Best Volunteer Reviews 2017

I've done a similar trip in Guatemala with another program but it cannot compare to going through ABV. The coordinator is with you every step of the way and cares that you are getting the most out of the program. As a result, I learned and saw so much that I wouldn't have been able to see as a volunteer in the U.S. I got to take vital signs, help out in wound care, and I learned to start IV leads and administer medications and vaccines. I got to witness live births and hear about the surgeries that other ABV volunteers witnessed. It was also cool to meet other volunteers also from ABV and hear about their experiences. What I loved most was learning from the doctors and nurses who enjoyed teaching us despite how busy they were and who had the patience to explain to us the whys and the hows. In the U.S., it's harder to find doctors who are willing to take that time of their days. Overall, this was an amazing 2 weeks and I'm excited to share it with my family and friends back home. I definitely recommend this to anyone in the health care field who would like to get a taste of what health care is like in a different country. You will learn a lot and get a decent amount of hands-on experience!

 Review Volunteer Linh Tran Honduras La Ceiba Premedical program

1. How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country?
Our coordinator, Rafael, has been wonderful. He's always looking out for our safety and likes to be informed our plans. He tries to help in any way he can, takes the time to listen to our concerns and does his best to accommodate for that. He's readily accessible through Whatsapp and is always checking in on everyone to make sure everyone's alright. I'm really grateful for everything he's done to make sure we've gotten the best experience out of this program. And no worries about not having enough photos, Papparazi Rafael has you covered. He also speaks and understands English well.

2. What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
At the program: The most surprising thing about the program was how cheap health care is here. It costs a mere 22 cents to obtain services at the Public Hospital and a mere $20 insurance premium (no copay or deductible required) to be seen at the Social Security hospital. That's nothing compared to the cost of health care in the U.S. What was also surprising was the high patient volume vs. the low staff volume, especially in the OR at the hospital. There, they only have one nurse anesthetist so only one surgery/C-section can be performed at a time, which could delay other people's surgeries.
At the accommodation: The diet here is heavily based on rice and beans and plantains, all of which I still love despite having them so much here.
About the country: Taxi transportation is incredibly cheap here. Only usually $1.50 per ride. So sometimes if we didn't want to walk back home and Rafael was unable to pick us up from the hospital, we'd call a taxi and it'd be no big deal. I wish it could be like that in the U.S.

Review Volunteer Linh Tran Honduras La Ceiba Premedical program

3. What was most difficult to experience?
At the program: The hardest part for me was the language barrier. I speak very minimal Spanish, I understand a little bit and can pick up on the context with little words here and there, but it's harder to do that when it's spoken fast. So most of the time I found myself trying to figure out clinical scenarios and what Rafael would be saying to the group when he spoke in Spanish. Luckily, 3 other people in the group spoke Spanish so I'm really grateful for their patience in translating for us non-native speakers. 
At the accommodation:  There isn't warm water here so that means you take cold showers every day (tropical country). My advice is to shower in the evening after your body is warmed up from the day, so it's not as cold as it would be when you've just woken up.
The country: It can be hard getting around if you don't have any Spanish speakers in your group but we did, so it worked out just fine. The hardest part for me was getting used to the hectic traffic here; there are no lanes, sometimes cars just go, and crossing streets can be pretty dangerous. So make sure to stay together and be prepared for the traffic.

4. Any tips for future volunteers…

Clothing: It's mostly hot and humid here and it also rained almost an entire week we were here, so all you need is shorts and T-shirts/tank tops and 1 raincoat just in case. You really don't need jeans or pants but maybe pack a sweater and a pair of tights for the cool nights or if you're sensitive to the cold.
Donations:  Any donation is great, but they are especially always short on gloves so glove donations are always needed.  I brought several bottles of ibuprofen and other volunteers brought bandaids, gauze, antibiotic creams, etc. If you could afford to donate blood pressure cuffs or pulse oximeters, those are also needed here.
Weather: Since it's usually always hot and humid, you might sweat out in your scrubs so bring several pairs and maybe a face towel if you sweat easily.

Review Volunteer Linh Tran Honduras La Ceiba Premedical program

4.1. Other things volunteers should know:
a.- An extra $200-$300 is reasonable for extra meals/snacks, excursions, transportation, and souvenirs for 2 weeks.
b.- They sell medical supplies here too so if you can't afford to fit all the donations in your luggage, you can get some here. Just keep in mind that they may have a shortage here and as a result, the supplies may be a little more expensive than buying in the U.S.
c.- If you're going with a group, it would be wise for everyone to pitch in for a checked luggage containing medical donations. They are very much needed here!
d.- If you're not fluent in Spanish, carry around a Spanish pocketbook. Or download the Google Translate app and the Spanish dictionary so you can translate between the 2 languages offline. This has come in handy for me so many times during volunteering! 

5. Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial), don’t leave blank:
I've done a similar trip in Guatemala with another program but it cannot compare to going through ABV. The coordinator is with you every step of the way and cares that you are getting the most out of the program. As a result, I learned and saw so much that I wouldn't have been able to see as a volunteer in the U.S. I got to take vital signs, help out in wound care, and I learned to start IV leads and administer medications and vaccines. I got to witness live births and hear about the surgeries that other ABV volunteers witnessed. It was also cool to meet other volunteers also from ABV and hear about their experiences. What I loved most was learning from the doctors and nurses who enjoyed teaching us despite how busy they were and who had the patience to explain to us the whys and the hows. In the U.S., it's harder to find doctors who are willing to take that time of their days. Overall, this was an amazing 2 weeks and I'm excited to share it with my family and friends back home. I definitely recommend this to anyone in the health care field who would like to get a taste of what health care is like in a different country. You will learn a lot and get a decent amount of hands-on experience!

Review Volunteer Linh Tran Honduras La Ceiba Premedical program

6. How would you describe your accommodation, meals and security:
I really enjoyed my stay at Rafael's place. I felt entirely safe- Rafael provided us with a key to lock our doors and another for the house so we felt like a part of his family. The meals were excellent and filling for me- just keep in mind that dinner isn't as heavy as their lunches so you might find yourself walking to a nearby fast food place after dinner. There is WIFI here so I was able to update my family on my status.

7. What was your favorite memory of this trip?
Program: The most unforgettable experience was seeing a C section birth. It's absolutely beautiful seeing a human being enter this world.
Country: I have two favorites because I'm an outdoor junkie- hiking in a part of the Pico Bonito National Park and going to the islands of Cayos Cochinos, where we snorkeled and swam in the gorgeous waters of the Caribbean Sea. There are two other popular tourist islands, Utila and Roatan, which we didn't get to do but those are just as awesome to see if you get a chance.

8. How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
Communication (Phone/emails/Online chat): Excellent. Prompt and detailed replies. They are patient with the paperwork and accommodating to our needs and concerns.
Website Information: Detailed information and has a convenient and helpful online chat.

9. Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Sure!

10. Can you tell us how did you find or know about A Broader View?
I heard about ABV through a friend who previously traveled to Guatemala through A Broader View.

Volunteer in Honduras 

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