Mercer On Mission

2016 Blog

This blog is made and updated by Mercer undergrads. Throughout our time in Honduras, students from the various disciplines will write about their experiences serving. 

Challenges and Challengers

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         Today (clinic day 4) definitely was our most logistically challenging day so far. We started by opening up a clinic in the cafeteria where we normally eat lunch and dinner. The number of Lafoussa workers that came in for about two and a half hours were more than we had expected or prepared for, so by the time we wrapped up in the cafeteria we were supposed to already be seeing patients at our next clinic site. But that's just the nature of serving in another country- Your plans are great and all, but they're rarely (if ever) reality. 

         Once we started setting up in the pre-existing clinic that would be our workspace, we realized just how little room we had to work with. Tiny rooms and narrow hallways compounded with the crowd of people already lining the walls waiting to be seen caused us to quickly reevaluate our flow plan. Intake and vitals, previously separated to maximize efficiency, were merged into two crowded rooms with barely enough room for the patients and room to write. The rest of the day involved moving translators here, taking blood pressures there, and always being on the lookout for the ultimate evil- a medical school student who isn't seeing a patient. During a lull in patients ready to be seen I jokingly told one of the medical school students that I made it my job to make sure that they never had a break, and he responded "Well, you're doing a terrible job!" 

Fortunately we caught up and pretty soon there was a line waiting to see the providers and I sighed of relief. This was in large part due to the Honduran volunteers learning how to best coordinate people such that I quickly realized I wasn't needed and could focus my attention elsewhere (when I wasn't teaching a kid or two how to brush their teeth!). In the afternoon I went back to that swamped medical student and we joked about how I was doing a MUCH better job!

Overall, it was a chaotic day, but I came to terms with the dynamic between our short term medical treatment that paves the way for long term capacity building that HOI will continue doing long after we land back in the States. For the sake of the future of this community and the work of HOI, I'd gladly take another challenging day like this one was! ... And that may be tomorrow!

-Andrew (Undergraduate)

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