This week, we are excited to share two more stories written by our Health Squad. Kelly and Kara both went on the May medical trip with H&H. Read more to learn about their experiences and what kind of work they were doing! If these stories resonate with you, we encourage you to get involved and come with us on a trip.
By: Kelly Segar medical education team member
I lead our strategy team on the Health Squad, and one of the tasks the Health Squad has been working on from the U.S. is helping H&H’s health care leader, Dr. Faviola, create the content for the monthly health seminars she gives in the villages.
Our May topic was set to be nutrition. Once we were down in Honduras, we split into two groups: children’s health education and adult education. The adult group ran wonderful, intimate round table discussions about health eating habits and this was facilitated in a way that was mutually beneficial. We learned about their beliefs, habits, and priorities surrounding this topic first, and then adapted the session to fit those needs.
The children’s education was addressed in many ways throughout the week. Play was at the forefront of these lessons. The kids worked hard playing doctor, tending to their “patients” on the hard, cement ground of the community centers. They cooked meals with plastic fruits and vegetables and learned about which kinds of food give their body the most energy.
They also explored different body parts, their functions, and the best ways they could take care of them (hand hygiene, brushing teeth, drinking lots of water, etc.) In every aspect of the children’s health education, there was a real focus on the phrase “take the child’s lead.” As a group, we constantly assessed misconceptions the children may have regarding their bodies and figured out ways to adjust our teachings to help them understand best at each their varied developmental levels.
We closed out the week by doing some “pin the body part on the human” and talked to the kids about healthy habits while they gathered around a large cartoon diagram. It was important to us that we found a way to “connect the dots” for them. In other words, our lesson with the kids needed to have a central focus so that we could help break down the complexity of the human body.
We naturally settled upon talking about energy. We talked about oxygen or what we referred to as the body’s “magic” because “it helps you do all the things you love to do like play and learn and explore.” We also discussed how our brains need energy and there are important things we need to do every day to help “recharge our batteries”, such as getting nutrient fuel from health foods, drinking water, and getting plenty of sleep. I hope you will consider joining H&H’s Health Squad education team to continue our efforts to help Dr. Faviola create educational seminars and join H&H on the next medical trip!
By: Kara Sobolewski, clinical and triage team member
My name is Kara Sobolewski. I am a travel nurse currently doing an assignment in Connecticut. On the Humanity & Hope May medical trip, I was part of the clinical and triage team. I worked alongside other nurses and students by assessing each person that came to the clinic. We worked with the translators to get a history and a set of vitals. We then triaged each person by assessing their symptoms and deciding if they needed to be immediately seen by a physician or nurse practitioner.
I am so appreciative that I was given the opportunity to travel with H&H and to be a part of the medical team. I was able to use my skills as a nurse for those who truly need it. I was able to speak to different patients and families and hear their stories. They were grateful that Humanity & Hope took the time to listen and examine them. Many of them told me that their access to health care was nearly nonexistent. If an emergency were to occur, they would have to possibly travel hours to the nearest hospital. The clinics that we set up were an amazing way to help prevent certain illnesses from progressing to an emergent situation. For example, we diagnosed patients with high blood pressure and were able to prescribe and give them the medication necessary to control it before it became worse. Knowing I was able to help so many people in such a short amount of time was life changing. Being able to see how each group did their part and was able to use their specialties to help others was amazing.
You don’t have to be a nurse or doctor to make a difference on a medical trip. Since this was the first medical trip, we were able to voice our ideas and opinions and they were recognized. The groups’ leaders listened to what we said and appreciated the advice. I would advise anyone considering going on a trip with Humanity & Hope to take the chance to sign up for one. You truly will not regret it. Seeing the smiles and hearing the thanks these community members give is incredible. Humanity & Hope does an incredible job of keeping you in the loop when you have returned home. It begins to feel like a family and the people you meet on these trips can become lifelong friends. You are given opportunities to help the community members from afar. I will be joining another trip with Humanity & Hope very soon and I hope you will as well!