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Pictured above: UW Nursing Student takes blood pressure of an Agua Salada, Honduras resident.
Since 2007, the University of Wyoming has been conducting health brigades to Agua Salada, Honduras for the purpose of building a sustainable health care system for its community. The goal has been to provide a unique and valuable cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, service-learning experience for students from the health sciences disciplines and others throughout the UW community.
Has it been successful?
Perhaps the answer comes best from the Shoulder-to-Shoulder organization with which UW partners.
Shoulder-to-Shoulder is a private, non-profit, non-governmental organization well established in rural Honduras. In a recent Shoulder to Shoulder blog titled, “Wyoming, Home Away From Home,” Wyoming is said to be the best example of the kind of brigade that is effective. Wyoming is the first one the bloggers met when they took over their positions with Shoulder to Shoulder. Over time, they have seen Linda Johnson [pictured to the left, assessing movement on an elderly Honduran woman. Johnson leads the brigades normally twice per calendar year.] and the “regulars” on her Wyoming brigade create relationships with the towns and the people to whom they bring groups. They are committed to the people they service. They are no longer considered visitors, because they are invested and the work they do is transformational. There is development.
Students are visitors, BUT.
The blog admits that, of course, the students who come are indeed visitors. Students are normally there only for one visit. But, as the blog continues, “They learn techniques in the administration of medicine. They learn about the challenges of providing health care in a developing, resource challenged area. But they also learn that without an abiding commitment and the dignity of relationship, its value is limited to the effectiveness of a single intervention. But health, well-being, and development: these things require that you take the time to become comfortable in someone else’s home. These are the things that Wyoming brings to Agua Salada.”
Read the full blog at March Brigade.
Note: Linda Johnson was honored for her work in Honduras in 2016, receiving the "University of Wyoming's Faculty Award for Internationalization." Read article on Johnson at https://www.uwyo.edu/news/2016/04/uws-linda-johnson-honored-for-work-in-honduras.html
Story posted 4/17/2017