University students lend a hand in Honduras

Staff ~ The Amherst Daily News
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Medical brigade

SACKVILLE, N.B. - Fifty Mount Allison University students spent their spring break setting up temporary clinics around the northern part of Honduras.

 

During their trip with Global Medical Brigades, the students provided medical, dental and public health support to residents.

The venture saw the group split into two teams - one providing medical and dental care, and the other to complete a valuable public health effort. The latter built concrete floors, water storage units, latrines and clean cooking stoves for two households.

Dan Caux, student and public health team co-leader, said this year's group was the first ever Canadian public health brigade.

"It is without a doubt the students' incredible motivation and determination that made our week-long brigade as successful and rewarding as possible," he said.

In addition to the building for the two families, the 20 students pooled together their money with donations to buy the families a month's supply of staple foods, as well as clothing, footwear and backpacks, among other things.

The medical team was equally successful, providing healthcare for 1,677 people - 687 people on their last day alone.

Third year student Laura Stymiest was on her second brigade to Honduras and is co-president of the Mount Allison chapter and Global Brigades Canadian co-ordinator.

"We had a wonderful experience in Honduras once again with a great group of students and health professionals," she said.

"Reflecting on the week, everyone agreed that we took away even more than we could ever give, learning from the beautiful people of Honduras and their consistently vibrant spirits even in the hardest of circumstances."

New to the brigade this year was a Data Informatics System that saw one student working with the doctors to create an electronic file for every patient to aid in the continued care.

Maritza Farina, from Mount Allison's Spanish department, also delivered a daily talk about the importance of hygiene.

The students raised approximately $10,000 for their trip. Fundraisers included samosa sales, residence events, pub coat check, a B.O.D.I.E.S (Building Optimal Development of Images through Educating Students) calendar, as well as generous funding from Leadership Mount Allison, the Students' Administrative Council, and the Campbell-Verduyn Fund.

In preparation, participants also took valuable Spanish language training and attended workshops on Honduras - a country where 80 per cent of the population lives in poverty.

Mount Allison is only the third university in Canada and the first university in the Maritimes to establish a Global Medical Brigades chapter. This trip marks the second annual brigade by Mount Allison students.

Next month, the men's varsity soccer team will venture out on another 'brigade', visiting Flor Azul - an all boys agricultural school for orphaned boys, or boys with no father. They will be providing soccer workshops and public health support.

Organizations: Mount Allison University, Data Informatics System, Administrative Council Campbell-Verduyn Fund

Geographic location: Honduras, Canada

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  • Norma
    March 14, 2010 - 23:07

    This story warms my heart...In this day of so much bad criticism of our youth, this proves, that not all have selfish thought....Many are very compassionate and caring..I would like to thses students for all their help....