Today on our last full day in Honduras, we explored the holistic sustainability model of Global Brigades through a water brigade. In the morning, we used pickaxes and shovels to dig trenches in which water pipes would be laid. This work was exhausting, and I had a layer of sweat covering every inch of my body the entire three-ish hours we dug. Then, we toured a village that only had access to an unsafe water source for drinking and bathing and spoke with families to discuss their personal water situations.
Our small taste of a water brigade today reminded me of the holistic model of Global Brigades. The organization functions to build sustainability within a community by addressing the primary medical problems and then documenting the health trends. In Honduras, most of these trends can be traced back to parasites and bacteria present in the villagers’ drinking water. After a medical brigade, a water brigade enters the community to install a quality and efficient water system. With a healthy water system, a public health brigade builds latrines and proper disposal mechanisms. All of these “basic needs” brigades are succeeded by architecture, engineering, and microfinance brigades (among a few others).
I am so inspired by this holistic model. That’s why many of us are drawn to healthcare: because it requires technical/medical expertise but it also has a social component necessitating compassion and empathy. Delivering healthcare is a holistic process to heal the body and soul. Teams of physicians, nurses, health workers, volunteers, students, and even translators work together to build sustainability by navigating people to take charge of their lives through the outlet of good health.
This holism is translatable across many arenas of life. We all necessitate supplies, teaching, and care, but these go hand in hand with teamwork, perseverance, and love. Thank you Global Brigades, Honduras, and my fellow Rice students for inspiring me even more to pursue every endeavor more holistically and to make a conscientious promise to travel abroad and work with others as a physician.
Solo tenemos una vida para ayudar a todo en el mundo. He abierto los ojos a una cultura nueva con personas bellísimas. Todos debemos hacer una diferencia juntos.
Hasta luego, Honduras. No es un adiós final.