Honduras
Mercer On Mission

A Rewarding Experience

Being in Honduras has been a great time. After a long week of living on a ranch, driving to various villages, and hosting a myriad of clinics, I am exhausted. Being at the hotel this evening has given me an opportunity to reflect on my journey. The children have been so beautiful and the parents so appreciative. Yesterday, I saw a woman so happy just to receive fourteen vitamins. It brought joy to my heart and I wished I could provide more. Today we climbed over 600 stairs to get an overview of Catacamas. It was a beautiful sight. I am greatful to be in this moment. -Brittney

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2015 May 26: Erika

You know, it

2015 May 24: Kevin

Kevin: Who knew $1.50 could buy so much fun? Our group was hanging out on the beach during a fun and relaxing weekend in Trujillo, when, of all things, a banana boat ride appeared on the horizon. I was skeptical as I saw it approach. I was thinking it would cost at least $15 and be a little sketchy to say the least. However, when I learned it would cost only $1.50, any concerns of safety vanished and I, along with a group of other people, were all in. The banana boat ride was a blast! We all got flipped off the raft, but returned safely to shore. To me, that silly ride sums up the trip. Much of the trip exceeded my expectations, I had more fun than I could have imagined, and I made some great friends along the way.

2015 May 22: Nicole

Nicole Today we were at a two classroom school, with one room used for pharmacy and the other used for patient visits. This is a set-up for clinic we have grown accustomed to over this last week, However, there was one difference between today

2015 May 21: Susan

Today was awesome! The patients seen today were way more complicated that the previous days, but still compassionate and extremely appreciative for all we

2015 May 21: Emma

Emma Today, my worst fear about participating in Mercer on Mission was realized in full force. We awoke at 5am on Thursday morning to embark on the two-hour drive to El Pedrero, a tiny town nestled deep in the mountains of the Agalta Valley. Upon arrival, everyone was a little tired and jostled from the pothole-filled ride. Assigned to interpret for Carson for the day, we began setting up in a back room. We didn

2015 May 27: Susan

Today was awesome! The patients seen today were way more complicated that the previous days, but still compassionate and extremely appreciative for all we

2015 Suffering and Resilience: Dr. Meye

Dr. Andrea Meyer

2015 First Week Summary by Undergrads: Shannon

Shannon: Coming in as an undergrad I didn

2015 First Week Summary by Undergrads: Bristal

Bristal: The first week of clinics was filled with adjustments. The adjustment to having no Wifi pretty much devastated our group, which was sad because these people live without that and other luxuries all the time, but you would never think they are missing out on anything. They carry joy with them wherever they go, and they are so grateful for everything they receive. That was a common theme and observation in our nightly debriefing meetings. We were all impacted by how kind and thankful all of the patients were, even the ones that we couldn

2015 First Week Summary by Undergrads: Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn: **The Internet was not cooperating at the ranch, so each of the undergrad students will summarize the first week in country, followed by blog posts for the second week from different students. We apologize for the inconvenience. The first week in Honduras was an exciting one. I soon fell in love with relaxing in the hammocks after a long day of clinics, followed by a friendly game of pick up soccer with the HOI staff. A typical day begins with breakfast at 6:15, devotional at 7:00 on Mondays and Fridays, and then leaving for clinics at 7:30. Each day of clinic had its own challenges. I was able to work at both the intake station and with a couple providers this week. Next week I hope to spend some time in the pharmacy as well. One patient who particularly stands out for me after this week of clinics was an older diabetic man who came in. He had a cut on his leg and wanted it clean, but after smelling the odor coming from his other leg, we knew there was something much worse going on. Ultimately, he had an ulcer for 14 years, and due to infection we were sure he had to get to a hospital quickly. He was probably going to lose his leg, but that was better than losing his life. It was so frustrating to hear that he could not make it to a hospital any time soon. We felt like he did not understand the severity of the situation, but in reality we did not understand that he was in poverty and could not afford the trip. It was more important to him to eat meals than to receive medical care. This situation is not uncommon here. Many people have told us about having to choose between taking themselves to the clinic or receiving care for their children. I cannot imagine having to make such a difficult decision, and so far, this week has taught me to be thankful for what I have in the United States. We have a much better quality of life than they do here, but that does not mean we are happier. I have seen several children mesmerized by bubbles, and young boys playing soccer with a beat up ball. These kids have never seen an iPad or iPod, and they are more than content. After this week of clinics, I

