The Reward of Service Trips
A service trip is anything you want to make it. Dedicating your time to something that you do not financially profit from is a service trip. It can be something that happens locally, or you can go to exotic places that are very different than where we are from. You have to be ready for it. You have to be ready to take on something that will teach you new things about yourself and the world.
I went on my first service trip to Honduras to help provide medical care in a small mountain town there for a week. I went with friends through a program called Cape Cares.
Cape Cares sends volunteer teams to its clinics located in remote and mountainous areas of Honduras to give free medical and dental care. Photo courtesy of capecares.org
I knew I always wanted to be a doctor when I grow up, and I wanted to do something that involved what I want to do and something that can really help a lot of people. When this opportunity presented itself, I jumped on it.
Our group consisted of 3 doctors, 3 dental students, 2 dentists, 2 translators and 5 teens. We were given two rooms, one for the girls and one for the boys. We put our minimal bags down and got right to work. We set up a “pharmacy” in a little hut like structure and 3 tables for the doctors to see their patients. The dentists had 3 chairs set up outside to see their patients. We were literally dodging chickens and little children who would come up and play in the structure to try and see our patients. We ended up seeing over 100 people a day, and pretty much gave out all the medicine we had.
After 5 days of this, i just wanted more. It made me even hungrier to learn more about medicine and what I can do with it. Not only did I get to help hundreds of people who really, truly needed it, I got perspective as well. Doing work like this really has a way of putting life into perspective. We end up taking advantage of what we have more than appreciating it.
I think everyone needs to have an experience like this. Everyone needs some perspective. But at the same time you need to be emotionally ready. You need to be in a place where you can really appreciate how even a little bit of your time can really help people.