AND.. we are off again! Woke up bright and early at 6:00 AM to head to Tegucigalpas from Choluteca! We will miss all the clinics, laying poolside, and the delicious smoothies that were within walking distance to the hotel!
Driving in Honduras is very bumpy and exciting and our first stop on the way to Tegucigalpas is to the zoo for breakfast and to see the animals! We enjoyed some delicious breakfast and made some new friends!
It is always an adventure out here, but once again we are off to see our new place for the night!
All parked and getting our new room assignments! After a quick 30 minutes of settling into the new place we are headed out to the marketplace for a wonderful lunch of papusas and after we shop till we drop! While at lunch we made some new friends who loved papusas just as much as we did!
After eating we ventured out to all the local shops and got to experience the culture around us! One of my favorite places we saw was in the backyard of one of the shops! It was a beautiful spot that had tons of paintings made by local shop owners!
Lots of shops later we were all exhausted and headed back to the house to relax! So here we are on day 8 with tons of amazing memories and one last night to make the most of the trip and reminisce with all my new amazing friends about what a wonderful time we have had! We came here to change the lives of those around us, but tomorrow we will leave having changed ourselves from the adventure we have experienced!
Dispensing medications to a patient with our interpreter, Leslie
David (left) and Jeff (right) dispensing medications from our pharmacy on wheels
Hello from Honduras! For those of you who don’t know, my name is David Fisher. I am a graduate pharmacy student from Cedarville University completing my last year of school. I just wanted to give you some insight about what the field of pharmacy looks like in Honduras and serving on a medical missions trip.
Pharmacy in general in Honduras is drastically different compared to the United States. The educational requirements in Honduras are far less than in the U.S and since the majority of public hospitals don’t have a pharmacy directly attached, communication between provider and pharmacist is practically nonexistent. Medical records are still in paper format only which can make it difficult to confirm anything about a patient in a timely manner. Medications that would be used commonly in the U.S to treat conditions such as diabetes or hypertension don’t exist in Honduras. On the other hand, medications that would rarely or never be used in U.S are seen all the time here. So all of these factors effect how we on the pharmacy side work during a medical missions trip.
For pharmacy on our team, it requires three things: Adaptation, Awareness, and Trust. What I mean by adaptation is that we are one day in a kindergarten classroom and the next day in the back office of a health center. Some days we have everything that gets prescribed and some days we are out in the first hour. It’s important in these situations to accept any changes that come up without any grumbling or frustration and think critically so that we can come up with alternatives for the days when our supplies are running low. The second item that is required for a successful trip is awareness. Honduras is a completely different environment, socioeconomic, and culture than the United States. So being aware of these differences is important if we are going to be effective at our jobs. For example: In Honduras the temperatures can reach 120 Fahrenheit so prescribing medications that can cause dehydration is bad idea. Similarly, giving a medication that requires refrigeration isn’t a good idea if no one in the village has a fridge. So when I assess any prescription I have to consider factors such as these which is something we take for granted living the U.S. The last item that is required at all times is trust. We in the pharmacy aren’t able to go through every detail of a patient every time we get a prescription. We don’t know how much pain a patient is truly experiencing, if something is an infection or just dry skin, or if a patient has told our nurses everything they need to know. Fortunately for us we are blessed with having a very talented team of nurses with years of experience in a variety of different practices. Trust me when I say that these are the ladies you want treating your family member. It didn’t take long for me to see that these were some very dedicated individuals who were eager to help others and learn from their preceptors. I consider myself very lucky to have worked beside just an incredible team inside and outside of the clinic.
I hope this helps you see a little bit into the world of pharmacy in Honduras. It’s been an amazing trip and I’m sorry to be leaving so soon. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here and I loved working with this team. We will be seeing all of you really soon!
Today was our last clinical day! We started our day at 630 am at the Overholts for our usual breakfast. We then piled up in the vehicles and made our way to the automotive vocational school. The school provides kids who didn’t continue with their education an opportunity to learn skills for a future job in auto mechanics. We got the chance, along with the 12th grade IETI nursing students, to teach the vocational students CPR. I was impressed at how well the nursing students had retained what they had learned about CPR in the years past.
