After much consideration and deliberation, the board of directors of Honduras Good Works chose to cancel our usual summer medical mission trip, due to the increasingly violent unrest in Tegucigalpa. The responsibility of maneuvering a group of 75 people through potential street riots to and from the airport in Tegucigalpa, was one that HGW simply could not accept. However, a core group of seasoned board members and brigade planning committee members was selected to travel to Honduras, to provide our already packed medicines to the team of Honduran providers who had signed up for the brigade. Twelve people from the United States traveled with 22 crates and duffle bags of medicines and supplies to meet up with twelve Honduran volunteers. We had six Honduran doctors, two Honduran dentists, a Honduran pharmacist, and 3 Honduran translators in that group.
We stayed at a small hotel in Yuscaran, rather than our usual retreat center. We had 6 trucks, instead of the usual 15. We only traveled to the small villages around Yuscaran, and members of the US “Trim Team” frequently played a different role than usual. Our nurse practitioner performed lab tests, and did treatments, while one of our doctors ran a pharmacy. In spite of our limited team size, we were able to provide medical and dental care to a total of 1134 patients in 10 villages over 5 days. We even went to the remote village of Granadilla, which is at the end of the dirt road up a steep mountain. They had not had a medical brigade there in decades, and our presence was very much appreciated.
We had an opportunity to see God’s hand in many places; the home visit with a woman dying of probable cancer whose pain was relieved after intense prayer, the complicated skins lesions that we were able to photograph and send to a dermatologist in Texas for diagnosis and treatment, the saving hand of God when one of our trucks’ front tire went off the edge of the road and the truck was resting at an angle on its belly, and yet was fully recovered without harm to us or the truck. We saw the joy on people’s faces when they received reading glasses. The excitement and anticipation of clean water in groups of women after receiving hygiene education and a water filter for their home. And many more events….
The dentists visited local schools and taught dental hygiene, handed out toothbrushes, and provided flouride treatment to over 100 children. However, caries are very common in Honduras, and 176 teeth were extracted. As we were a small team, all our luggage consisted of meds and supplies; we had to leave all the hygiene packs in storage in Austin. We fully expect to run a full brigade team in 2020, and will deliver those items at that time.
The American members of the team were uniformly impressed by the passion of the Honduran providers. The Honduran doctors, dentists and pharmacist worked hard and were so pleased to be able to offer their services AND our medicine to their rural poor. More often than not, medicines are too expensive or are not even available to these villagers, and dental care is not even an option. We brainstormed with the Honduran team to come up with ideas that will allow even more Honduran providers and translators to join the team, and they are enthusiastic to help. The engagement of the Honduran team with HGW is representative of how HGW is furthering its mission to equip Hondurans to care for their people.