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Hutton Honors College

 — Indiana University

Misha Taber
Spring 2002

The medical mission trip to Honduras was quite possibly one of the best and most educational weeks of my life thus far. This said, it is difficult to choose one specific moment that surpasses the rest, because the entire experience was nothing less than amazing. Therefore, I will attempt to adequately relay the overall experience in the following words.

First of all, the Honduran people that I met were some of the strongest that I have ever encountered. Imagine this: A mother with seven kids is walking along the side of a dusty, rutted dirt road. Not one member of this family owns a pair of shoes, and consequently their feet are dirty, hardened, and scared from going barefoot everywhere. There is no father- or rather; he cannot be located because he ran off to start another family. They are wearing their best clothes, because today is a special day- they get to is it the doctor, or more accurately, a medical brigade consisting of 4 doctors, a pharmacist, and 25 pre-med college students. After walking for four hours, the family reaches the brigade site, and then waits in line for five. The children play with bubbles and balls that the students brought as the mother tries to shield herself and her baby from the relentless sun. After having their blood pressure, pulse, and histories taken, they are shown into a room and examined by one of the physicians. Like the rest of the families, they all have intestinal parasites, as well as lice, and various other medical problems. The doctor gives them their prescriptions with a smile, and then the family proceeds to the "pharmacy" to pick up the medication: worm medicine, Tylenol, lice shampoo, toothpaste, soap, antibiotics, and vitamins. Yes, in the end, this family walked for eight hours and waited for five to see a doctor and to get simple things such as Tylenol and vitamins, simply because they do not have access to it otherwise. And even more amazing, there was not one complaint. Not one single complaint. There were only multiple offerings of "gracias, gracias." With another doctor is an older man who has coughed up blood for the past 3 months, but has not visited a physician, because there is not one close, and even if there were, the visit would be too expensive, not to mention the treatment. The brigade paid for this man to be taken, examined, and treated by a doctor in the city who was better equipped to treat a patient with TB. To say the least, observing all of this was nothing less than a humbling experience.

Secondly, the group that I traveled and worked with was simply incredible. The entire group displayed such passion for helping the Honduran people, and worked together impeccably. My faith in humanity was restored not only by the gratitude of the Hondurans, but also by the great effort and compassion of those I worked alongside. As a result of this experience,-1 made life long friends, and together we will strive to make a difference by helping those in need.

The trip to Honduras with the Timmy Foundation was completely mind altering, and one of the best weeks of my life, to say the least. So often we think that we are informed, compassionate, and grateful, but you cannot begin to comprehend the true depth of those words, those emotions, until you take a trip- to serve- in a third world country. I sincerely think it should be a "life requirement" to participate in a trip like this - simply to gain proper, humbled perspective. The people we treated possessed so much strength, spirit, patience, and gratitude. I was utterly humbled, saddened, and yet inspired at the same time. From this experience I learned what my obligation is as a human and, God willing, someday as a doctor. This duty to help these people just so happens to be my desire, my passion. I have truly been blessed by this venture, and I am left with no choice but to act upon what I experienced. I pray it is the same for everyone.