I really can’t believe that I am now writing that my year in Honduras working as the CUREkids Coordinator is complete. Looking back over the year, it seems like it flew by in a day; yet, at the same time it feels like I lived there for a thousand years. I think it’s because I met so many people over my time there and I had so many new experiences. The challenges I faced, thrown in among the exciting experiences, stretched me and made me a stronger person, and because of this I definitely came out a stronger person and much more prepared for my next stage of life — studying to become a nurse.
One of the biggest challenges I faced was being the first CUREkids Coordinator in the Honduras hospital. I sort of had to pave the way for the program there and figure out how to best integrate it into the life of the hospital. Not only was it a new country and program for me, but it was also new to all the hospital staff. Because this was all new, I was grateful for flexible and very helpful co-workers! In time, the program got into a rhythm and the work began to pay off. In my opinion, my job was one of the best, because while doing my job I also got to spend time in the operating room and learn a lot about how things work in there and spend time in the clinic, where I got to translate during consultation hours for some of the doctors. This had several benefits, one being that it got me speaking Spanish on a regular basis, and through that I learned many medical terms! Because of the hours of translating, I learned a lot about orthopedic problems, their causes, and the treatments. I also got to learn about casting for fractures and clubfeet, how to remove pins and stitches, proper wound cleaning, and other clinical activities.
Another part of the experience that I enjoyed was spending time with Aracely, the Spiritual Director at CURE Honduras, and just talking or praying with patients and their parents. Sometimes we had cases where there wasn’t actually a physical problem with a child, but something mental or spiritual. I learned to listen carefully to the patients and consider the whole person — physical, mental, and spiritual.
Now that I am back in the US at this time and have started college to study nursing, I am endlessly thankful for the time I had in Honduras. It really changed me as a person; I see the world with different eyes, with much more of an appreciation to live simply. Most importantly, I’m grateful for the friends I’ve made. The Honduran people welcomed me to their home like it was my own. Mi casa es tu casa is certainly a true phrase for the Hondurans, and by the time I left, I was no longer called a gringa (white person) among my friends, but a catracha (Honduran). The Honduran people forever hold a place in my heart, and I’m grateful for the time I was blessed to spend with them to serve, learn, and grow.