We then made our way to Apacilagua for our clinical day. The bus ride was a bit rough but thankfully we made it!
In women’s health we had Lara join Amy and I for the day in which she was able to see 10-12 patients. Although it was a light day patient wise, we were able to spend a lot of time with the patients and nursing students. We also gave out lots of little regalos to each patient in which they were greatly appreciative.
Afterwards we rushed back to the Overholts and unpacked all of the supplies and prepared it for next year. Today is my birthday 🙂 and we were able to eat dinner at El Torito, a steakhouse near our hotel. Food was amazing and I’m thankful that I got to spend my birthday with an amazing group of people.
Photo above: Bladder irrigation set up for a patient with hematuria.
We started our day early, had breakfast around 5:15 am and was on our way to the Hospital del Sur which is the government hospital. We were there with the students from the nursing school, as they got to experience patient care. We were able to participate in the morning rounds, and assist with the dressing changes with the surgical patients. In the afternoon we visited Semesur private hospital in Choluteca. The differences in the two hospitals was like night and day.
As gut wrenching as it was to appreciate the differences between the two hospitals. I was able to appreciate the ingenuity that comes with limited resources. And that as hard as situation may be or look like there is always a way to overcome if we tap into ourselves and find the resources within us and around us.
Today, we started our day with breakfast and lots of coffee. After yesterday’s early morning, getting up at 5:30am felt like sleeping in! We took our bus to El Eden, an elementary school we used to set up our clinic for the village people. Each time we set up a clinic in the village we have to pack our bus with several wooden boards that have posters on them that we use to teach the people, several suitcases full of supplies and medications, jugs of water because the tap water here is not safe to drink, coolers with packed lunches, and any other supplies we may need. Today, we divided into groups: pediatrics, adults, and women’s health. By the time we arrived, people were already lined up to see us. Today, pedes was probably the busiest with kids everywhere. They loved the toys we brought!! I was in women’s health most of the day and learned a lot! We all had different experiences and saw quite a variety of patients. We gave out a lot of glasses, shoes, toiletries, and medicine! We are all learning to adapt to helping these people in ways they can benefit most rather than doing things exactly how we would for patients in the states. Here, we have to work with just what we have, but also, think about what they will have to continue treatment when we go home. A few of our students are fluent in Spanish, and we have Lauren, our interpreter, but for the rest of us, we do our best to communicate with the Spanish we do know. Our Spanish is improving a lot, and the villagers are very tolerating of our attempts to communicate.
It is very hard to stay hydrated, but we are doing our best!! Today it was 107 degrees “which was cool,” according to Jeff and Lucia.
We went back to the Overholt‘s to unload our supplies and restock our supplies for tomorrow. Then we came back to our hotel, refreshed with fresh fruit smoothies and vanilla frosty’s, and enjoyed a little sunshine and time at the pool. My favorite is mango—the fruit is so fresh! We ate our last home-cooked dinner at the Overholt’s (spaghetti and garlic bread), which was amazing as usual. After dinner, we all shared about our day and then headed back to the hotel to play cards, read, or sleep early. Tomorrow, another early and busy day awaits!
Hi everyone!! Today was our 5th day here down in Honduras. We started our day with an early breakfast. We had fruit, cereal, eggs, homemade coffee cake and toast. Everything was wonderful but the coffee cake was amazing! After breakfast we loaded the bus with all our medical supplies and medications. Then we went to the public health center. We broke up into different rooms and provided care to: adults, pediatrics, and women’s health. If the patients needed medications, we were able to send them to the pharmacy and get them taken care of. Some of the students from the nursing school here came with us and it was so nice to have them there. They helped with getting vitals, checking blood sugars, and finding out what the patient was at the public health center for. I was so happy I got to work with women’s health for the day. I learned a lot and saw a lot too! Once we finished up at the public health center we went back to Larry and Angie’s for lunch. We had sandwiches, cole slaw, chips, fruit & cookies. Then we taught CPR, first aid, health assessment, history & physical, and evidence based practice. The students were wonderful and eager to learn. After teaching we went back to the hotel and some of us went for smoothies. I personally took a little cat nap until it was time for dinner. We all walked to Angie’s and Larry’s for dinner and let me tell you all it was very tasty. Dinner consisted of steak, cheesy potatoes, veggies, and more cookies. We are definitely fed very well here! We headed back to the hotel for the night after dinner. Another busy day awaits tomorrow!
