Think the best times I had were when I felt the most useful. In the clinic in the morning I helped check patients in taking blood pressures, weighing them, and measuring their heights. Those times I really felt like I was helping things move faster, and working alongside intelligent hard-working local doctors and nurses made me want to study and learn more about medicine.
1.-How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country?
The support was everything you could need and more; there was never a time that I felt I needed help or advice and no one was there.
2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
At the program: I think the most surprising thing was the level of attention that the ABV coordinators gave to us in the clinic and all other in-country services for example someone was with us the entire time at the clinic, during transport, and at home for lunch, and I didn’t expect it to be so coordinated.
At the accommodation: The family was incredibly welcoming - Jackie is an amazing cook and I felt completely at home from the moment I stepped into the house. The barrio that we lived in is close to a soccer field and not far away from the mall or the hospital so it was very easy to go out and explore the city.
About the country: I have experienced this kind of intense heat before, but it’s still a shock to arrive and sleep with a only a fan in this kind of heat. Honduras is a beautiful country with incredible people and a rich culture, and an amazing place to have this experience. The Media portrays Honduras as one of the most dangerous countries in the world, but After arriving I found that in La Ceiba, where I was staying, normal city instincts apply, and I never felt uncomfortable or scared at any point during the my stay.
3- What was most difficult to experience?
At the program: The adjustment to being a volunteer is always a tricky one. Finding my place here in the urgent care Center in the morning, and the public hospital in the afternoon was not easy, despite everyone being happy to except us into their lives and to help us learn. I would recommend coming for three weeks minimum. Because of the transition and relationships that take time to build, it’s hard to get the most out of the experience in such a short time. I was here a month and every day I felt more useful and a part of the hospital community.
At the accommodation: Drinking bottled or purified water, using toilets that don’t always flush, and sleeping in the heat can all be difficult if you have never experienced these things before. It’s easy to adapt if you keep an open mind and follow the locals example (they usually know the smartest, most efficient ways to handle these things)
The country: Once again, I never felt unsafe here. Everyone is welcoming and kind (common sense still applies). Coming from the States, I recognize the incredible privilege I have in the ability to fly here and volunteer, and am grateful to be accepted into their lives.
4- Any tips for future volunteers ...
Clothing: Website pack list worked for me! You may travel so bring a day pack, something other than your suitcase. Also be prepared to sweat - clothes may get dirty as well.
Donations: At the end, its easy to donate a blood pressure cuff or stethoscope. Supplies are limited in the public health centers and any extra piece of equipment is useful.
Weather: Very hot. Didnt wear my fleece once.
4.1-Other things volunteers should know:
a.- Spanish is needed, at least a little bit with the intent to learn. Building relationships, helping out as much as you can, and even paying the right price for a taxi all depends on your ability to speak.
5- Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):
I was nervous before I came to Honduras. I was nervous I would fly across the continent, move to La Ceiba for a month, and feel like the experience was less about helping people and more a bullet point on my resume. This was not the case. In the mornings I volunteered in the public clinic, cleaning wounds and checking patients in for their consults. Taking vital signs, heights, and weight were all a part if this. These were my favorite times, as I felt useful and humbled by the patience and willingness to help that everyone had while I adjusted to the flow of work in the clinic. In the afternoons I was in the public hospital emergency room, where I helped where I could (mostly stitches and casts); I was also able to see a C-section as well as a life birth. This experience was crucial to my decision to continue studying medicine. I am 20 years old, and have just started the pre-med track. I had no prior experience with the exception of taking blood pressures, and was able to expand my knowledge and skills enormously. The grace with which the patients handle pain and loss was inspiring, as was the dedication and skills of doctors and nurses I met during my stay. Volunteer work can be confusing, disorienting, and defeating, but in the end, this program was fufilling in every way I hoped it would be. Thank you to everyone in La Ceiba!
6- How would you describe your accommodation, meals and security: Accommodations was perfect for me, Rafael and Jackie were great hosts and I felt at home immediately. Again Jackie is an amazing cook, and she made a delicious lunch and dinner every day (I dont know how she does it!) The house is locked at night and the neighborhood feels safe.
7- What was your favorite memory of this trip?
Program: I think the best times I had were when I felt the most useful. In the clinic in the morning I helped check patients in taking blood pressures, weighing them, and measuring their heights. Those times I really felt like I was helping things move faster, and working alongside intelligent hard-working local doctors and nurses made me want to study and learn more about medicine.
Country: I took a weekend trip to Roatan, an island right off the coast, and went hiking in Pico Bonito park. Both were incredibly worthwhile and beautiful places.
8.- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
Communication (Phone/emails/Online chat): Good, all questions answered honestly and quickly.
Website Information: Accurately depicts the experience
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?
Research on the internet about Medical opportunities abroad.