Honduras is ranked as number one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Reading about on-going daily demonstrations, robberies and murders was terrifying me as it was my summer destination. I expected the worst and it turned out that the image shown in news is once again not the same as real life. With taking precautions on obvious dangers everyone can discover that Hondurans very open, welcoming and warm people. The country itself has breath-taking nature and diverse culture in the cities.
Honduras is also one of the poorest Central American countries, where people in rural areas have no access to clean water, not even mentioning health care. This is the reason why a student led organization called Global Brigades decided to come and help them every year. I was one of the volunteers to join The Medical Brigade from Oregon University with whom I provided medical help for 4 days. This involved working in different stations with professionals such as opticians, dentists, daily care doctors, pharmacists. One of the crucial stations were education centers about oral hygiene for kids and about sexual health for adults. The biggest contact with patients happened during triage where we took their medical history.
On the top left: Our whole Medical Brigade. Four of us were from Edinburgh University and the rest of us were from Oregon State University.
On the left bottom: Lucia Rodriguez (Edinburgh University) and I with kids just after giving them lesson how to brush teeth.
To improve the life of the whole village we also participated in water day during which we were digging holes where later pipes will be installed, thanks to which villagers will have access to running water. The last days we spend on building the hygiene room for a family that we were signed to. That was my favourite part of the brigade, even though we worked hard in full sun I felt very connected to the family that welcomed us in their house. We even watched World Cup during lunch breaks together! The young couple had a 3 years old son and one more baby on the way. They were building a house for themselves, however they did not have enough money to build a bathroom. Thanks to our help we really did change their quality of life.
Before I came to the Brigade I didn’t think I would make any difference to the people lives. I thought it will be help just for their day to day problems, but seeing how much impact the Global Brigades had in the community I saw that one person can really change someone’s life for better. I can only imagine how much more the organisation could achieve if more people got involved. This was the first time I felt completely responsible for other person well-being. During first days of the brigade I saw people crying from happiness that they can read again. I became more grateful for what I have and realised that people in better situations started to loose the sense of what is the most important in life. I am very grateful for this amazing experience, which made me more compassionate, understanding and responsible.