Written By: Rebekah Jensen 17′
I had the opportunity with 40 others to go on a medical and public health brigade to Honduras. We traveled by car, bus, airplane, and bus again with 45 bags (2,250 pounds) of supplies to Honduras. While this trip counted as my clinical hours for my Community Health Nursing course, I was able to serve and in return fall in love with the beautiful people and country of Honduras. Beside myself, eighteen other Castleton University students went on this brigade. The whole group goes through the NY-VT Nurses Global Brigades chapter, which consists of nurses, nurse practitioners, students, and laypersons.
NY-VT Nurses have gone to Honduras in the past to do medical brigades; this year the public health portion was added. During the medical brigade this year we saw just under 800 patients in three days. These three days we set up a clinic in a local school in one of the communities in Honduras. The stations that are set up to make the clinic fully-functional include: intake, triage, clinic rooms with doctors and nurse practitioners, OBGYN, optometry, dental, pharmacy, children’s charla (education), adult charla, and DI (data input). When we arrived in the morning for our medical days the street would be lined up with people waiting to be seen; some people would wait for hours in the hot sun to get treatment and care. Global Brigades provides translators for us and there are also community members that help us throughout the day at each station.
Public health also lasted three days of the trip. For the public health our team provided hygiene stations to six different families in another community in Honduras. We were split into six smaller working groups and worked alongside masons in order to build the hygiene stations properly. The hygiene stations include water storage, shower, latrine, and an area to wash clothing. These stations are made out of cinder blocks and cement to form a solid foundation and walls; the roof and door are made out of corrugated tin. These hygiene stations are located outside the home.
I had heard about the change people feel when they go on a Global Brigades trip, but I never expected to feel the way that I did after. In just nine days, I was able to feel at home in Honduras and the people who work for and with Global Brigades made it welcoming and safe. Each day was long and tiring, but the work that we were able to do, to make a difference, was unforgettable. NY-VT Nurses and Castleton University students were able to come together and make a difference. Smiles are contagious, and I was able to see that happening every day throughout my time in Honduras. For anyone wanting to get involved, NY-VT Nurses works all year long at collecting donations of supplies that are used for the clinic and community members while in country on the brigade. There are also many opportunities for fundraising throughout the year in order to provide all the care and services for the medical and public health brigade.
In closing, words cannot encompass the value this trip was to many others and me. I went to serve others on a medical and public health brigade, but got so much in return from the beautiful people and country of Honduras that they call home.