Hello Gamma Zeta,
On Friday, we spent our last day assisting Seth’s team in the village of Santa Cruz. When we arrived there was only one person in line, but soon enough a long line formed. As always, I began by helping the dental clinic set up. The process begins with sanitizing all the tables and then placing clean sheets over them. Following this, I wash the dental chairs before placing four garbage bags around the room, two for each dentist. Once the dentists finish setting up their utensils, I call in patients one by one by saying proximo, which means next. I take the patient, point to the middle of the chair, and say siente sei aqui, which means sit right here. If they do not sit in the middle of the chair, the chair flips over. Once the patient is seated, I take their info sheet and place a drape and bib on them. When the patient is done, I clean the drape and call the next patient. This is how most of my days looked like. After being able to assist the team this past week, I cannot be more thankful to Seth and his whole team for allowing Joe and I to come. I am also very thankful to Dane for organizing the whole trip and for donating along with Stu Meacham, Ted Ahlem, John Aymond, Dr. Doug McGregor, Jeff Piper, Dr. Neil Schlupp, Dr. Ken Venos, Dr. Dave Teuscher, Dr. Don Reubenstein, and Dr. John Geiser. Being able to assist Dr. Seth Berl, Dr. David Adcock, Dr. Michael Dent, Dr. Bob Wright, Linda, Elaine, Jennie, Rhonda, Amy, and Devon was an extraordinary experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. Although, I wish I could have contributed more, I am very thankful for having the opportunity to assist the team. If anyone has ever an opportunity to be a part of a medical mission team, I highly recommend it. You learn a lot about people’s reality in third world countries and how spoiled we actually are. I hope to assist Seth’s team again the future.
Walking through the market on our last day.
Our view outside of the clinic in Santa Cruz.
Honduras after lift off.
Buenos Dias Gamma Zeta,
Today we helped the village of Buena Vista, which is also a small village 30 minutes away from La Esperanza. Seth told me that this week our team is visiting smaller villages because they have only half the doctors and dentists compared to last week’s team. Since I have got accustomed to setting up the dental clinic and assisting the dentists, I decided to spend the whole day helping them. We were able to help 45 patients with 26 of them being before lunch, which was really good. After lunch, Joe and I played soccer with two kids before returning to our positions (Joe worked at the pharmacy). I continued assisting at the dental clinic till 3 and then helped load the bus back to La Esperanza. When we arrived back, I asked Jonathan (one of our translators) to take me to a local barber, where I received the Honduran haircut for $2. It was a nice price, only a tenth of what I pay back home. Afterwards we drove to Rhonda’s mission for some good dinner and then played a good game of pig on the basketball court outside. Hocobo came in first, it was a surprise to us, but out of respect Joe and I thought it was the right thing to do by letting him win (I hope Seth and Linda do not read this haha). Following our game we came back to our hotel. Tomorrow morning we are loading the bus at 6:10 and driving to Santa Cruz.
The dental clinic at work
A home next to the schools soccer field
A brother and sister watch as their father has their teeth pulled out
Today was our day off. Although breakfast was served at 9:45, I went for a nice 6 mile run around La Esperanza with Dr. Bob Wright and his wife Anne at 7:30. I enjoy running in new places and when I found out Dr. Wright and Anne were going for a run I couldn’t resist. The farm lands that are a little north of the city are really pretty. It was a great way to start the day. Following our run, we had breakfast at Rhonda’s mission before doing some shopping with the local translators, Hocobo (Jacob in English) and Elaine. Joe bought a machete, a popular item for tourists, while I bought my younger sister a Honduran sling shot. After completing our shopping, Hocobo was kind enough to drive us to two lagoons. Seth, Linda, Bob, and Anne tagged along in Seth’s truck, while Hocobo drove the rest of us. The views were picturesque, as you can see from the photos I posted. Around 4:30 we arrived back at our hotel and sorted some medication prior to enjoying our team dinner at La Hacienda. Seth ordered four large platters containing all sorts of meat and plantains. It was the best meal so far and I’ve been eating well throughout the week. Once dinner was complete, Hocobo took Joe, Devon and I on a walk through the center of the city and then up to La Gruta. La Gruta is on a hill and contains a statue of the Virgin Mary, it is one of the landmarks in La Esperanza. Following our walk, Joe and I showered and headed to bed for a 6:25AM wake up call.
Farmlands north of La Esperanza
A lagoon Hocobo took us to
Ox enjoying some water before going up a very steep hill
La Gruta, one of the landmarks in La Esperanza
This little boy ran up to me to hug my leg
Joe and I overlooking the Honduran mountains. Our team stopped here on our way back from Buena’s Aires.