2015 First Week Summary by Undergrads

Kaitlyn: **The Internet was not cooperating at the ranch, so each of the undergrad students will summarize the first week in country, followed by blog posts for the second week from different students. We apologize for the inconvenience. The first week in Honduras was an exciting one. I soon fell in love with relaxing in the hammocks after a long day of clinics, followed by a friendly game of pick up soccer with the HOI staff. A typical day begins with breakfast at 6:15, devotional at 7:00 on Mondays and Fridays, and then leaving for clinics at 7:30. Each day of clinic had its own challenges. I was able to work at both the intake station and with a couple providers this week. Next week I hope to spend some time in the pharmacy as well. One patient who particularly stands out for me after this week of clinics was an older diabetic man who came in. He had a cut on his leg and wanted it clean, but after smelling the odor coming from his other leg, we knew there was something much worse going on. Ultimately, he had an ulcer for 14 years, and due to infection we were sure he had to get to a hospital quickly. He was probably going to lose his leg, but that was better than losing his life. It was so frustrating to hear that he could not make it to a hospital any time soon. We felt like he did not understand the severity of the situation, but in reality we did not understand that he was in poverty and could not afford the trip. It was more important to him to eat meals than to receive medical care. This situation is not uncommon here. Many people have told us about having to choose between taking themselves to the clinic or receiving care for their children. I cannot imagine having to make such a difficult decision, and so far, this week has taught me to be thankful for what I have in the United States. We have a much better quality of life than they do here, but that does not mean we are happier. I have seen several children mesmerized by bubbles, and young boys playing soccer with a beat up ball. These kids have never seen an iPad or iPod, and they are more than content. After this week of clinics, I

2015 First Week Summary by Undergrads

Blog here.

Summary of first week by Undergraduates

Kaitlyn: The first week in Honduras was an exciting one. I soon fell in love with relaxing in the hammocks after a long day of clinics, followed by a friendly game of pick up soccer with the HOI staff. A typical day begins with breakfast at 6:15, devotional at 7:00 on Mondays and Fridays, and then leaving for clinics at 7:30. Each day of clinic had its own challenges. I was able to work at both the intake station and with a couple providers this week. Next week I hope to spend some time in the pharmacy as well. One patient who particularly stands out for me after this week of clinics was an older diabetic man who came in. He had a cut on his leg and wanted it clean, but after smelling the odor coming from his other leg, we knew there was something much worse going on. Ultimately, he had an ulcer for 14 years, and due to infection we were sure he had to get to a hospital quickly. He was probably going to lose his leg, but that was better than losing his life. It was so frustrating to hear that he could not make it to a hospital any time soon. We felt like he did not understand the severity of the situation, but in reality we did not understand that he was in poverty and could not afford the trip. It was more important to him to eat meals than to receive medical care. This situation is not uncommon here. Many people have told us about having to choose between taking themselves to the clinic or receiving care for their children. I cannot imagine having to make such a difficult decision, and so far, this week has taught me to be thankful for what I have in the United States. We have a much better quality of life than they do here, but that does not mean we are happier. I have seen several children mesmerized by bubbles, and young boys playing soccer with a beat up ball. These kids have never seen an iPad or iPod, and they are more than content. After this week of clinics, I

Blog 2015

Blog here.

Clinica Las Manzanas!

Hi everyone, After last night's thunderstorms, today was a beautiful day in Honduras. We began our day by touring the Escuela de Esperanza, which means "school of hope" and is supported by HOI. We met several of the children and were able to see their classrooms, library and playground and soccer fields that are currently under construction. The children seemed excited to see us and one young girl spoke to us in English! After touring the school we traveled to the clinic located in the village of Las Manzanas to visit patients. We saw between 60-70 patients and have really come together as a team! Things ran smoothly and our team seems to work really well together. The Honduran people were gracious as always and were waiting on us when we arrived. It has been a great two weeks and most of us cannot believe that our last clinic day is tomorrow. We have all been making photos to share when we return and I know that our appreciation for simple things such as clean running water and sanitation will forever be changed. Thank you to all our family and friends for praying for us and supporting us! We have been blessed by the people we have met in Honduras and only hope that we have been able to give back to them. - Amber

Toothbrushes Bring Happiness!

