Osteopathic medical student Brian Sullivan was a member of Des Moines University’s largest and most interprofessional global health service team to date: More than 35 individuals – including students from five DMU programs and Drake University’s pharmacy program as well as faculty, clinicians and a social worker – spent March 16-24 providing health care, education and information to hundreds of under-served people in Honduras. It was DMU’s second service trip to the Central American nation, organized in partnership with Global Brigades, the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization.
Arriving at DMU, eager for our journey to Honduras, we excitedly chatted about our expectations for the trip. Pizza and ice cream was served for dinner. Bellies full, we loaded the bus with luggage and 20 some odd packs of medication/equipment and secured a seat on the bus.
Halfway to Chicago, we took a pit stop at the World’s Largest Truck Stop where an estimated 60 million people visit every year. Some of us contemplated a change of profession but decided against it.
Our next stop was the airport. Arriving around 12:00 a.m., we hauled our luggage and the medications/equipment to the baggage check and made our way to Gate 12. We spent the majority of the fight asleep and woke up at 6:30 a.m. in Guatemala. On the way to Gate 14, some of us bought our first Guatemalan coffee.
The plane we boarded seated about 50 people and the runway in Tegucigalpa is one of the shortest in the world. Needless to say nerves were high but the flight couldn’t have gone smoother.
After landing, we made our way to customs and met the U..S Ambassador for Honduras, who thanked us for our contribution to global health. Twenty-two bags of medical supplies through customs and we were on our way to the compound. After 24 hours of travel, we made it to our final destination.
The Global Brigades staff served us a delicious late lunch and showed us to our housing for the week. With all the sitting during the past 24 hours of travel a group of us made our way down to a basketball court converted into a soccer field and played some futbol with local children. After working up an appetite, we headed back to the dining area to eat more delicious food. During dinner we were introduced to our security personnel, local doctors and guides that would be helping us during clinic. With our stomach full and being worn out by the kids we finally hit the sack.