Honduras: March 2015
Imagine living in a community where children walk an hour and a half for middle school, where doctor and dentist are only available two weeks a year, and where patients like yourself walk up to three hours one way for vitamins, an antiparasitic, and Tylenol. Agua Salada, Honduras, is exactly that community. Brigades like mine come twice a year to the small open-air clinic built there and serve hundreds of patients from Agua Salada and surrounding communities. Our brigades provide health basics, a few medications, dental extractions, education regarding dental hygiene, school materials, and scholarships for the middle-school-aged children to attend 7-9th grades. However, what we as physicians, nurses, students, and a dentist provide for the people of Agua Salada is tiny compared to the gifts they give to each of us.
During my time in Agua Salada, I was granted a profoundly greater appreciation for the healing powers of community, unity, and the human spirit. Here, the patients care for one another. The disabled are treated no differently than the able-bodied, or are cared for in turns by the entire community. Cut off from technology, the people are united together for church and soccer games on their rock-strewn field. They persevere together through rainy and dry seasons. They walk hours for healthcare and hours home after dental extractions. They welcome outsiders with grace and gratitude. I could not have asked for a more powerful or eye-opening experience, or for a more inspiring community, and I hope to return to serve them and learn from them again in the future.