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Students Visit Honduras to Provide Support for Communities in Need

Flickr: Photo Gallery

A group of 17 students from Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) participated in a 10-day Global Medical Brigades trip to Honduras in late May. KGI’s Medical Brigade Club spearheaded the trip and the group of students included individuals from the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Certificate (PPC), Master of Engineering (MEng), and Master of Science (MS) programs. Through the 2016-2017 academic year, the club fundraised and gathered supplies for the trip.

“Once we arrived in Honduras, we were instantly greeted with warmth,” said Jason Lee, MEng ’18. “We learned about the holistic approach of Global Medical Brigades and our trip included community visits, public health, and medical and dental support. We visited a few communities in need throughout the trip and we were able to help families access clean water.”

During the medical and dental portion of the trip, the KGI students visited El Ocote, a small town about four hours away from the capital Tegucigalpa. Through the group’s efforts of constructing toilets and showers in the small community, the KGI students delivered a tremendous impact for the families they visited.

“Our team was able to construct four toilets or ‘pilas’ for four families across El Ocote,” said Kayla Yoshida, who graduated from KGI’s Master of Science (MS) program on May 13. “I felt a deep connection to my host family as we physically worked together while mixing cement and later spoke about our hopes and dreams.”

To promote a healthy lifestyle, the KGI students also provided Hondurans with toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and floss.

“Over the course of three days, we were able to treat a few hundred people,” Lee said. “We provided consultation with a physician, OB/GYN, dental extractions, and even medication.”

The KGI students certainly saw the need to return to Honduras each year and they aim to bring more of their classmates on the trip.

“Every single person who went on the trip has a bittersweet feeling,” Lee said. “We want to go back and help the people in Honduras because we know that even a single person can make a difference.”

Global Brigades USA is the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. Its mission is to empower volunteers to facilitate sustainable solutions in under resourced communities while fostering local cultures. Since 2005, more than 5,000 volunteers from 110 university groups have traveled to implement skill-based programs to benefit more than 100,000 Honduran and Panamanian community members.

“As I am heading to medical school in the fall, this trip has reaffirmed my passion for incorporating global health into my future practice,” Yoshida said. “The feeling of sharing life, time, and words with people from cultures different from our own is unmatched to any other.