Now that the craziness of the August/September brigade season has calmed down it is easier to take some time to look back on all that has happened. I have been in Honduras now for almost three months and the time has flown by. I worked with nine groups from all over the US this season and during that time I was privileged to work and help the groups treat 9,833 patients. It was amazing to me that throughout that time the number of patients seen ranged anywhere from 50 to 1303 in one day. In addition to the wide range in numbers of patients, groups and I also saw a range of problems that the patients faced. We saw anything from a person needing only vitamins, to the common cold, to gastritis, to varicous ulcers, and then to one peculiar case where a lady could not feel anything on the entire right side of her body. It was so fascinating to see the wide range of patients that we treat on most brigades.
Not only was it fascinating to see a wide range in patients but I also learned/experienced a wide range of night time activities. First the east coast, UNC group, taught me some basic Reggae and Bungra dance moves. I was able to partake in one of my favorite Midwest card games, euchre, with the Michigan group. While the west coast, the Washington group and I played charades and told ghost stories by the camp fire. These night time activities were such a great way for the staff and group to bond.
However, the number of patients and night time activities were not the only thing I learned/experienced with the students. The students also taught me the very literal meaning of giving someone the shirt off your back, as one student from the University of Chicago demonstrated. This group saw a little boy standing naked and alone as they were getting ready to depart back to the compound. The group very disturbed began asking if there were any extra donations to give to the boy. There was none left; however, the leader of the group readily took off her extra t-shirt she was wearing and gave it to the little boy. That experience left me flabbergasted because I couldn’t believe that a mother would leave her child unaccompanied and naked. However traumatizing this experience was, it also reminded me how readily people in this world are to give something of themselves to others.
This past brigade season has been one of learning and growing for me and so I just want to say a great big THANK YOU to all of the groups for sharing a piece of their life, their time, and most importantly for opening their heart and mind to the staff and people of Honduras. You have made an impact on all those you encountered and I hope in turn that the experience and people of Honduras has impacted you in some way. For this I will always be grateful to have this experience. Now that the season is over I leave with a huge fire ignited in me to start working on projects that will hopefully improve the program. In addition, I am also left with excitement at the thought of working/seeing everyone in the near future! Muchas Gracias todos!!