Kristina & Kara In women’s health
Lauren, Kara, Lara, Lauren, and Jess with the class after teaching CPR & first aid
Nursing school students and all of us in front of the public health center
We got an early start today, heading to the Health Department. We saw 80 – 100 patients in primary care for women’s health, adults, pediatrics, and pharmacy services. We even got to check a few fetal heart rates, which is always fun! The IETI nursing students were a big help in taking vitals and blood sugars. We all have lots of opportunities to learn from and help each other.
We were really impressed to learn about the high (88%) immunization rate here, amazing work by the Honduran public health/health care system.
Back at the Overholts, we taught more classes for the high school students in History and Physical Assessment, Evidence Based Practice, CPR & 1st aid. Lauren, our student translator is on the Oscar trail for her performance as the distraught mother of our choking baby in CPR.
Smoothies and a steak dinner wrapped up the day – no one is wanting for good food here.
Quote of the day: “It was hot!” True . . . About 102 degrees this afternoon!
Chiseko giving some special attention to a patient
OSU group and IETI students at the Choluteca Health Department.
Kristina and Kara in the women’s health exam room
Elaine, Katie, and nursing students taking vitals
Lara, Ed, and a nursing student assessing a patient
Today after a delicious breakfast of coffee cake and hard boiled eggs we split into 2 groups, some attending church service at the Overholts’ and others going to the cathedral for Catholic mass. Mass was well-attended for the first Sunday of Lent.
The cathedral is built of wood and stucco with beautiful wood pillars inside. All the Catholic pigeons showed up for mass today too.
This statue dedicated to José Cecilio del Valle stands in the plaza outside the cathedral. Del Valle was an important Central American politician and philosopher of the 19th century who was born here in Choluteca.
After church we visited a foster home and left supplies and toys for them. We are not allowed to share photos from the foster home but trust me, these kiddos are cute!
We then went to the public beach which was packed. On the way to the beach we passed salt manufacturing and shrimp farms. Angie brought us to a restaurant owned by Osman, who made amazing fried fish shrimp, and chicken.
David, Kristina, Jessica, and Lauren rode the banana boat
Osman’s fried shrimp with fried banana, tortillas, and pico de gallo
After the beach we headed back to our hotel and had a dinner of Little Caesar’s pizza by the pool. Tomorrow is an early day – breakfast at 6am then heading to the Health Department to see patients.
Hello from Honduras! Today we were able to spend most of the day with the 11th and 12th grade nursing students at Angie and Larry’s nursing school here in Choluteca. We taught CPR first, and the students were wonderful! They were so eager to learn and keep practicing. After CPR, Kristina and Amy taught prenatal care and then we split up to teach suturing and injection medication administration. The students did so well with suturing— they responded very well to my hand motions and one word instructions for how they could improve (because I didn’t know how to say it in Spanish). It has been fun trying to practice my Spanish. I can say a lot more now, but my listening skills are still VERY rough. I’d be completely lost without our amazing interpreters and Spanish-speaking students!
Lauren and my CPR group— they were so much fun! They had us laughing the whole time
When we were done teaching, we went to a market in Choluteca to do a little shopping, followed by drinking smoothies and iced coffee by the pool (of course!) Everyone who has been on this trip previously was majorly talking up the smoothies before we left, and I didn’t think they could possibly live up to the hype… but they exceeded it! BEST. SMOOTHIES. EVER. We headed back to Angie and Larry’s house for dinner (coca-cola chicken, rice, beans, & fruit). The food here has been AMAZING!
After dinner, a bunch of us went down to the pool to hang out and play games. We are so blessed to have an amazing team of students and faculty! I have loved getting to know everyone and seeing how quickly we have all bonded in just a few short days. We are so excited for what the rest of the week has in store for us. Stay tuned!