It was a very long day, but it was also our last day of classes! We started off at a dairy farm at 5:30am, where we were given a small tour and everyone had the opportunity to hand milk a cow. I have milked dairy goats before, and I was surprised at how easy it was to milk the dairy cow compared to the goat. This farm had mostly Holsteins mixed with Jerseys. They also showed us how they perform mastitis tests and do disbudding (a corrosive cream is placed on the horn buds). Both were simple procedures, but the disbudding cream was much different to the surgical procedures used in the United States.
We arrived back at Midas at 7:30am for about half an hour for breakfast at the hotel restaurant. The second stop of the day was another dairy farm to do artificial insemination. We each learned how to palpate the reproductive tract through the rectum, and used this knowledge to feel the cervix and determine whether or not the cow was pregnant. I’ve seen rectal palpation performed multiple times at Rutgers, but I have never had the opportunity to palpate in the United States, so this was a very beneficial experience for me.
We stopped back at Midas around 12:00pm for lunch, and I ate some leftovers I had in the fridge from Hana’s. Last but not least, we went to a swine farm where we castrated pigs. The procedure itself was not difficult, but I found the pig screams unsettling, especially when the larger pigs were given injections. I was a little nervous when performing the castration, since we were creating the incisions for the first time, but in the end creating the incision was simple, and the only challenging part was being able to pull out the testicle, epididymis, and vas deferens in one clean pull.
To finish off the day, we went to a waterfall to wash off (since you WILL get very dirty at the pig farm), then went to an Italian restaurant that was a short drive from Midas. I highly recommend the Hawaiian calzone!
Our TA (Candice) had a review session for the final exam from 10:30pm-11:30pm, which felt pretty thorough and helpful, as it covered the most talked about topics from the last two weeks.
TIP OF THE DAY: **When palpating the cow’s rectum to determine if she is pregnant, if the cervix is horizontal or can be manipulated while it is vertical, the cow is open, and if the cervix is vertical and cannot be moved/manipulated, the cow is pregnant.**
Today’s the day we’ve been preparing for: exam day. We started off the day doing our presentations on any topic we wanted to research that related to Belize. My partner and I researched suturing techniques and spay/neuter clinics and how they differed between the United States and Belize, while other groups focused on topics including particular diseases we talked about in lecture, anesthesia, and how to diagnose diseases.
The presentations were from 9:00am-12:00pm, and then we had lunch at Hode’s Place (I ate the rice and beans again and a banana milkshake that was surprisingly delicious) before the alumni meeting. After this meeting, we took the final exam. It was harder than I expected, but if you go to the review session and study a little bit you should be fine. After the exam, a few of my friends and I went to Guava Limb to get cheesecake to celebrate. They still did not have the oreo cheesecake, but I got the coconut cheesecake instead which was still amazing. We also stopped by Hode’s Place because we discovered during lunch that we could buy the Marie Sharp’s hot sauces here, so I bought the grapefruit and “BEWARE” hot sauces. I’m really excited to use them.
To end the day, we went to Dr. T’s home for dinner. He had a beautiful patio with lights and stairs leading down to the river. He made us tamales, potato salad, and chicken, which were all really flavorful. Our TA made a slideshow to show the highlights from the last two weeks, and we all watched it together which was a really cute moment.
TIP OF THE DAY: **PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE THE PRESENTATION OR STUDYING UNTIL THE LAST NIGHT. The wifi is pretty unreliable at Midas. My roommate and I had been doing a small amount of the presentation and studying each night while we were in Belize, but when it came time to submit the presentation I waited an hour for it to attach to the email. It will take longer than it should because of the wifi, so to save yourself from that frustration, make sure you do even one slide per day to stay on top of it.**