Welcome to the Primary Care Team!
We are a diverse group of people who come from all walks of life and from many different states and countries. We’ve come together because we share a vision: the vision of bringing medical care to Vietnam’s poorest residents, who usually have little or no access to modern medicine. In the process, we share our love with them, and accept theirs in return.
You don’t need to be a doctor, nurse, or medical student to join—but if you are, we’d love to have you! Our volunteers have included lawyers, retired seniors, college students, and office workers. Miss Vietnam USA has translated for us. A TV entertainer has walked the backcountry paths with us. A water specialist has tested remote village waters. There is work for all—and you may discover talents you never knew you had!
With the Primary Care Team, you will stay in a hotel in an urban center close to where we will work. At the hotel, we will have running water, comfortable beds, and (usually) air conditioning. Each day we travel by bus—with occasional segments by boat or motorbike—to a different rural site. There we work together to provide medical care to people who may never have seen a doctor in their lives.
The Primary Care Team works in the remotest regions of Vietnam, where people labor in rice paddies, haul in fishnets, crush stone for concrete, and melt limestone in homemade ovens. Where we go, medical care is rare and often beyond what people can afford. We see places that few tourists see, and meet people that few outsiders do. We talk to, we touch, and we are touched by people who have never seen an outsider beyond those they see on TV sets at the local cafes.
Although our volunteers change with each trip, many return year after year, or are drawn back after a break to raise children or complete their educations. So each year, we come together as a new group. Relationships begin to form in the airports. By the morning of Day 1 in Saigon or Hanoi, we are strangers from all over the U.S. and other parts of the world. By the evening of Day 1, we are a team. And by the evening of Day 2, we are a family, reaching out to help others in a common mission of compassion.
By the end of the journey, we have given much of ourselves. And yet, most of us feel we have received more than we have given. The love and friendship that has greeted our work cannot be measured in numbers. From the simple thanks and smiles of the villagers, we believe that the people we have served feel the same as we do.