Volunteer Honduras: The program was truly amazing and much better than I expected. Every aspect of it from the accommodation, food, country, and the project itself were excellent. I leaned a lot about dentistry especially tooth extractions during the project. I even got to have first person experiences assisting the doctors.
1.-How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country?
The coordinator was great and made it easy to adapt to the daily lifestyle of the country. If I didn’t have Refael helping me things would’ve been much more difficult to figure out and I would have most likely been lost when trying to adapt to the conditions of the country. However with his help he made this very easy.
2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
At the volunteer program: I was surprised that the doctors actually allowed me to assist in procedures and even administer local anesthesia and extract teeth while under very close supervision. I thought I would only be cleaning tools and helping with patients.
At the accommodation: I was surprised that the house had fast wifi and internet because in the orientation guide I received, it informed me not to expect this.
About the country. I was surprised at how beautiful the country was. I had seen pictures of La Ceiba beforehand and it looked like a very urban environment although it was very beautiful and green as well.
ABV: we tell volunteer to come with not expectations, this makes it easier to adapt, many host families dont have wifi or internet, but every city where we have programs have cybercafe at the malls, or downtown. So if you get wifi or internet at the host family thats an extra bonus and you can pay to the host family for internet +- US$15 a week.
3- What was most difficult to experience?
At the volunteer program: The most difficult experience at the program was translating the medical terminology used in the US to Spanish. This wasn’t too complicated although I didn’t know any of the names of the dental tools in Spanish so when a doctor asked for them I was lost in the beginning. Before volunteering download a cheatsheet with all the tools you will use in country in Spanish.
At the accommodation: the most difficult thing at the house I stayed in was that there was no AC in my room. As a result it was very hot at night which made it difficult to sleep at times.
The country: in general the language was most difficult about the country. I know a lot of Spanish words although I’m not fluent so sometimes people would approach me saying things I didn’t understand. I had a translator most of the time so it wasn’t that difficult although things would’ve been easier if I was fluent in Spanish.
4- Any tips for future volunteers…
Clothing: bring light clothing that you would wear in hot weather. It is very hot and humid.
Donations: bring dental or medical supplies if you have them. The local hospital I did my project at here had little equipment so if you have some to donate it would help out a lot.
Weather: pack lightweight clothes that you would wear in hot weather.
4.1- Other things volunteers should know:
a.- It is extremely hot and humid down here and it is likely that the house you stay in won’t have AC and only a small fan.
b.- the local public clinic that has primitive supplies and resources. If you have any to donate bring them because it would go a long way
c.- The city is not dangerous as long as you avoid the bad parts of town which the coordinator will tell you about. Honduras gets a bad rap on the internet because people say it’s dangerous but if you have common sense and stay in line nothing bad will happen and you shouldn’t let fear stop you from coming.
d.- When you get Honduras currency, try to get small bills like 20s, 50s, and 100s. All taxis are 25 lampiras which is about 1.2 dollars but they won’t accept big bills so try to carry around only smaller ones.
5- Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):
The program was truly amazing and much better than I expected. Every aspect of it from the accommodation, food, country, and the project itself were excellent. I leaned a lot about dentistry especially tooth extractions during the project. I even got to have first person experiences assisting the doctors. This is great practice for me as I want to study dentistry in the future. Back in the states, I couldn’t receive the same practice and assistance that this program had to offer.
6- How would you describe your accommodation, meals and security:
The accommodation was great. It wasn’t fancy or anything but it was a nice comfortable middle class home. It also had fast internet which was very important because it allowed me to contact my family every night back in the states. The meals were also very good. A different Honduran dish was served everyday and I got plenty to eat. The security was also top notch. There was a gate in front of the house which made us feel very safe. Also, the neighborhood was locked up during the night which also added to the security as well. I never felt afraid or threatened here.
7- What was your favorite memory of this trip?
Program: my favorite memory was pulling my first tooth. Obviously the doctors assisted me a lot although with their help I was able to learn a lot about procedures and how to do them.
Country: my favorite memory of the country was visiting a place 20 minutes outside of the city called Pico Bonito. It was incredibly beautiful and in the middle of the rainforest. It was also on the river and very secluded. I have never been to a place like that before and I would recommend it to future volunteers if they have downtime.
8.- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
Communication (Phone/emails/Online chat): I was able to easily communicate with ABV US and ABV Honduras by chat online and WhatsApp before the trip which put my dad and I at ease as we were able to ask questions before coming to the country.
Website Information: The website information was very good because it made it very easy to register and afterwards told me exactly what to expect before arriving.
9 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Yes if they have questions I’d be happy to answer them.
10 – Can you tell us how did you find or know about A Broader View?
I found out through a friend named Gianncarlo. I really wanted to do a dentistry project because that is what I want to study and he told me about how he has done various projects with ABV in different countries they offer and ultimately recommended it to me.