The snorkeling adventure on Saturday was great not only for the snorkeling but also for the opportunity to interact with the more native populations on the islands off shore of La Ceiba.
1.-How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country (airport pickup and drop off, orientation, introduction to work, availability, other)?
Flawless Work by the local coordinator.
2- What was the most positive surprise you experienced?
- At the program: The eagerness of training physicians for useful information and training opportunities.
- At the accommodation: Due to unpredictability of the local municipal power supplies, we had to shift from a planned stay at a local residence to a stay at a medium quality commercial hotel. This resulted in a level of creature comfort that I was not really expecting.
- About the country: The costal area of Honduras was very lovely.
3- What was most difficult/cultural-shock to experience?
- At the program: I did not experience any significant amount of culture shock.
- At the accommodation: Ditto.
- The country: Ditto. Like Jamaica but without Reggae, i.e., Hispanic Language but Caribbean culture
4- Any tips for future volunteers, give as many details as possible
I choose to wear a scrub top, but wore non-scrub cargo pants. I recommend in particular https://www.railriders.com/ - they make a durable, featherlight, cargo pants that emulate the material used in the original RVN Jungle Fatigues used by our infantry in Vietnam. The fabric, is extraordinarly light, extremely rugged, comfortable in hot/muggy climates, rapidly drying, and full of pockets which function well to store personal items and medical supplies.
For the evenings, I also bought from the same outlet, long sleeved, lightweight shirts that were impregnated with anti-insect repellant. Mosquito’s are not a problem in the daytime, however, with the onset of darkness, the bus are more active, and having impregnated shirts went a long way to protect me from mosquito bites, this is very relevant, although Malaria is rare in the urban areas, it was full blown Dengue season at our arrival, and I don’t think I experienced a single mosquito bite.
No medical supplies are too simple. It is hard to emphasize how underfunded and undersupplied the local medico’s are. However, the Internists and Surgeons there are highly skilled, and to be commended for trying to make do with a central government that systematically underfunds them. In particular, I would recommend that each attendee bring a multi-tool, like a leather-man tool (the most complex and complete multitool possible, as they can be really critical. Furthermore, I found a headset (LED) obtainable from a local camping store very useful for illumination. The ED in particular had antiquated and non-operative operative lights. So gooseneck lamps are usually used for supplemental lighting, however, they raised the temperature in an otherwise hot working environment, the LED headlight allowed for precision illumination with no additional heat.
Skin adhesive was very appreciated especially for the pediatric ED, in which it was an unheard of innovation for repairing facial lacerations. I carried several disposable, single use laryngscopes. Not much emergency airway management occurs in the hospital, therefore, the reusable laryngscopes are not used much, and at least one of the scopes used by me and my team mates had very weak batteries, complicating airway visualization. I carried several suture packs for the purpose of using them for my personal use, and when I successfully went a week without injuring myself, I donated the suture sets to the hospital.
Team members brought antibiotics, however, in addition to antibiotics, if you can bring some ketamine that would be very useful, in particular the hospital’s access to IV medications, especially those relevant to sedation (both conscious and IV for ventilator management) are very constrained.
Sterile dressings, suture materials, burn dressings, IV fluids (of all types) would be very valuable.
I initially planned to take Doxycycline prophylaxis for malaria and cutaneous leishmanasis, but discontinued the medication due to GI drug side effects and due to an the lack of a mosquito presence in our lodging.
Prepare for hot and humid days and nights; it took me about 2 d’s to acclimate to the humidity as were I was traveling from was in fact hotter than Honduras, but in El Paso, humidity is generally < 10% so the humidity was what I had to become adjusted too. Conversely if you think about it, and can afford it, I’d try and get tanned starting about four weeks before the trip. I showed up with little natural melatonin due to my work schedule and my enjoyment of the recreational parts of the trip would have been better if I hadn’t sunburned during our snorkeling trip.
4.1-Other things volunteers should know, about what to bring, what to do in country, what to eat, transportation, other:
a.- Crash course in medical Spanish would be so useful. Our group had lots of fluent Spanish speakers, but your enjoyment of the trip would be optimized if you understand the language.
b.-I’d invest in a high tech set of water bottles with integral bacteria/parasite filtering straws. We always had access to bottled water but this technological advance always puts it in your reach to have safe drinking water.
c.-I was surprised with the wide availability of American fast food, but for my own part I didn’t come to Honduras to eat McDonalds.
d.- Public transportation is not necessary as their is a wide availability of very rate attractive taxis’ all over the town.
5- Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):
I really enjoyed and was gratified by the opportunity to do medical volunteer work with a Broader View. The organization was nonpareil with respect to its professionalism, and ability to work with me and the other volunteers. It was clear that enormous good will was extended to us by the local medical facilities and providers. Additionally, I was similarly impressed with the professional qualities, capabilities, and competencies of my missions team-mates. It was as gratifying to make life time friendships based on the commonality of our experiences. This was a dimension of the experience I wasn’t expecting.
6- How would you describe your accommodation, meals and security in detail:
Accommodations were clean and acceptable. Food was nutritious and faithful to the local diet. With respect to physical security, I never felt any apprehension about my personal safety at any time during the mission, i.e., in the workplace, in the evening group activities, and on the ‘play day’ that represented the Saturday before leaving.
7- What was your favorite memory of this trip?
Program: The beach side Honduras Barbecue occurring Friday PM.
Tours: The snorkeling adventure on Saturday was great not only for the snorkeling but also for the opportunity to interact with the more native populations on the islands off shore of La Ceiba.
8.- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling, who helped you?
Communication (Phone/emails/Online chat):
WhatsAp Messaging was both effective and team building. The amount of contact with the foundation was just right, I felt I was getting good information but also not being overwhelmed with information or that the overview materials corrupted or diminished the excitement of discovery.
9.- Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
I can speak with volunteers with two wks warning to allow me to incorporate the conversations into my hectic work schedule.
10.- Can you be specific how did you find or know about A Broader View?
I was sent a solicitation by Global Medical.
What keywords did you use, what did you search for?
Push notification rather than pull notification, i.e, did not search for Broader View, introduced to the organization by a Locum Company.