Honduras Day Five
January 7, 2013
Today, we are traveling to the second village we are helping on the brigade, La Questa! Our leaders told us that La Questa is a larger village and a tad bit better off than Ojachal, so I am excited to help a larger community! However, La Questa is by no means luxurious. We had an early breakfast and headed off for La Questa! La Questa is a farther drive than Ojachal, about an hour down a long, winding dirt road. When we travel to the villages, we take two buses and a few pick up trucks to transport all our medications. While we the trucks were driving down the dirt road, the ground collapsed underneath them and one of the trucks fell in a ditch! After a couple minutes of panic and confusion, our brigade team worked together to get the truck out of the ditch and we continued onward to La Questa. When we approached La Questa, there were many men on horses and children around. We pulled in and I immediately saw the difference between the Ojachal and La Questa. La Questa was much more spacious with multiple classrooms. La Questa provided their community with high school level of education, which Ojachal did not have. It was very impressive for us to see drawings of cells and electrons on the chalkboard. So, we unpacked our supplies and started grinding out the long line of villagers. The first day at La Questa was very quiet because we were just getting to know the community and also working hard to get as many patients through as we could. Overall, it was a pleasant day continuing our dental care and assimilating ourselves into the community of La Questa. The fun starts tomorrow on our last day!
Here are some shots of the village of La Questa!
This is a part of our dental station where cavities were filled!
Posted by Mary Whitmore at 6:01 PM No comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Honduras - Day Four
Sunday January 6, 2013 - Day Four
Today was our second day at Ojachal Village! Breakfast was crepes and it was delicious again! :) We drove to Ojachal and set up the dental station quickly since it was ready from the previous day. Today, Doctor Ingrid and Elena switched positions so Ingrid was doing fillings and Elena was doing extractions. My day started off a little differently from yesterday. I volunteered for dental charla! Dental charla is like dental education. We teach the kids of the village how to brush their teeth, for how long, and the importance of brushing at least twice a day each day. So, my dental teammate, Ashley, and I gathered the kids and lined them up to take their name, age, and gender. We took groups of twenty kids at a time from ages 2 to 13. First, we explained the importance of brushing their teeth TWICE a day EVERY day, to brush in CIRCLES, and to brush the front, back, and entire mouth including their tongues! We distributed a toothbrush and small tube of toothpaste to each child to practice with and take home. So we practiced brushing our teeth for 1 minute and then spit! After, we provided fluoride for the children. Each child had a dixie cup of fluoride and we told them to swish the fluoride around in their mouths for a minute. It was important for us to explain not to swallow the fluoride or eat thirty minutes after the fluoride treatment. We repeated this lesson about 5 or 6 times which added up to more or less one hundred kids! For me, this part of the brigade was one of the most rewarding. I really felt I made an impact on the children and even their parents. I took it upon myself to show the kids how to brush so they can prevent cavities and poor dental care themselves. I cannot express the amount of satisfaction and happiness that their little smiles brought me. Their smiles truly made my heart melt. After, I returned to the dental station for the rest of the afternoon. I got to see Ere and talk with many of the children and their parents. We also saw some crazy cases today! For example, we saw an older man who got teeth 21-24 extracted (4 front left teeth on the bottom jaw). This man's gums were not very healthy, so after the teeth were extracted, his gums were floppy and flimsy. So, Doctor Elena had to suture, or sew, his gums together so they would not get infected. It was truly amazing to see how she fixed his smile and relieved him of his pain. We finished off the day by taking pictures with all the kids and saying goodbye to the village we had grown so close to over the past two days. Ojachal was so wonderful and welcoming that I can only imagine what the next village has in store for us! Adios and Goodnight! Enjoy pictures of day four and the village of Ojachal!
One of the girls getting ready for her fluoride treatment!
Ashley and I explaining dental charla to the kids!
A group in dental charla practicing how to brush their teeth properly! :)
Helping a little boy brush his teeth with a little encouragement from his sister.
We decided to give the kids some of our dental masks and gloves! :) They loved them!
Ere and I in the dental station.
