For 20 years, Friends of Barnabas has sent several types of volunteer teams to Honduras including Mountain Medical Teams, Surgical Teams, Education Teams, Early Childhood Development Teams, Rotary Teams, and a Maintenance Team.
As you can imagine, between the COVID19 pandemic and Hurricanes Eta and Iota, 2020 has been a difficult year for our staff in Honduras and most certainly for those we serve in the mountains and throughout Honduras.
We have given much thought to our plans for 2021. We have gathered input from our US and Honduran personnel, our Medical Advisory Committee, team leaders, and our Board of Directors. We have also closely monitored COVID levels and trends in the US and Honduras, restrictions, and limitations. Unfortunately, as COVID rates continue to climb in the US and as they are predicted to increase in Honduras, we do not feel it is possible to responsibly send US teams to Honduras at this time.
Friends of Barnabas is committed to the health of the mountain communities and also to the health, safety, and security of our volunteers. Prior to the hurricanes, FOB worked tirelessly to educate our communities and help prevent the spread of COVID into our partner communities. Given the reality of asymptomatic positive COVID, we cannot guarantee that the volunteers we bring into communities would not carry it with them and with the proximity to medical care so far away, we feel this is far too risky. Similarly, we feel that a volunteer could be placed in a risky situation should he or she become symptomatic in Honduras and not able to fly home. In such a case, the reality would be that the medicine supply may or may not be available in a timely manner and this could negatively impact their outcome.
While we will not be sending any teams to Honduras in 2021, should the variables mentioned above be remedied by 2022, we will begin 2022 with a Scouting Team followed by Mountain Medical Teams.
Rest assured that there will be many ways for your team to be involved with FOB and Honduras in 2021. We remain committed to our 30 partner communities and the 300 children in our Extended Care Program. We will continue to serve these children and families in 2021 as we have in 2020.