Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shoulder to Shoulder - Day 3

Today we woke up early and had our first CHI (Child Health Initiative) in Concepion. The CHI, a field-based screening and preventative medicine program, during which we would conduct physical exams and have the opportunity to provide greatly needed medications such as Albendazol for parasites and antibiotics. We divided into several stations: height and weight, hematocrit, dental education, dental exam, vision testing, physical exams, and pharmacy. I worked with three others in the pharmacy which I thought would be much easier then it was. Most children just needed the anti-parasite medication, which apparently tastes terriable. There was lots of crying and lots of gagging. In the end we were able to get most of it down. But the children were amazing. Many were underweight, most had rotten teeth, and almost all did not have shoes. Despite everything they all smiled so much and seemed so happy. No matter how much they were poked and prodded they would smile and thank us. The poorer the child the less they seemed to cry, even when getting their finger pricked they all had an 'I've seen worse' attitude. They were so beautiful. After the CHI we regrouped to talk about how it went and figure out what we could do better next time. Then we loaded up the bus and finished the final leg of our drive to the clinic in Santa Lucia where we will base out of for the remainder of our trip.

The drive was probably only about 60miles but took us about 3 hours. It was beautiful, so remote and undisturbed. The roads were more like what we, in North Carolina, would call ATV trails. It was pretty fun traveling. I was very impressed with the drivers.

Some pictures of the Santa Lucia clinic and dorm.
When we arrived a group of us set out for a walk to explore the town.
These two were quite the pair standing guard. The poor dogs here are so malnourished, but feeding dogs has to take a back seat to trying to feed people. My dogs at home are so spoiled.
The kids we met in the street were pretty excited about their barrel of water and LOVED having their picture taken. Every time a photo was snapped they ran over to see the digital image. They were so precious.

After our walk around town the ladies of the kitchen were kind enough to give us our first tortilla making lesson. I am not sure how much of a help we were but we sure had fun.

In The Garden

Walking around in the garden right now is like a scavenger hunt. It has gotten so big that if I do not look carefully I will not find all of the hidden little veggies. Today was a good hunt. We have so many peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers that I am struggling to keep up. This is by far the healthiest I have ever eaten and at this rate we will have plenty stored for the winter. I am working on canning tomato sauce and freezing veggies and the man has been pickling all of the cucumbers, maybe I can get him to share his recipe (it is fantastic).

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Shoulder to Shoulder - Day 1&2

Shoulder to Shoulder: Day 1 & 2

I left my house at 4am to begin my journey to Honduras. My flight left Asheville, NC at 6am, connected through Atlanta, GA and landed in San Pedro Sula around 12pm. My flight was mostly full of mission and volunteer groups. When I landed I felt a bit lost. I was one of the few people in my group that traveled down alone and did not know anyone else on the trip. I eventually found the rest of my group because there were pretty easy to pick out with their 23 gallon rubbermaid checked bags full of medical supplies. We loaded up the bus and were on our way to La Esperanza were we spent the night. This part of the drive went pretty quickly because it was mostly on well maintained paved and packed dirt roads. The mountains that we drove through were truly breathtaking. Honduras is much more green then I expected. I sat with a 3rd year medical student who is taking the summer off between 3rd and 4th year of school to get her MPh at Harvard. She was fantastic. Everyone that I have met so far has been wonderful, which has really eased the stress of coming on this adventure alone.
After spending the night in La Esperanza when we woke up in the morning a couple of us wandered around the town before breakfast. For breakfast we had a typical Honduran plate of refried beans, homemade tortillas, eggs, fried plantain, and sliced avocado. It was delicious. We loaded back in the bus and drove to Concepion, Intibuca Honduras where Shoulder to Shoulder has just held the grand opening of a new medical clinic. This part of the drive was a little slower going. When we left La Esperanza the roads immediately turned from packed dirt to loose rock and boulder. It was pretty exciting driving. We arrived, unloaded the bus, and then helped unpack a trailer of stove building supplies that would be delivered to families in the surrounding area later in the week. Then we walked around town and hung out with some of the kids that were playing in the town center.

By the end of the day I was completely exhausted. I went to take a shower but unfortunately I was a little too late. In order to conserve water we all were to take "military showers," jump in the water to rinse off, turn the water off, soap up, turn water back on rinse off, and so on. I made it to the fully soap up step only to turn the water back on only to discover that there was none left. I stood in the shower for a while trying to decide what to do next. I ended up ringing the soap out of my hair over the sink. Lesson learned: don't shower last and do not use lots of shampoo! A group of us girls set up our sleeping pads in one of the consult rooms in the new clinic and we all passed out very early.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Shoulder to Shoulder / Honbro a Hombro

Greetings everyone. I have been out of town for the past two weeks working with Shoulder to Shoulder (Hombro a Hombro), a non-profit NGO that is dedicated to helping the poor in rural Honduras. Hombro a Hombro represents a collaboration between several academic programs in the US and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, the City of Cincinnati, the Ministry of Health of Honduras, and the Community Health Board in Santa Lucia, Intibuca. Through the dedication of these organizations, volunteers, and generous donations Hombro a Hombro has been able to build and staff several medical facilities and offer many services to various communities in the Intibuca department of Honduras including the following:
  • Two Honbro a Honbro Medical Centers In Santa Lucia and Concepcion
  • Medical Facilities staffed and supplied by StoS / HaH. These are staffed by Honduran health care providers and offer non emergency primary care in locations closer to where people live.
    • San Jose, Santa Lucia
    • Santa Rita, Santa Lucia
    • San Antonio, San Antonio
    • San Juan, San Antonio
    • Santa Teresa, San Antonio
    • Magdalena
  • Dormitory
  • Oral Health Program
  • Nutrition Program
  • Water
  • Education
  • Women's Health
  • Medical Information System
  • Brigades
This is a short list of the programs and services that Hombro a Hombro offers. For a more complete list and descriptions please visit the Shoulder to Shoulder website.

I returned from my adventures with Shoulder to Shoulder late Saturday night. Because of the limited internet availability I was not able to download and post photos and updates to my blog. While I was in Honduras I kept a journal and am now excited to share my experience with you all. My plan is to post my daily journal entries over the next two weeks. Shoulder to Shoulder is an amazing organization that does incredible work and has made a huge impact on the health care provided in the surrounding communities and in turn the quality of life of the local people. It will be difficult to put into words all that I experienced and learned over the course of my two weeks with Hombro a Hombro but I will try. Mostly I am grateful for the opportunity to join the brigade and meet many inspiring people along the way. If you have time following along for the next few days, share your thoughts, and visit the Shoulder to Shoulder website.

Honduras map with me pointing out our location in the lower south-west corner bordering El Salvador.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Zucchini Bread

What better way to eat your vegetables then in sweet, yummy bread form with the option of chocolate? Our neighbors at Sleepy Hollow Farm have some of the biggest, most beautiful zucchini I have ever seen. Perfect for bread baking.

Zucchini Bread
  • 3 eggs
  • 1c vegetable oil
  • 2c sugar
  • 2c grated zucchini
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3c flour
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
Heat oven to 350. Grease two bread pans. Stir together dry ingredients (sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder and salt). Now you can mix by hand or use a hand mixer to add the eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla. Then stir in zucchini until well combined. Divide badder into bread pans and bake for 60-70min until a cake tested or tooth pick comes out of the loaf cleanly.