­ver must al­ways be sober in case of an emer­gency.

_It is im­por­tant to ac­knowl­edge that every­thing in­side the clinic is ac­quired with hard work. Please be care­ful with the equip­ment and fur­ni­ture. If you break some­thing ac­ci­dently, please let the man­age­ment know and then pay for the dam­age. To­gether, we can make the Health&Help clinic a cozy and like­able place to live and work in. _