Posted by Mary Whitmore at 12:20 AM No comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest
Friday, January 18, 2013
Honduras - Day Three
Saturday January 5, 2013 - Day Three
Today, we woke up bright and early to eat breakfast before starting our first day on the brigade site. There were cookies, ham, fruit and poached eggs for breakfast. I have eaten every meal and am enjoying the food thus far! Some girls are scared of the food, but I think it is different, crazy and not bad at al! We quickly got ready to head off to the brigade site! All the dental team members had to wear scrubs due to blood, saliva, and other bodily fluids that could come from the patients! It was so hot wearing scrubs in 90 degree weather! Anyway, we had a 45 minute drive to the small village of Ojachal. Two hundred people live in this little village in Honduras. The village had a dangerous road downhill made of dirt and stone. Cattle, hen, roosters, and wild dogs roamed everywhere. We unloaded off the bus and got started unpacking our supplies and meds. At first, the classroom we were going to use for our dental station was locked so a family generously offered their home for us to work in. I talked to a little boy who lived in this home, Ere, and found out he liked to play hide-and-seek. Ere's mother showed us her banana tree, mango tree, and plum tree and even offered us a mango! However, we eventually got the classroom unlocked and began setting up for the day! Doctor Elena and Ingrid explained every tool we were going to use for extractions and fillings. They really emphasized educating us about the dental procedures and teeth anatomy. So, we began the day and I assisted the doctors with extractions, fillings, cleanings, sterilized tools, and entered data of the patients' dental history. We saw 50-60 people on our first day in Ojachal. It was exciting and awesome to see extractions because they are my favorite dental procedure! Many of the teeth that Ingrid was extracting were rotten down to the roots and when the roots are rotten and deteriorated, they are hard to remove from the gums. Some patients' extractions took no time at all and some took a little more elbow grease. Doctor Ingrid had to hold one child's head in the crease of hew elbow and pull the tooth out with her free hand. There were four stations in the classroom: extractions, fillings, sterilization, and data information. I was very impressed by the people of Ojachal with their patience and how calm they were during procedures. I was also surprised by their interest and fascination in dentistry. Lastly, I was humbled and satisfied when the patients left us happy and free of pain. At the end of the day, I was very satisfied and hungry to help the next day. We weren't allowed to take pictures the first day in Ojachal until we got to know the village on a more personal level so I just snapped some shots of our dental station! Enjoy!
Also, please watch my third daily journal on YouTube!
All of our extraction and filling tools! Elevators and foreps!
Me in sterilization gear: protective glasses, mask, gloves and gown!
Posted by Mary Whitmore at 10:39 AM No comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Honduras - Day Two
Friday January 4, 2013 - Day Two
Today we woke up rested from travel and ready to conquer Honduras! For breakfast, we had egs, sausage, beans, and bananas. Bananas are in everything in Honduras! The food keeps getting better each meal. After breakfast, we continued to separate, organize, and pack medications. Today, we packed more childrens' vitamins, antacids, and visine eyes drops. There were at least 200 eye drop bottles that we had to individually label and pack! Not to mention, thousands of pills! I've been having a lot of fun talking and getting to know the other brigadiers. I've met a bunch of new and unique people including dancers, RAs, business majors, med students, and more. After all of our work, the pharmacy is slowly getting smaller and more organized. Soon after, we got ready for la playa (the beach)! We drove 40-60 minutes to the coast of Honduras through villages and farmlands. As we drive along, I was once again amazed by the amount wild dogs, pigs, chickens, cats, and cows roaming the land and the roads. We reached the coast and walked onto a pier where we took a boat to an island in the Pacific Ocean named "Tiger Island". We sailed to the island and on one side of us were the mountains of El Salvador and on the other side were the mountains of Nicaragua! It was so beautiful! We got off the boats and were greeted by the locals. Next, we hopped into little taxi cabs driven by the locals of the island. This is where my spanish really kicked in! We drove around the island to get to the beach on the other side, but we stopped and had lunch on a beautiful cliff overlooking a mountain of Nicaragua. The hotel provided us with a bologna and cheese sandwich with fries, oranges, and Gatorade. It was so hot, so we squeezed back into the taxi cabs and headed downhill to the beach. We pulled up to the beach only to see a beautiful view! The mountains of El Salvador! The landscape of Honduras continued to stun me with it's beauty. We got a complementary drink from the beach house so I got a Pepsi and for some reason, it tasted way better than a Pepsi from home. Pepsi in hand, I checked out the beach and went in the Pacific Ocean FOR THE FIRST TIME!! We all swam, played soccer, met locals, took pictures, played frisbee, found jellyfish and made memories. My roommate Jordyn and I walked with our new amigas, Clarisa and Seleme to a cavern full of bats and discussed la Navidad! After the beach, we stopped at a downtown area of the island to see another beautiful view of Honduras. We snapped a ton of photos including a huge group photo of the brigade. Then we jumped back on the boats and waved goodbye to Tiger Island. A quick 40 minutes later, we returned back to the hotel and finished packing meds for tomorrow. Dinner time! Steak and chicken shish kabobs, soup, plantains, cantaloupe, raspberry nice and rice and beans, so delicious!! After, we reviewed the dental procedures that we will perform throughout the brigade, extractions and fillings. We reviewed the five kinds of fillings, which was very interesting! I am so excited to work tomorrow! So, we showered up and got ready for the Friday Fiesta. Every Friday the hotel hosts a fiesta for the village people. It was so nice to see the people get together and welcome us with open arms. We all danced together and had a ball. And now I am falling asleep writing this so Adios! Tomorrow we travel to the village of Ojachal to begin the brigade!