Playing soccer with the children
Buenas Gamma Zeta,
We woke up today at 7AM to load the bus and then proceeded to Rhonda’s mission for breakfast. After breakfast, we headed 30 minutes north to the village of Buena’s Aires. Throughout the first two hours I helped the dental clinic set up and bring in patients. After the two hours I went to the pharmacy where I helped fill prescriptions till lunch time. Once Joe and I finished lunch, we went to go play soccer with the kids. We actually started a game of 5 on 5 cause the kids were asking for it. After enjoying our time with the children we headed back into the pharmacy for an hour. Since it was a smaller village, we ended up finishing a little earlier than average so Joe and I passed some candy out before packing the bus back to La Esperanza. Back in La Esperanza, Joe and I went with Devon (the only other student) to La Hacienda again for some authentic Honduran food, which I have really enjoyed. Following our dinner we went back to Hotel Mina and watched an older American movie with Spanish dubbing. I’ve really enjoyed the trip so far and have been able to pick up some Spanish along the way.
Hola Gamma Zeta,
Today we went to our first village, El Cacao, which is located 33 miles (54 km) north of La Esperanza. We woke up at 6AM to load the bus and then headed to Rhonda’s mission for breakfast. After breakfast we got on the bus and arrived in El Cacao around 8 after driving on the all-dirt-road for a little over an hour. I began setting up with the dental clinic, where Dr. Mike Dent and Dr. Bob Wright were the dentists. Setting up required sterilizing the tables, chairs, other equipment the dentists use. I assisted the dentists for about two hours. I mostly brought in new patients, sat them, placed a drape and bib on them, and cleaned the drape when they were finished. Joe and I switched after two hours and I started working at the pharmacy. In the beginning, I just made sure the nurses placed the correct medication for each script before handing it over to the families. After getting the hang of it, I was able to fill the prescriptions myself. We ate lunch at noon and afterwards Joe and I were able to play soccer with the children. It was truly a great experience, especially seeing all the smiles from the children being able to kick around the soccer ball with us. Following soccer, Joe and I went back to the pharmacy for a couple more hours. Before cleaning up for the day, Linda (Seth’s wife) brought us to one of the homes in the village. Although the family was very poor they welcomed us and we were able to talk to them in spanglish for a few minutes. Following our talk, we packed the bus and headed back to La Esperanza. It was a great first day and we both learned a lot about how the volunteering days look like. Tomorrow we will be better prepared to help the Honduran people in Buenas Aires (not the capital of Argentina).
Joe and I overlooking the view at the school in El Cacao.
Entrance to the school in El Cacao
Joe and I with the children of El Cacao
Joe and I landed yesterday at 1 PM in San Pedro Sula. After waiting about an hour to get through customs, we finally walked to see Seth waiting for us. We met up with our whole group and packed the bus. Our bus took approximately 5 hours to get to La Esperanza, a small village in the mountains. Along the way, we made two stops for snacks. I was surprised to find out that most places actually accept US dollars as a form of payment. After finally arriving at Hotel Mina, which by the way is very nice and spacious, we unloaded all of our belongings and medication. Afterwards, we proceeded to Rhonda’s mission. Rhonda and her husband T.R. greeted us and provided us with dinner. Around 8PM we made our way back to the hotel and shortly after I went to sleep.
Today we started our day at 10AM by eating breakfast at Rhonda’s mission. Our whole group, besides Joe and I, are from Georgia. Therefore, we ate a large plate of grits along with our eggs. Following breakfast, we began unloading and sorting all the medication we will need. This week we will visit 4 villages, our only off day will be Wednesday. After sorting the medication for 5 hours, we were done for the day. Joe and I, along with Devon (the only other student in our group) went to La Hacienda for some authentic Honduran food. We also walked around the center of the town, which was really nice. Then at about 5:45 we made our way to Rhonda’s mission for a second dinner, which also consisted of authentic Honduran food. Of course,these meals include the Latin American staples of rice and beans, but on top of that they also include goat cheese and fried plantains, which I both really enjoy. Following dinner, Seth talked about tomorrow. We are waking up at 6 to load the bus with medication and then grabbing breakfast at Rhonda’s before setting off to Cacao, a remote village about an hour away. I am really looking forward to helping these people.
We stopped here for some mini bananas.
This is our view outside of our hotel.
Authentic Honduran food. Rice, beans, guacamole, fried plantains, and goat cheese. It was delicious.
Hello Gamma Zeta,
My name is Paul Jaroslawski and I am a Senior in Psychology. I volunteered for the Honduras Medical Mission Trip because helping those who are less fortunate than I am has always been a desire of mine. I believe trips like these teach priceless lessons about life that could help me to grow and become a better person. Also, having the opportunity to volunteer my services alongside my brother and others will undoubtedly create lasting, fond memories that I will enjoy for the rest of my life.
In approximately 12 hours, my plane departs Miami for San Pedro Sula. I am not sure what to expect, especially since we are landing in the murder capital of the world. Honduras is also the poorest country in Central America. Although, these reasons may deter individuals from volunteering their time in Honduras, it motivates me. The Honduran people need our help more than ever. I am looking forward to helping these people, while they help me to grow and become a better person. I hope you enjoy my daily blog.