Day 5 arrives. As the daily breakfast bell chimes at 6:30, everyone can feel the ache and exhaustion from the days before. Filling the house with the aroma of a delicious meal, Albeta and Virginia prepare breakfast, full of love and smiles. The early birds of the team are already at the table, cleaned up and dressed. On the other hand, the teenaged boys come staggering down the stairs, still asleep at 6:31, rushing to not be last to the table. Grace is said and breakfast is eaten.
The daily morning preparations commence as mosquito repellent is sprayed and water bottles are filled. However, there is a difference that separates this day from the previous ones. One would expect the doctors, nurses, translators, and teenagers of the Amigos de Bernabé house to be fatigued and depleted on the last day. However, every person person on the team, no matter the position, is mentally prepared and excited to finish the week firing on all cylinders.
Everyone understands the attention and focus that each villager deserves on the last day and it was shown through each doctor treating every patient with the utmost care and precision.
The supposed thirty minute bus ride to today's village unexpectedly turned into an hour ride after there was an unfortunate car accident on the way there. However, not a single person let any worry show as the team instantly transformed the village's school into today's clinic, without a second wasted. In fact no more than a couple minutes passed before Dr. Ed noticed an unstable little girl in the midst of an asthma attack and treated her accordingly in the general clinic. His actions served as the ideal model for the rest of the day, demonstrating the awareness and care the day would require.
Dr. Carlo and Clara witnessed a moving situation that involved a boy that symbolized the essence of sacrifice and love. At first, as the boy and his family arrived at Dr. Carlo's station, there was hesitation in the air when the boy responded to the questions. "How much do you eat during the day?" asked Dr. Carlo, trying to investigate how this 14-year-old boy only weighs 70 pounds. What made the situation confusing was that the other kids in the family were slightly underweight but so much healthier than this extremely malnourished boy. "I'm just not hungry in the morning or during the day," the boy would consistently report. Nevertheless, the mother finally confessed that the family didn't have enough food to sufficiently feed everyone. Putting the pieces together, Dr. Carlo realized that this fourteen year old boy, who had finished school at age 12 in order to help provide for his family, had been sacrificing his portion of food for the other kids so that they could live healthier lives.
Much can be learned from this selfless boy. This simple boy living in the remote mountains of Honduras can teach us how much sacrifice is needed in some parts of the world in order to fulfill the basic necessities of life, such as food and water. He inadvertently taught us how love for one's family has no limits and with the right mindset, we can go through hardship with a smile on our faces.
As the day progressed, as always, doctors got attached to patients as they shared their life stories and troubles. In particular, one boy caught the attention of Dr. Ed and his shadow for the day, Johnny. Unlike the common respiratory symptoms most patients reported during the day, this little boy, around the age five, wandered in with his mother and newborn brother to Dr. Ed's station with something unusual. The boy doesn't speak, nor has he responded to sound in both ears ever since an accident when he was a toddler.
All through his checkup, the boy was always compliant and peaceful. He didn't resist. He didn't cry. What he did do was smile. One could see how he communicated not with words, but with the expression of his face, which was always a youthful, illuminating smile ready to brighten anyone's day. Of course, Dr. Ed and especially Johnny got attached to the Honduran boy who exhibited true endurance. Even with his devastating condition, the boy was able to find happiness in a situation full of hardship.
As the final day came to an end, the team worked in total equilibrium. Everyone on the team contributed and made up one part of a system stat kept on successfully moving throughout the week. Whether it be Freddie dishing out medication to the doctors or Sami playing duck duck goose with the Honduran children, every single person has a unique function on the team. Once the patients dwindled and the rush softened, the team started to realize the week of intense work was coming to a close. We then realized how much these villagers have given us and understand that we received from these kindhearted men and women so much more than we could ever give to them.
I admit, working with this team of people was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. To be able to meet and develop relationships with such intelligent and caring people has had an immense impact on me in the most positive way. There's no doubt that a little piece of me will be left behind in this house and in each and every one of the villages we visited. Reflecting on what I've learned this week, I've come to realize that this trip has helped me develop more into who i want to become. I hope that the rest of the team agrees when i say we could not be more grateful for the opportunity to serve the Honduran people and all the experiences that we were able to share with one another throughout our journey.