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Greetings from Goa!

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Greetings from Goa!

I’m Bonnie Chu Hasoon, and I’m a public health zoonosis veterinarian in Houston, Texas, where I lead rabies investigations, perform rabies risk assessments, and educate and assist the public and local veterinarians with zoonotic diseases.

After learning about rabies and the vast impact it has on both the human and dog populations in India, I longed to help combat rabies in a way I have never experienced. I have volunteered before in the Galapagos Islands and Nicaragua. I know how rewarding international veterinary volunteering can be and it is a passion that I want to fulfill every few years, so when I saw an email from Clinician’s Brief about the Mission Rabies volunteer opportunity in Goa, India, I knew it was my calling!

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Thanks to Brief Media and Mission Rabies, I have had an incredible, unforgettable 2 weeks on this campaign. One of my favorite things about this trip is seeing so many drastically different and unique areas of Goa each day. During the week, we walked 10+ miles each day in varying neighborhoods, markets, and slums, vaccinating dogs and getting a glimpse of what it is like to live in Goa. This is the India 99% of tourists do not see or experience. Over the weekend, we were able to explore some of the beautiful, tourist aspects of Goa. The contrast was extreme, and I am grateful to have experienced India this way.

A trip like this bonds not only the 11 international volunteers but also the local Mission Rabies staff, especially those on your vaccination team! Even though most of my team (Team Pythons) spoke limited English, we were still able to build friendships, enjoy each other’s company, and have a great time! Every day was a new adventure, and you never knew what pictures and stories you would eagerly tell and hear at dinner.

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The days were long (6:30 am to 6:30 pm with breaks in-between), hot and humid (with feel-like temperatures above 100°F), and very physical and sweaty (an 10+ miles and 2 showers a day), but I still found myself enjoying it day after day, which says a lot about this experience! The local Mission Rabies team members are incredibly hard working, talented, and inspiring, and their passion for animal welfare is evident in their work.

I personally vaccinated ≈650+ dogs against rabies, with a grand total of 6,000+ dogs vaccinated. I leave with a camera filled with happy memories of Goa, Mission Rabies, and friendships that I will never forget.

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Watch for updates on social media, and be sure to check for updates at —Bonnie Chu Hasoon

Bonnie Chu Hasoon, DVM, MPHc, is a zoonosis veterinarian in Houston, Texas, and a 2019 Mission Rabies volunteer.

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