Thursday, March 27, 2008

Viva Honduras!

This blog is John's travel log from Honduras, unfortunately blogged in my name.

This little fella across from the Gran Hotel La Esperanza must have been on Eastern European Standard Time. He'd start giving it his all at about 10pm and let up well after we left for the daily clinic site in the morning. He's been there all three years we've stayed at that hotel. There was talk of attempting to purchase him and having chicken for dinner one evening. One of the fellas has had his cell phone alarm set as a rooster for the past few years. As fate would have it his room had a nice big window overlooking the little roosters yard. In a desperate attempt to get a good nights sleep he put in earplugs, toilet paper on top, and taped it all down. So this pimped out short bus was our ride to the daily clinic sites. The driver was phenomenal and had a blast flying around honking on the semi truck style horn. I'd like to point out the flame decals on the side of the hood, the cool tint, and the Jesus decal on the side. It's also note worthy that the whole inside was pained a similar hue with bright psychedelic colors alternating on each of the different panels and curtains hanging on all the windows. I don't have a picture yet but at one point the road was so narrow that when another bus was coming the other way we scrapped tops when passing very slowly at an angle and people were pulling on a fence on the edge of the road to give a couple more inches. This is one of the clinic sites. We went to a different little town each day and set up shop in a local school. Each table is a clinic station with two or three people. One day there wasn't room in the school so half the clinic stations were outside. We had a general surgeon, internist, gastroenterologist, pediatric rheumatologist, nurse midwife, two pharmacists, a couple nurses, an attorney, a pharm student, 8 med students, 5 nurse practicioner students, and a handful of other non medical volunteers. All together we saw 1924 patients in the five days which is a record for the 10 years this trip has been going. Here I am draining an abscess with the surgeon Dr. Evans on an old womans foot where she had stepped on a nail. Unfortunately though we had some we forgot to get the tetanus shots out of the fridge before we left Toledo at 3am.This guy taught me about farming in Honduras while we checked him out . He complained of sore shoulders which many of the men do especially the older ones. The reason: starting at about 11 years old working the fields swinging a machete most of the day twelve hours a day every day until they're 65 and then coming to see me. Of course in the U.S. many would probably get referred to an orthopedic surgeon and get an MRI just to make sure there wasn't any kind of rotator cuff damage but in Honduras we do the best physical exam we can, and treat with some NSAIDs like Mobic or Ibuprofen.
Heres my dad and a couple of other volunteers. He had the coveted job of weighing, measuring, and taking temps on screaming kids. He shaved his beard because it scared the little kids last year. He put up with lots of urine, snot, and spit during the week we were there. To top it all off the last bus we traveled on didn't have anywhere for the luggage and 30 gringos have plenty of luggage. Our drivers tied it on the roof but it started to slide off after a few minutes. Pops hopped up on the roof and tied it all down WQ style and it stayed without problems for the rest of the 7 hour drive.

There are tons of little kids and a kid Liv's size would usually be responsible for one of the little ones as this photo shows. The following one or the same girls feet that I zoomed in on since they are what just about everyone's feet look like. Many of the kids don't have shoes or wear these junky plastic shoes or rubber boots (even though it's crazy hot).

This little guy was running around my dad and I's room our last night in Honduras up in Copan. The next day he joined me in the shower and eventually departed for the underworld via the drain.
It looks a lot like Utah there just a little different vegetation. We'll end with a scenery shot from one of the clinic sites.


Story Family said...

What a tremendous experience! And such a noteworthy thing to do. You are so lucky for such an opportunity. I'm sure the people you helped were tremendously thankful. The story of the old man and the close-up of the girls feet were touching. You look like a fantastic doctor, by the way. Good work, John.

Emilee said...

For some reason, the feet picture also really touched me. Especially because I thought when I first saw the picture that they were the feet of an old woman. I would never have guessed they belonged to a young girl. And I know how incredibly uncomfortable those jelly shoes are. Poor Hondurans. It makes my little grumblings about my small apartment and no dishwasher seem kind of insignificant. How blessed we are.