I went to Honduras on a medical mission. Honduras, like much of Central America, survives on the perpetual arrival of foreign missionaries, usually groups from churches who bring engineering or medical expertise to the underserved masses.
I believe very strongly that there is terrible poverty in America, and if we all spent one day each month doing something to help, our country would be a completely different place. I don't intend to overlook anyone's situation here. With that said, I enjoy working in other countries because I come away having learned more from the people than I feel I was able to teach anybody, so that's why I spend so much effort going to faraway places.
Enough poetic blah blah blah.
We have hundreds of photos of our Honduras trip. These are a selection from the first batch I saw.
So here I am, terrifying a young Honduran girl with my stethoscope. We set up a health clinic in a church, where saw hundreds of people with conditions like diabetes, hypertension, venous insufficiency, wounds, and a few wicked cases of pneumonia among coffee farmers who live up in the mountains and breathe in clouds all day.
Anyone who could get themselves to the clinic, by foot or by bicycle or by horse, could get a free checkup and a month's worth of whatever medicine they needed. Many "medical brigades" from numerous countries go to Central America, so it is feasible for a person to bounce from town to town visiting the different pop-up clinics and get the basic essentials of what they need--blood pressure meds, metformin, antibiotics, etc. They have no way of paying for any medicine. One month of pills would cost an unfathomable amount of money.
Conditions in the clinic were sparse but we made the best of it. Notice the IV fluids hanging from a rope stretched across the room.
Honduras is gorgeous, with mountains and green valleys everywhere. All that green means it also rains a lot, which takes a toll on the roads. After big downpours, holes in the pavement get washed out and turn into craters; so industrious locals then fill in the holes with dirt to make driving easier. They then stand on the holes they filled and wait for tips, theoretically from grateful drivers who appreciate having their tires saved.
We tipped that guy in the photo above.
It made him really happy.
In my opinion, the most important thing we did on this trip was not in the medical clinic itself. A few people from our group visited schools in rural areas and gave hundreds of fluoride treatments to kids.
This is a big deal. Preventing tooth decay for these people is a life-changing intervention. In rural Honduras, when a person gets a cavity the only option is to pull the rotted tooth. There are no fillings or root canals. At a certain point, some people just want all their teeth out so they can find a cheap set of dentures.
People lined up at our clinic to have their teeth pulled.
Our two dentists pulled 86 teeth that week. (...with anesthesia.)
Finally, I just like this photo.
I'll post more later.