Both myself and Emma Spong, Heart to Heart’s Ready Relief Box™ Specialist, traveled to Honduras to see first hand the Global Brigades operation there, and to hand deliver a Ready Relief Box™ full of medicine to add to the boxes the Medical Brigades already brought with them to operate their clinics.
Here now are some of Emma’s thoughts on the trip, and be sure to click the photos to see full-size:
I have been back in my office at Heart to Heart HQ for a few days now and am already missing the scenic beauty of the mountain communities of Honduras. I came on staff as the Ready Relief Box Specialist in July of 2011 and I must say that so far, hand delivering a Ready Relief Box to Honduras has been my most meaningful experience with Heart to Heart!
My job with Heart to Heart is to run the logistics of our Ready Relief Box™ program. I order medicines, coordinate with partner organizations and oversee the packing and shipping of the boxes with our staff at our Global Distribution Center.
My trip to visit Global Brigades in Honduras was my first opportunity to visit with a partner organization in-country, to see the medicines from the Box distributed to patients and to witness the impact of my job. The first few days we were there, I learned quite a bit about Global Brigades and their operations beyond the medical side. And that included taking up a shovel and a pick-axe to help a Water Brigade dig a trench for their clean water pipes. We then spent three days with three separate Medical Brigades which Dan has already blogged about in Parts One, Two & Three. On the third day we joined the University of California-Irvine in the farming community of Santa Rosa, located high up in the mountains. These dedicated student volunteers not only coordinate a three-day clinic but are responsible for what can be an arduous chore of collecting all the medications needed to stock a pharmacy.
Claudia Moya, the president of Global Brigades UCI Chapter, is just one of these dedicated students. Before their trip I had worked with Claudia to provide her brigade with two Ready Relief Boxes. So it was great to have the opportunity to chat face-to-face so far from home and in the midst of the commotion of the brigade. She told me ordering the Ready Relief Boxes was simple and fast. Simple! That is exactly what the Ready Relief Box program should be. And it’s rewarding to know that my job enables our partners to focus on what is most important, treating people in need!
I spent much of my time with the brigades in the pharmacy observing and filling prescriptions. Many of the patients seen during these clinics suffer from common and treatable illnesses such as colds, body pains and bacterial infections. But even if an illness is common it can cause great discomfort. The treatments distributed from the pharmacy were simple to us – a course of antibiotics or even just acetaminophen. If I need these medicines I just stop by a pharmacy, which can be easily found. But here? There aren’t stocked pharmacies in these remote communities of Honduras; instead people have to walk for hours to access medicines. The Ready Relief Box brought these everyday medicines to the people of Honduras. The Ready Relief Box is simple but it brings so much comfort to people.
Now sitting at my desk at HQ working through a stack of Box orders, I have a much better picture of the impact of my job and how the Ready Relief Box impacts the lives of thousands of people in need around the world.
We’ll have more from our trip to Honduras soon! Stick around…