Volunteer Name: Brady Pickett
Project Location: La Ceiba, Honduras
Program Dates:  From May 06 2017 to May 13 2017
Volunteered at:  PreMed/PreNurse/PreDental

Review Brady Pickett Volunteer in La Ceiba Honduras

1- How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country?
Rafael was great. He was there on to pick me up from the airport as soon as I arrived in La Ceiba. I actually stayed at his house for the duration of my trip and enjoyed every second of it. He was my transportation to and from the hospitals everyday and would go in with me to introduce everyone that I would be working with. He would also stay with me as long as I needed him to, or until I felt comfortable with him leaving me to work. He was bilingual and willing to translate when I did not understand something. He was also very easy to communicate with and was always on time to pick me up when I had finished the work day.

2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
The most surprising thing I experienced was being able to scrub in on surgeries in the private hospital. I went to Honduras to volunteer, in which I did, but I did not expect to get an opportunity such as this. I would work in the emergency room for the first half of the day, then go and work with the same doctors in the operating room during the afternoons. I was able to scrub in on a variety of different surgeries as well. Anything from knee replacements to gall bladder removals. It was by far the experience of a lifetime.

3- What was most difficult to experience?
The most difficult experience I had was in the public hospital. The facility at the public hospital is not what I am used to. There was no air conditioning, no glass in the windows, and no running water in certain parts. It was always very hot and extremely busy. Most of the patients here do not have insurance and have to bring their own supplies in order to be seen. I brought my own supplies so I as able to help, but it was still emotionally difficult. It was difficult to see the patients have to endure their procedures and the staff to endure this environment every day. However, they all did so without complaint. Truly a blessing to be able to contribute the small amount that I was able to.

4- Any tips for future volunteers… (Clothing, travel, personal items, donations)
-Pack light clothing and pack a lot of it. You'll be needing it since it is so hot and you might have to change often. -Pack a lot of scrubs. You'll be wearing them daily and possibly changing them if you decide to go into the OR. -Bring bug spray, toiletries, and sunscreen. -Bring your own supplies such as stethoscope, gauze, gloves, etc. The hospitals have some, but they need it. Bring your own is a must. -Finally, bring donations. Whether it be supplies as stated above, or money for Rafael to buy whatever the hospital staff may need.

5- Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):
The culture in Honduras is not like the states. Many people in America are always in a hurry and on the move to get things done. It is not like that in Honduras. They go slower and live by the motto, "it can wait until tomorrow." They enjoy the day and each other. Future volunteers should expect this and go into their stay relaxed and ready to slow down. Also, know the people are very nice and hospitable. I heard a lot of bad things about Honduras that simply were not true when I arrived and experienced the wonderful culture.

6- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security (e: host family, on-site, shared)
I was jaded and thought that American health care was the best in the world. Somehow that turned into me thinking that our doctors were smarter than the doctors in Honduras, simply because it is categorized as a "third world" country. I was wrong. I met some of the smartest doctors and surgeons that I have ever met. They taught me more than I ever expected. It was a huge eye opener for me. I got to volunteer and work on myself in that manner, but I also got to learn and open my mind in the field of medicine.

7- What was your favorite memory of this trip?
I stayed with Rafael for the duration of my stay in Honduras. His home was very secure as it was gated. There is no air conditioning, but you get used to it pretty quickly. The only other thing that was hard to get used to about the accommodations was the cold showers. It definitely wakes you up in the morning. Finally, the food. It is absolutely delicious. I was given three big meals a day and do not have a single complaint about any of them. The food will be one of the main things I miss about Honduras.

8- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
My favorite memory of the trip walking into the emergency room and meeting the doctors for the first time. I am an EMT in the U.S. and when I told them that, they assumed I could start IV lines. When I explained to them that I was only and EMT-Basic and had never done IVs before, they replied, "You will learn today!" They were not wrong. They taught me everything I needed to know and walked me through the procedure my first few times. By the end of my stay, I was starting them without incident. It was an experience that I will never forget.

9 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
The ABV USA support was quite amazing. Up until the date of my arrival in Honduras, I had not contacted anyone at ABV in any way except email. During this time, they were quick to respond to my emails and clear up my questions or uncertainties. Then, on my arrival day, I had a very unfortunate experience with delayed flights causing me to miss my final flight to La Ceiba. I had to call the emergency line to get things sorted. They were quick to answer and were very collaborative in formulating a plan for me to get there safely. They also coordinated quite well with Rafael. I arrived about 4 hours later than expected and Rafael was there waiting for me, simply because they had relayed my messages to him. Also, they were very sympathetic and comforting towards my worrying mother back in the U.S. Very well organized in my opinion.

10 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Absolutely! Give them my email and I would love to talk to them and clear any questions or concerns they have about volunteering in La Ceiba, Honduras.

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