|Contributed Photo. Elizabeth Poindexter, a 2003 Highlands alum (left) helped treat a boy with polio on a recent trip to Nicaragua located in Central America. This marked the first time Poindexter had been there.|
|Contributed Photo. Poindexter bandages patients at the center in Nicaragua.|
"Be thankful for what you have," Poindexter said. "I told myself when I came back, I was going to stop complaining about everything because honestly, I have nothing to complain about. It was definitely beyond what I thought it would be."
Poindexter left on May 7 last month and returned to her current residence in Charleston, South Carolina on May 16. Groups from the Medical University of South Carolina go down there several times a year to help residents with huge medical needs. Poindexter is attending school there working toward a graduate degree as a Physician Assistant.
"Once I dug more into it, there have been a couple people that have asked why I'm going to a third-world country when there are people inside the country that need healthcare and that's true," Poindexter said. "I volunteer at three different clinics around (Charleston) and I help people around here that have no insurance and have little assets. But I think what people might fail to understand is the people I am going to help in Nicaragua have to walk three miles to see us. They start lining up at 4 a.m. We'll see more than 300 patients a day. There are people who haven't seen a doctor in two or three years. They have bones that haven't healed. It's on a different level."
Once approved to go to Nicaragua, Poindexter rounded up donations for the trip. She received $2,400 to cover the trip not counting vaccinations.
The trip did come with some challenges. The group took crutches, wheelchairs and canes for people. But the new Nicaragua government took them and the group was told they did not have the right paperwork. As a result, the group made canes from Polyvinyl Chrloride (PVC) plastic.
"There are a lot of factors that go into being able to go," Poindexter said. "It's something I've always wanted to do. Being a non-medical person, I didn't feel I'd be able to do as much as I can now. I jumped on the change and dealt with everything else later."
Poindexter has been married for three years to South Carolina native Grant Smith. Smith also wanted to go on the trip but things didn't work out.
Poindexter played soccer at Transylvania University after graduating from Highlands. She has her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Business from Transy and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Morehead State University.
The Medical University of South Carolina is a year-round grad school with four semesters. Poindexter hopes to graduate in August of next year.