Honduras Medical Brigade – Samuel Soete

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I recently embarked on a medical brigade that took place in Honduras, a country riddled with poverty and prone to disease and illness without the proper healthcare system in place to deal with these problems. Our goal was to enter an impoverished community and provide them with basic medical needs such as dental attention, optometrist, and doctor consults as well as pharmaceuticals that allowed them to live productive lives despite chronic illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes.

Before leaving, I was mainly worried about the journey to Honduras as it was the first time I was travelling alone. However, these worries quickly diminished as I realised that anyone and everyone around you is willing to help if you ask kindly with a smile on your face. Honduras is also a relatively dangerous country due to its high rate of crime rate, but constant supervision and security ensured for a safe experience in this beautiful country.

It is truly amazing how much you can learn in 9 days, about the people, about how important the things are that you are doing, and about yourself. I quickly realised that all the things I take for granted everyday were off the table for these people. The people of El Tomatin relied on these brigades to acquire necessary medical attention and medication.

On my first day, I presented a dental charla to the children of the community, because if their community was to adopt a healthier lifestyle it is the children that we must focus on. I also worked in the pharmacy, counting pills and organizing medication for specific patients. My favourite station was optometry since we could tend to patients needs from start to finish. Firstly, we did an eye test with them, communicating in Spanish. Next, we analysed their eyes using an IQ vision eye machine followed by a hopeful search that we had the appropriate glasses to fit their needs. We didn’t always have an exact match, however, the smile on the patients face as I put on their new glasses told me just how much we were changing their lives. I have also come to the realisation that languages are extremely important, and that I want to be able to communicate more with people from around the world.

I hope to join another medical aid project soon and I am so thankful to the group I was with, to global brigades, and to the people in Honduras

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