Before we left for our trip to Belize, I decided to do a comparison of what a normal day would look like for me here in Raleigh. I took one photo every hour for 10 hours both on a day at home and a day while we were in Belize. The differences are both comical and extreme, so enjoy my day in the life comparisons!
HOUR 1 – In these pictures I am doing the same activity: brushing my teeth. However, there is one main difference between doing this at home and doing this in Belize: the water quality. At home, it is safe to put your toothbrush directly under the faucet water and brush your teeth. In Belize, the water is not always safe and could contain harmful bacteria. Each night I filled up 2-3 water bottles with purified water and placed them in our fridge so that I had cold water the next day. I used this water to brush my teeth to ensure I didn’t get sick!
HOUR 2 – Breakfast! The most important meal of the day. Back home, a usual breakfast for me consisted of eggs, some sort of carbohydrate like an English muffin or toast, and a breakfast meat like bacon or turkey sausage. I almost always cook a hot and nutritious breakfast to ensure I start my day off right. In Belize, the food was much different than what I am used to. We had eggs a few times, but on this day we had beans, chicken, tortillas, and fresh fruit. I was loving the fruit but it was very difficult to wrap my brain around eating chicken and beans for breakfast!
HOUR 3 – After breakfast on this day, it was time to start packing for my trip. In this first photo you can see the blue scrubs that I am wearing in the second photo, which is actually pretty cool! While I was in my air conditioned apartment watching Netflix while packing on this day, I was taking a patient’s blood pressure in 100° heat in the village of San Victor in Belize. We started our days early in Belize to make the most of our time there and we were already out and about doing house visits at the same time that I was packing for my trip in Raleigh the week prior!
HOUR 4 – This comparison showed a very real difference in transportation when I was in Belize. In the first photo, I am driving my car to run some errands. I have access to transportation 24/7 here in Raleigh and I am very grateful for that. While we were doing house visits in Belize, we got dropped off via bus to the village and then walked the entire village going door-to-door for each house. In this photo on the right, I was just gifted some plums from a lovely patient we visited. The heat was blistering, as it was most days, and my sunscreen was wearing out. To avoid burns, I used an umbrella to shield myself from the sun. In my air conditioned car, the roof and sun visor were plenty of protection from the heat.
HOUR 5 – At this time, I was getting a snack in Raleigh and eating lunch in Belize. At home it was National Donut Day, so I treated myself to a donut from the amazing shop “Rise Biscuits and Donuts” in Raleigh. This sugar filled and calorie dense donut barely filled me up, but tasted delicious. For lunch in Belize, we were given a delicious, nutritious, and filling meal of brown rice, chicken, veggies, melon, and a coconut tarte. I couldn’t even finish this portion of food which was huge, and it was a very different flavor than what I was used to back home. I love seeing the difference in my processed donut to the fresh meal I got in Belize.
HOUR 6 – At this hour back home, I took a break from my errands to watch Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. This photo shows how much technology we have in one small spot of our apartment: an Xbox, wireless router, Modem, and flat screen TV. At the same time in Corozal, we were able to visit the Corozal Community Hospital and get a tour to see how public health care is in Belize. It was so humid and hot that day and the level of simplicity that hospital had was astounding. It was a lot smaller than I expected for a hospital, but I imagine that was just my “American brain” thinking of the hospitals we have here.
HOUR 7 – I had just gotten some delicious Starbucks coffee at this time back in Raleigh. I must admit, I have a slight addiction to their coffee and getting some usually happened many times per week. At this same time in Belize, we had just finished our hospital tour. I definitely could’ve used some of that Starbucks after the long day we had going from house visits straight to the tour. At this point I was just hoping for some water – not even cold! I was so dehydrated and didn’t pack enough water to get me through the entire day. I needed a $5 coffee at this same time back at home, yet here I was thankful for some clean water to drink.
HOUR 8 – These pictures definitely made me laugh. In the first photo, I’m relaxing on the couch and playing with the different photo filters on an app called “Snapchat”. On the right, my classmate Zainab and I were exhausted after our long day. I had to change my scrub top from how sweaty and hot I was, no makeup, and my hair was natural. It just shows the difference in how I got ready each day at home compared to in Belize!
HOUR 9– This comparison has to be the most Westernized vs. Developing Country one yet. In the left photo, I was celebrating my last day in the States with a dinner at my favorite restaurant: Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar. I ordered a bacon cheeseburger, truffle fries, and a coke zero. This meal was expensive, fattening, and loaded with calories. On the right, we had dinner in Belize consisting of stew chicken, fresh mashed potatoes, and salad. Both meals were “filling” to me because I got used to eating smaller portions of healthier food while I was in Belize!
HOUR 10 – This was the final hour I documented. In the first picture, I am doing my multiple loads of laundry in preparation for the trip. On the right, we had our suture class taught by Dr. Estrata at night! We used oranges to learn how to do a square suture stitch and got to practice multiple times on a cut orange. The photo is foggy on the right because of how hot and humid that room was. It was about 95° and we were sweating and getting bitten by mosquitoes the entire time! At home, I remember sweating a little just from the heat of the dryer in my laundry room. It’s funny how things change as you travel abroad!