The Centro de Parto Natural (Natural Birth Center) at Manos Abiertas has had interns from around the world since opening. We have continued to develop the program over time and hope to be able to offer a rewarding and enriching learning experience.
We take interns, usually midwives or midwifery students, who have the opportunity to participate in the full scope of our clinical practice. Working according to the North American midwifery model, we focus on highly personalized, respectful and empowering care.
The Director of Manos Abiertas, Hannah Freiwald, graduated from Maternidad La Luz (MLL) in El Paso, Texas in 1994 and follows the MLL philosophy. We are working on becoming an official clinical site for midwifery schools in the USA, but to-date have been recognized on an individual basis by each student’s school.
Once you get here, you will have a conversation with the director about your expectations and ours, so you can get the most out of your stay. The director is your direct contact for any questions, concerns, or approval of time off.
Year round we have a pleasant early summer like climate. It rains between May and October. Bring light clothing, a jacket, a sweater and some jeans.
Safety is an issue here as it is all over the world. Do not be careless, do not walk alone at night and avoid unsafe areas (mostly in Guatemala City).
Vaccinations are generally not needed. It is very unlikely that you catch a tropical or other disease in Antigua’s climate. Traveller’s diarrhea is very common and unfortunately untreatable.
Manos Abiertas I is located three kilometers outside Antigua, Guatemala. Ciudad Vieja is a quiet, rural town. We are on one of the two main streets, where buses pass every five minutes during daytime. The local market is around the corner.
We have been asked about the legal status of our interns here, and unfortunately there exists no legal status for interns. Whatever the intern does falls under the director’s responsibility. We will know your level of experience and choose your tasks accordingly.
Our interns are on call 24/7. You will sit in at appointments and be asked to do routine tasks such as taking weight, blood pressure, and patient histories. The more you know, the more you will get to do. This includes attending births under supervision, once you feel ready and we are confident you have the knowledge needed.
Mid-way through your stay, you should propose a project that will benefit the clinic--the project should be something that you specifically are interested in and would like to share. Possible examples range from grant writing and decoration to an educational project. The project should be finished by the end of your time here. You can also choose from the various projects already started at the clinic or choose your own after speaking with the Director.
In addition to the project, you will also be asked to add two points to the Intern's Manual for the benefit of future interns, as well as fill out a satisfaction survey at the end of your stay and write a blog for our website.
Interns live at Manos Abiertas in their own room with bathroom and kitchen access. Housing is included in the Intern Fee. We have a photo gallery with photos of the clinic as well as past interns-- this can give you a better sense of the community we serve as well as our physical surroundings.
Both clinics have wireless Internet access. If you do not choose to bring your own computer, you will have access to a computer with Internet at Manos Abiertas after office hours.
There is plenty to do during your free time in Antigua. There are shops, restaurants, bars (watch it!), salsa classes, cooking schools, art galleries, cultural events, and so on. You can go horseback riding (speak with the Director), climb volcanoes, get to know coffee farms, go to the ocean, see Mayan ruins...the list goes on.
In Antigua there are many Spanish schools. If you need to improve your Spanish we can either arrange for a teacher to come to the clinic or you can take classes a few times a week at a school.
Time for travelling has to be arranged in advance with the director. Ideally you do your internship first and travel once it is over.
Once you have decided you want to spend time with us, you will confirm with the Director and pay the program fee in order to reserve your space. Minimum stay is two months. We do get quite a few requests, so please try to arrange for your stay well in advance. Unfortunately, there are no refunds. We ask for payment at least two months before your arrival.
We charge $150 per week of your stay. This includes your room at Manos Abiertas, as well as access to a kitchen and Internet.
For more information, please contact us.