Somewhere in the Atlantic shipping lanes, a cargo of medical supplies is making its way from Baltimore to Puerto Cortes, Honduras. For the last 50 miles or so, amid grinding gears and spinning tires, it will be hauled across unpaved mountain roads to its final stop in Atima, arriving just in time for the annual visit of the OCHO medical brigade.
The team has no time to waste when it gets to Honduras; there are hundreds of patients to see, and it takes months of planning to ensure that everything runs smoothly when they get there. The container plays a key role in making that happen.
Each year, the logistical clock starts running as soon as the OCHO team returns from its annual visit. Team members solicit donations of medical equipment, hospital supplies, pharmaceuticals, and assistive devices for people with disabilities. Then, throughout the late winter and early spring, volunteers meet at the Church of the Redeemer to pack the items for shipment.
This week, OCHO volunteers spent two days loading more than two tons of medicine and supplies into a 40-foot shipping container, before it was finally sealed and taken to the Port of Baltimore on May 11. We wish our container ¡buen viaje! and look forward to seeing our friends in Atima and Choloma once again, this June.
- Peter Kirchgraber, free-lance writer and OCHO volunteer