Thursday, March 22, 2012

Brigades and Weekend Getaways

Welp, I missed a post over the weekend, I know, BUT I have an excuse.  I went away with some of the other volunteers for a little weekend get away.  It was great, and I will talk more about that in just a sec.

Before the weekend away, I had a busy, busy week.  Seven doctors from Spain visited for a medical brigade (as opposed to a surgical one), doing as many consults as there were people.  There were 3 gynecologists, 2 pediatricians, 1 general medical doctor and a psychiatrist (he actually gave out a ton of reading glasses, not a huge need for psychiatry).   The week started on Sunday with orienting them to the external clinic (thank God Heather and Kate came back early from their other brigade they were on) and answering their questions.  They definitely were eager to help out and see what the most needs were.  They had some great ideas and it seems that they want to help in the future.

Monday through Thursday we had a ton of consults.  We totaled almost 400 patients, not including the people we saw in 2 neighboring towns.  The doctors gifted us with some medications and other supplies, which is always appreciated and feels a little like Christmas morning.

Tons of people came for the brigade!

Heather and Kate getting things done.

One of the pediatricians.

Thursday afternoon I was able to tag along with the group to Las Pilas, where a small clinic was going to be set up.  Heather nor our driver (nor me, obviously) had ever been before, so we had no idea it was basically at the top of a mountain.  The road was a long windy, dirt road that took us an hour to get up.  It really had some breathtaking views.

Once we arrived, we were greeted by a TON of people waiting for consults.  We set up in the one room school (yes, where all of the grades are taught by one teacher) because there was more room than the government run Centro de Salud.  We stayed until just before it got too dark (no lights in the schoolhouse), seeing a lot of patients.  These doctors sure knew how to be speedy.  I wish we had a better count of how many we saw.
Everyone waiting.

The school made into a clinic.

Our admission and pharmacy area, with Heather.

It was neat for me to visit this little town.  There isn’t much too it.  A few pulperias (small store that sells snacks and a few other things), the school, Centro de Salud, and some other things that I didn’t get to see.  A lot of houses, everywhere.  Everyone was so eager to see the doctors and appreciated the little that was done for them.  Even if the kids had no shoes, or people were wearing ripped clothes, etc, they wore them with pride.  Appearance is a big deal here in Honduras, and you make the best of what you have.  In general, the people just seemed to be genuinely happy.  Even though they know they don’t have much, they have what they have, and are with their family and friends, which is enough.  Great little lesson, huh?

After the busy week, and an unusually busy Friday, I was finally ready to hop on the bus (or 2) to Lago de Yajoa!  Lago means lake, and yes that is where we went.  The lake is HUGE and beautiful.  It’s so different than the hustle and bustle of Tegus.  It was about a 5 hour trip, with 2 buses, a little waiting and getting a jalón (hitch hike, literally- don’t worry, we only get jalóns on the ranch, or in touristy parts of Honduras) from a nice, young guy that had a Hyundai Santa Fe (popular here!).  We made it to D&D Brewery around 7:30, had a drink and chatted.   Yes, it is a brewery with American beer, owned by an American from Virginia, but it is also a hostel, where travelers from all over convene.  It’s a pretty cool place.

Saturday, which was also St. Patrick’s Day… didn’t realize that until the day of, consisted of sleeping in a bit, drinking good coffee, eating REALLY delicious food, and taking a trip to a waterfall and hot springs.  Lago is know for it’s really large waterfall that you can walk behind, but I didn’t do that this time.  I will be going back in the future, just to make sure I can see it, and of course to get away again.  But, I digress.

The other smaller waterfall was still pretty awesome.  It fell into this pool of water that we swam in and enjoyed our time.  The current was so strong in the water that you could swim and stay in one place.  I enjoyed that.

So pretty!


We took a little break to get some lunch in a nearby town.  Most towns have comedors (kitchen or cafeteria), which are usually a little room with tables that make typical Honduran food.  It is so goooooood!

Church, obviously.

Parque Central

After we were all nice and full, we headed to the hot springs.  As you know (if you have been following my blog for a while), I visited the hot springs in Copan.  They were very cool, and very organized and such.  Now, the hot springs in Lago, are not visited much by tourists, and you can tell.  We all need to take a few risks every now and then, right?  I mean, it’s what keeps you young and sharp, and yes, maybe stupid.  Well, this was one of those times.  The hot springs are really cool!  But, you have to go through this small little cave that has boiling water running through it, and you have to jump on different rocks to get through the cave, to get to the part of the water that you can wade through, to get to where you can relax and enjoy the warmth.

About to go through... yes, that is steam b/c the water is THAT hot.  In some parts where it is boiling, some Hondurans put corn in to boil.  Yup.

So pretty!


Me and my roomie, Amanda

We all made it through, no problem, albeit, scared for our lives because we didn’t want to boil to death.  We enjoyed our time in the sun and relaxed in the hot tub like water.  Things got a little crazy when we were returning.  Someone had to make the day interesting, and that someone was me!  Yup, and I did that by slipping and falling into the water, just before we went back into the cave with some of the hottest water.  Um, it hurt like HE**.  Holy moly!  I screamed for a second, and freaked out because we STILL had to walk back through the worst part.

Man, that was a worrisome moment.  We made it through, and back to the town where we had lunch so I could get ice.  When we got back to the brewery (I am not even going to get into the taxi driver situation, please ask me about it sometime!) I soaked my foot for hours in ice water and took some codeine (given to me by a nurse from New Zealand who was very pushy, but knowledgable).

I know this looks like it's just sunburned, but trust me, it was red, and STILL is.

Um, in ice for a long time!

Things that the nurse gifted me.

Sunday was nice, we woke up and enjoyed some more coffee and good food and then made our way back to the Ranch.  When I got back, I was even able to Skype with Grammy for her 80th birthday!  So, even though things were a little crazy, it was a very enjoyable weekend, spent with some very enjoyable people. :)

This week has been busy and I really feel like my Spanish stinks.  It's also been really hot this week, where I feel like I am sweating in places that shouldn't sweat.  Ha.

Anyway, that's all for now!

Paz, Amor y Abrazos!

1 comment:

  1. I died laughing at this post! I could totally see ALL of this happening to you!!

    So glad you had a fun weekend, even if you did burn your foot. Oh well, it wouldn't be as much of a fun story without a crazy accident - just like tubing in the Cahaba River!!!