I’m back from my trip and tanner than ever!! The last 9 days were spent on a medical, dental, and public health brigade to Honduras with the U of T chapter of Global Brigades.
In my last post, I explained some of the things that we’d get to do on the trip such as shadow dentists, hold public health education sessions for kids, and organize prescriptions for patients.
However, the most memorable portion of the brigade would have to be the public health aspect. The brigaders separated into smaller groups and spent our days with one local family to build an eco-stove and a pila which included a shower, toilet, laundry board, and clean water storage.
I’ve always enjoyed building things so I was looking forward to this. While the heat felt like the tenth circle of hell and the bruises on my legs made it seem as though I were kept in a cellar and tortured for months, I could not regret a single aspect of the experience. Besides the proud feeling I got from making something with my own hands, I was so honoured to have spent the time getting to know the family I was serving. They were a perfect representation of all the locals I met in Honduras: friendly, warm, and incredibly hospitable. Armando and Jorgito (see also: Jorge) – grandsons of the house – are arguably the cutest and happiest children I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. We managed to teach Armando five different sports (in which he quickly became better than me). Plus the two children were always willing to put up with what poquito Spanish I could speak.
Saying goodbye to our new family on the last day was bittersweet. It broke my heart leaving these little ones and their wonderful community. I could’ve been a native Spanish speaker and still wouldn’t have been able to find the words to express how thankful and glad I was for their kindness in welcoming us into their lives. But I was also glad to leave after having installed vital tools that would hopefully improve the quality of their lives.
The most important thing I learned from this trip is that the ability to acknowledge each other as having equal human experiences is something that transcends lingual, cultural, or socioeconomic differences. And while I travelled a long way to assist this Honduran community, service to others does not need to be done on such a grandiose scale. Compassion can be performed and felt in something as simple as a smile or a wave.
Having just come back to Canada, I am suffering from intense brigade withdrawal and honestly wish I could go back to that blisteringly hot country with coffee so good it makes everything else taste like murky swamp juice. I’m missing the lovely locals, GB staff, and my fellow brigaders. I’m so so so grateful for the experience and totally going to consider going with UTGB again for this next summer’s trip!
How has helping others impacted your own life? Has there been someone who has helped you along the way who inspires you? Let me know in the comments or shout us out on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!