TEACH A MAN TO FISH….
By Bo Brand, student at Pitzer University
Going on the OCHO trip to Atima for three consecutive years gives a unique perspective that allows me to observe changes within the brigade and myself. … Each year I am increasingly impressed with OCHO’s ability to provide sustainable healthcare initiatives. The reason behind the success of these initiatives was made especially clear to me this year; it is the will and effort put in by the Atima residents… When the Atima residents are given an idea, they take it and run with it.
There are many examples just in the past three years that show the sustainable effects of OCHO’s collaboration with the people of Atima. The most obvious sustainable improvement in Atima is the beautiful health center. I remember getting a tour of the health center my first year. The health center was not operating yet; they were working on the finishing touches. The next year the center was in operation. The Honduran doctors were able to work with the OCHO doctors and collaborated while seeing patients. The Health Center was completely sustained by the Honduran doctors and staff my third year. It was in full operation.
The presence of public health projects has also increased immensely since my initial trip. My first year there was almost no talk about the teen pregnancy problems in Atima. By my third year there were workshops being lead by a public health professor in an attempt to lower the teen pregnancy and drug use. Along with OCHO’s work the teenagers of Atima also put a lot of effort into solving these problems. The community seemed to be very welcoming to the new information. One example this year was the teen party organized at the health center: it was elaborate, organized, and fun; and was completely run by the teenagers in Atima. Hopefully the presence of public health initiatives will increase further in the next few years.
In the past the home visits to kids with special needs had an incredible impact on the OCHO doctors and me. This year there seemed to be less of an emphasis on these home visits and more of an emphasis on seeing patients in Atima, which has led to finally sign off an agreement that will see the construction of a special needs school. While reflecting on the trip I have tried to analyze why this change occurred. Once again I have come to the conclusion that this change was because of the dedication of the special needs teachers. Their willingness to absorb and apply information and knowledge about children with disabilities has allowed them to identify almost 150 patients. This made it necessary for the OCHO special needs team to stay in Atima and see as many patients as possible. Because of the initiative that the Honduran teachers have taken it is now OCHO’s turn to catch up and come back with an even larger special needs team so we can also prioritize necessary home visits.
One of OCHO’s most influential tools is our ability to teach. This year that was evident through working with Dr. Pedro. Dr. Pedro is a high-risk OBGYN doctor at Sinai hospital. He was truly dedicated to teaching the Honduran doctors, and myself, about the ultrasound machines, deliveries, and answered any questions we had related to his work. We were all able to learn a lot from him. I was even able to see and help with two deliveries in Honduras. This ability to teach permeates through all aspects of OCHO’s work. I have learned an incredible amount of information and have witnessed dozens of people learn even more from the doctors and medical professionals on the trip. I have witnessed it in the special needs school, the health center, the water plant, and even in the compound where we stayed. It has been wonderful to witness the exchange of information from one person to the next.
OCHO’s sustainable achievements are only possible through our ability to teach and to the Atima resident’s willingness to learn. Dr. Pedro Arrabal said it best in our reflections meeting “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”