Also, please watch my second daily journal on YouTube!
Me on the boat on the way to Tiger Island!
In the little taxi cabs!
First time in the Pacific Ocean with El Salvador in the back!
Amigas Clarisa and Seleme
Ready to sail back to the mainland of Honduras!
Posted by Mary Whitmore at 10:13 PM No comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest
Honduras - Day One
Thursday January 3, 2013 - Day One (10:46 PM)
I left my apartment at 1:30 AM on Thursday January 13th unaware of the amazing and unforgettable experience I was embarking on. Joanna picked me up and we drove to O'Hare International Airport. One by one members of our brigade checked our huge bags full of medications and dental supplies. We proceeded to security and got on our flight to Houston, Texas at 5:20 AM. I was very nervous and scared because I have never traveled out of the country before and I was really missing my family, but I had to hold up my head and get ready for this adventure! We got to Houston and sprinted to our connecting to flight to Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. A couple hours later, I was flying above Tegucigalpa! Wow! Flying into Tegucigalpa was absolutely breathtaking because the city sits in a valley with mountains on every side! Unlike flying anywhere above the United States where you see organized rows of homes and cities, the homes of Tegucigalpa were everywhere! They were placed on top of hills, on the side of hills, in diagonal order, too close to one another or too far apart. I loved the fact that a city could be so unorganized yet so beautiful at the same time. We landed and I could instantly feel the heat, 90 degree weather welcomed us off our flight. We proceeded through a long line of customs and met the Global Brigades members outside the airport. Our staff members were Armando, Mario, Luis, Carlos, Dr. Anna, and Officer Oseguera. All these staff members are citizens of Honduras that volunteer their time to assist and lead us in our brigade. We got into vans and started driving. I saw palm trees and colorful flowers everywhere! Our driver was playing funny music and we stopped at the nearest rest stop to get snacks where I spent a lot of time trying to calculate the conversion of US dollars to Honduras lempiras. After, we drove three hours south to San Lorenzo! The drive was my favorite part of the trip thus far. We drove up and down and through the mountains on winding roads observing the environment of Honduras. I saw cattle, pigs, dogs, children, families, homes, businesses and anything else you could imagine! There are cows, chickens, roosters, cats, dogs, birds, and geese that roam the roads without a single concern. There are children everywhere on the side of the streets, riding bikes, or playing in the yard. This bus ride was also a culture shock to me because the poverty is so extreme here. Near the end of the trip, it was hard to stay awake because I had been awake all night traveling, but we eventually made it. Our brigade stayed in a hotel called Hotel Club Morazan. Trust me when I say the hotel was not a five-star hotel but we were extremely blessed and thankful that we did not have to stay at a compound with no windows or air. The reason we stayed in a hotel was to ensure our safety since Honduras is not the safest of countries. Anyway, the people were very kind and fed us dinner: vegetables, fries, fried chicken, soup, watermelon, and drinks. It was amazing!!! Then we were assigned rooms for the week. My roommates were Jordyn, Joanna, and Shelby. We are laying on our beds talking now and soon walking back to the "lobby" (outdoor pavillion) of the hotel to start sorting out the pharmacy. Our brigade brought so many medications! Countless medications! Oh my gosh, it was great! I have never seen so many toothbrushes and toothpaste before! Heaven! I was so proud of our brigade and especially the dental team that brought all the dental supplies! We then sorted through children's' vitamins into individual bags to distribute to families later in the week. We all chatted and bonded and it was fun! That is all for tonight in Honduras! Goodnight! Check out some pictures of my hotel room, our hotel, and us sorting medications!
Also, please watch my first daily journal on youtube!