June 18-26, 2011 was a week of my life that I will never forget. I had the privilege of traveling to Honduras with United Methodist Church of Farmville sponsored through Friends of Barnabas Foundation. We stayed with at the foundation house in Peña Blanca and traveled to five different villages all in the mountains of Honduras. The villages included Santa Ana, Pompoa, Las Crucitas, Montañuelas, and Bueña Vista. I was one of 15 in my group combined of medical and non-medical staff. At each village, we set up a medical clinic with three registered nurses, one nurse practitioner, two 2 nursing students, and one local doctor. We also set up a de-worming clinic and an eye clinic.
This was my first trip to Honduras and I was taking back by the beauty of the land; yet in the same scene, such poverty and destruction. The people of these villages were so excited to see our bus arrive. The men of the village would be lined up waiting to unload the bus for us. Most villages already had a line formed waiting to check in of mothers with at least 3 children clinging to her side.
One of the most memorable experiences I had was on my last day of clinic the very first family I saw was a mother in her 20’s and two children. The little girl, 4 years old, was all smiles in her little pigtails and the boy, 18 months followed suit. My interpreter had a long beard and when he greeted the family the little boy was drawn to him. He stretched his little hand out to touch the beard. At this time, my interpreter placed his hand on the little boy’s cheek, and this image was burnt into my memory. It was obvious these children knew we were here to help them and their mother was every bit as thankful as the children. Our team members were given crosses to give away throughout the week to people we saw Christ in, and needless to say these children were given mine.
A very hard thing during my trip to deal with was the unfortunate people that we couldn’t help and had to refer to the hospital. When this happened, it broke my heart to know they would more than likely never see a doctor for their needs either because of cost or transportation barriers. A lady in her 70’s came in with a very large diabetic foot ulcer that was so infected, it had necrotic tissue surrounding the area and had impeded circulation to that foot; she had had this ulcer for over a year. It was obvious to us in health care there was not many options for the future other than amputation. All I could do at this point is pray for this lady.
Our team had the privilege to serve and help over 700 people of Honduras. I want to thank One Nurse at a Time for helping me make this trip possible. The team I traveled with as well as the staff at The Friends of Barnabas Foundation made me feel as though Honduras was a second home for me. I hope I have the opportunity to make this trip again and help other the many other villages in need.
Lauren Johnson, RN,BSN, was born in raised in Chesterfield, VA and now is a critical care nurse in Pinehurst, NC. Lauren grew up in an amazingly loving family who taught her to care for others from the beginning. She spent most of her youth playing competitive softball which led her to Lenoir Rhyne College in Hickory, NC on an academic and softball scholarship. There she started her nursing education and fell in love. She soon found that her studies would have to take precedence over softball, and moved back home to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA to finish her nursing degree. After accepting a job in a medical/neuro ICU in Pinehurst, NC, Lauren started to see why nursing is such a blessed profession. Not only does she love going to work to care for others, but the joy of being able to help in an extreme time of need makes each day worthwhile