Honduras is such a beautiful country! Everywhere I look, there is another breathtaking view, and the people are just as beautiful. Yesterday we drove for three hours on scary unpaved roads to visit the people of El Pedrero. We saw about 100 patients and they were all happy that we were there, even though they had to wait outside in the heat. For me, the highlight of the day was when a group of kids came to me and asked if they could each have a toothbrush. They had the biggest smiles on their faces as I passed some out, and it made me realize how many small things I take for granted in the US. I didn't notice the value of a toothbrush until I met those children, and yesterday has made me much more aware of how unimportant luxury items are when a person doesn't even have basic necessities. - Daria

MOM Honduras

Honduras has been an incredible trip thus far! The days have been full of hard work, and I have returned to the ranch each afternoon grateful and humbled. Our one day of building latrines and laying foundations made me thankful for the church group that was staying at the ranch with us. I know I couldn't have done that work all week! The clinics have been so great! The people have shown us so much gratitude. Every single patient has had the biggest smile on their face! The children are especially precious. Yesterday, we were at a clinic in El Ocote. At the end of the day I was taking pictures of the children wearing goofy glasses. They loved to be shown their picture :). Before long, there were about 5 kids around me wanting to be in a picture. One girl (I didn't get her name) hugged me for about 15 minutes because she didn't want us to leave... I have seen so much genuine happiness this week. It just makes my heart happy! I don't think I will ever get used to the mountain views here. They are truly beautiful! As well as the acacia trees (beautiful red flowers that only bloom for a month and we just so happen to be here while they're in bloom)!! We've hiked up a couple of hills (mountains) with crosses at the top which have made beautiful pictures. I'm so grateful that I am here in Honduras and that God has blessed the first week. I'm excited for what next week has in store! Mary

Invaluable Experience

"By all means seek Godly companions, counselors, and teachers in the faith. But do it wisely and look for the character of Christ in their lives. You will know when you find them. The Holy Spirit will softly tug at your heart as if to say "This is the one I sent you."
There are moments in life when you know without any doubt that you are in God's presence. When you evaluate certain life events, you can be certain God placed you in the exact moment for a purpose. Yesterday was one of those moments for me. We had just returned from lunch break and were waiting to get started with the second part of our day. I was sitting behind a desk relaxed with my head down. A family ran into the clinic holding a young boy who had been hit by a motorcycle. There was so much blood, I was surprised at first then ran behind them into an exam room and assessed the child. Other students from my team came in to help- Lindsey helped gather supplies and Kristin helped me clean the wound so we could evaluate. He had a large laceration that needed to be sutured in order to stop the bleeding. Dr. Girton helped us to assess while Kristin sutured. I realized then how valuable it is to have effective leaders, those that God has placed in your life. I'm so grateful to see the character of Christ in those from whom I gain knowledge.
It was difficult to keep both the mom and young boy calm because he was traumatized. After he was stable, he was sent to the hospital (3 hours away) for evaluation of a femur fracture. It is difficult for some of the patients here to assess healthcare, since most villages are remote and ambulances cannot travel to them. 
I'm grateful to have been there to help. With the support of teammates and our leaders we were able to act promptly and develop an adequate plan. I'm always amazed at God's timing. His works are incredible, and His timing is always perfect. 
-Shakira Lynn (Family Nurse Practitioner program)

HUMBLED

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Hi everyone! This is my first blog on this mission trip to Honduras. I am a fourth year pharmacy student and I hope to put everything I have learned in class to be put to good use! Ive had some incredible experiences such as giving and receiving love from the Hondurans that I have been helping. I'm having a fun time rotating through all the disciplines that are working here such as intake where we take blood pressures, doing pulse-oxygen levels (which I have never done before) and respirations. I've also helped with diagnosing with the medical students. Tyler showed me how to figure out whether a patient is anemic and I never knew that!

A few days ago, someone from the ranch we are staying at was bit by a dog so we had to figure out what antibiotic to give her and I felt like hey, I can really do this! The past few days have given me so many exposures that I've added to my knowledge of things I couldn't have known. For example, when the medical students prescribe medications after seeing their patients, the patients bring their prescription to the pharmacy. Often times, I wonder, why did they prescribe this? What was their rationale? And I'll make a run to them and ask and they are so cooperative with their explanations and I learn about the patient diagnosis--things I can take back to the states. 

Today, Kayla, Dr. Manigault, Lindsey and I set up an outdoor pharmacy, complete with a tent, and intake window, suitcase of drugs and an area for consult and it felt pretty amazing to be a mobile pharmacy, ready to take on any number of patients, however hot the temperature. I'm learning to be patient, to take my time fully absorbing this humbling experience, and I'm wondering whether the Hondurans need us, or whether it's us that really need them. 

