Volunteer Name: Melissa Davis
Project Location: La Ceiba, Honduras
Volunteered at: Hospital
1.-How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country?
Fantastic, the coordinator is very knowledgeable and really went above and beyond, even giving us rides to the project sites and inviting us to his home, etc. The others who support his work (Jimmy, John Ariza) are amazing as well.
2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
At the program: It was surprising to me the distance that patients have to travel to come to the clinic and the huge area served by the clinic. Also, the fact that high tech medical care is available in the private sector (for patients who can afford it – very few).
At the accommodation:
I was surprised that I had wifi access at home.
About the country:
It was a lot easier to get around than I anticipated. Hondurans are friendly and helpful. The say “hola” and “Buenos Dias” if you pass a random person in the neighborhood.
3- What was most difficult to experience?
At the program: The first few days I went out all vaccination campaigns with the clinic staff – very hot!
The most difficult to experience at the hospital was to order needs for a patient and the patient’s family had to go out and buy them before we could administrate them.
At the accommodation:
It got hot during the night some of the times.
4- Any tips for future volunteers…
Light clothing, something to sleep in that is very light. Dress is flexible for female physician; wear something light (like a dress or capris sleeveless shirt and corer w/ white coat.)
Multivitamins for adults and children (including infants), antibiotic cream/ointments, ketoconazol cream, clotrimazole cream, steroid creams (all strengths), metformin, aceforminaphen, ibuprofen, depo provera for injection, casting material, gloves, eye drops (like ketotifen), artificial tears, ECG electrodes, tinidazol, fluconazol
4.1-Other things volunteers should know:
a.- There are some weekend volunteer responsibilities-medical brigades, etc.
b.- Bring some cash in lempiras if you are walking in the hospital so you can help out these patients who need a drug emergency and can’t afford it.
c.- Keep in mind that the population you will serve has low health literacy – they often don’t understand why they are taking the medications or why a treatment is necessary. They don’t always know how to dose kids medications in mL. It is better to round to the nearest teaspoon (cucharadita) or tablespoon when giving instructions. Instructions are best given verbally not written.
5- Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial), don’t leave blank:
La Ceiba ABV program was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed working in several different settings and exploring the town and the beautiful sites surrounding La Ceiba. The Honduran culture is open and friendly and I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable. I recommend this program to all levels of volunteers.
6- How would you describe your accommodation, meals and security:
I shared a room with other 2 volunteers, we had our own bathroom and water all the time, it was clean and our host was very sweet and made us feel at home. Food was delicious.
7- What was your favorite memory of this trip?
I really enjoyed visiting labor and delivery and watching how babies are born here.
I spend the afternoon with my host mom Denise and we went to the beach in this nice garifuna town. It was beautiful.
8.- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
Great, they answered emails/phone calls very quickly.
Ok, should make clear that there are some weekend volunteer responsibilities, not a big deal but I wasn’t expecting it since ABV info says weekends are free.
ABV: the hospital had the vaccination campaign for 2 month so they ask everyone to chip in with extra days of work. It's not always like this and you can always say that you don't want to work on the weekend we dont force anyone to do more than the week work.
9 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
10 – Can you tell us how did you find or know about A Broader View?
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