Adios!

Indu

Blog Update

Hey everyone!


We just wanted to let those of you know who are keeping up with this that our wifi has been very hard to access, so it has been difficult for us to post updates about our trip! We just arrived back to the ranch from Catacamas, so we will try to have two student post tonight about our clinics last week and our weekend! We had a great time exploring our tour guides' home town, so you should hear more about it soon! Thank you for bearing with us and sorry about the lack of posts!

Nina

New Perspectives

May 25, 2013 - Alison Smith, Third Yr Med Student

 

Along the same lines as Nina’s previous entry, this morning I awoke in Tegucigalpa, Honduras’ capitol city, to a beautiful, yet simultaneously appalling view from my hotel window. The hotel’s pristine azure swimming pool and perfectly manicured terrace was staged against a backdrop of thousands of colorful, ramshackle, tin-roofed homes that tumbled down the hills that surround the city in an intricate weave until they converged in a clustered heap in the valley. It was reminiscent of the infamous favelas of Rio de Janeiro, a constant reminder of the poverty that pervades the largest cities of Central and South America, but is primarily restricted to the outskirts of the city. Just like Rio, Tegucigalpa was established in a valley surrounded by steep hills. The poor establish inexpensive or free housing on the sides of the hills because it is undesirable property. In times of heavy rain or other adverse weather, they are the first to suffer when erosion causes their homes to shift or collapse. Sanitation is abysmal. Crime is rampant, fueled by the drug trade that thrives in such a setting. It was a stark reminder of the vast disparities between the wealthy and the poor in not just Tegucigalpa, but in many of the world’s most populous cities. Politicians, including in our own country, drive to work every day past people sleeping in the streets or digging through trash cans, yet they spend their days arguing over foreign policy or national security or whether to give themselves pay raises. While the former are important issues, where is the attention on the destitute and vulnerable members of our society? They are far too often forgotten. And that is exactly the reason we are here in Honduras. We are here to not only deliver medical services and medications to impoverished Hondurans, but also and just as importantly to show that we care about them. While we’ve all enjoyed our days of traveling around Honduras, I know we’re all getting anxious to get to the ranch and start seeing patients, the real reason we’re here.

 

Today was spent mainly in transit. We traded in our comfortable, air-conditioned bus for Honduras Outreach, Inc’s (HOI) giant orange school bus at the hotel before heading to the airport to pick up two other groups of Americans flying in to do outreach from the ranch. I hope we can develop meaningful relationships with the people from the other groups, as I’m sure it will enhance our experience on a personal level, but it may also mean the chance to go out to have additional kinds of experiences during our time here; we may be able to build latrines and homes with the other group from Georgia, or help the veterinary group, or the dentists that are staying at the ranch. Any of these would be incredible opportunities!

 

Tonight we are staying in the smaller city of Juticalpa, the gateway between Tegucigalpa and the ranch, which is quite a trek from any kind of urban area. I know we’re all greatly anticipating our arrival on the ranch and finally getting to do what we all really came here to do – to give back and to help those in need in any way we can, hopefully while developing new perspectives on our own everyday lives, rethinking our notions of poverty, and reflecting on what role we want to play for those in need after we return home. 

We had a great day today at the school! Finally, we are all together - pharmacy students, nursing students, undergrads, and medical students. We spent hours unpacking and repacking, counting and labeling, sorting and gathering...At times is was stressful and frustrating, but it is going to be so worth it.! 


We are taking so many medications and items that will bring relief to so many. Though the medicine and treatment may only last for a short period, the fact that we are going and showing that we care will last much longer. Hopefully the programs that we establish will continue after we have gone. 

I'm looking forward to learning from Drs. Girton and Allen. I'm also excited to learn from my colleagues from the other schools. The pharmacy students and staff will be invaluable in dispensing meds and glasses. The nursing students will be essential in providing background information and gathering vitals. And I pray that the medical students will have the knowledge to diagnose and treat. Not only will we all have these individual roles, but we will also all be learning from each other. We'll be experiencing patient care in capacities that we may never experience again.

Keep us in your thoughts as we travel. Between planes and buses, we have a long journey ahead of us. A long, life-changing journey.

-Tyler

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So many people have inspired and influenced me on this trip.