No. It’s definitely helpful, and your ability to converse in Spanish will offer you a very rich experience as you meet members of the community. However, many of us do not speak Spanish and we manage to communicate in our own way! If you speak a little Spanish, are a student, or would like to.. this will be a very rewarding experience for you.
What sort of job can I do if I am not a medical or dental professional, or I can’t speak Spanish?
As a general support person, you may be asked to assist the doctors and/or dentists, care for an infant or entertain a young child while a parent is seen, sterilize instruments, act as pharmacist, or provide education on dental prevention. You may also be a driver, if you’re comfortable doing some adventurous driving.
What are the most common medical needs that we can expect to see?
In the medical clinic, many patients come to us for chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and osteoarthritis, and many have eye disease. We also see and treat for muscular strains, skin concerns, asthma, urinary tract infections, and parasites. Much of what we see is a result of the demanding physical life style of hard work. Occasionally we see patients that need surgical referrals, have complicated diagnoses or life-threatening situations. We also work alongside the local physician and nurses in providing gynecological clinics and cancer screenings.
Is there a maximum age for a volunteer to participate on a team?
No. If you are in good physical and mental health, you will likely have a safe, positive, and productive experience. We have volunteers who are in their 80’s and who make significant contributions to the medical and dental clinics. If you have concerns about your personal health and whether or not you should be spending a week on a medical/dental mission in Honduras, please discuss this with your physician prior to joining a CHPH team. Older volunteers have much to offer, no matter what their professional background has been.
Do I need a passport to travel to Honduras?
All American citizens must have a valid U.S. passport for travel to Honduras. Your U.S. passport must be valid for at least SIX months after your scheduled date of return to the United States. We encourage you to make two photocopies of your U.S. passport — one to leave at home and one to bring with you to Honduras. You will need the equivalent of about $40-$45 for your departure tax. You can pay this with U.S. dollars, lempiras, or a combination of the two. This tax cannot be paid with a credit card.
What documents do I need to provide as part of the application process?
• a completed on-line application • a signed Volunteer Agreement • a copy of your passport photo page • a copy of your driver’s license, only required if you intend to drive in Honduras • a check made out to TJIF, Inc. for the volunteer fee of $700 • a copy of your flight itinerary from the airline FOR PHYSICIANS AND DENTISTS ONLY: • a copy of your current medical/dental license • a copy of your diploma
What does the volunteer fee cover?
The volunteer fee covers the necessary formulary, accommodations, meals, in-country transportation, and evacuation insurance. Can I consider my volunteer fee a charitable contribution for tax purposes? Your volunteer fee and airfare for travel to and from Honduras are considered charitable contributions for tax purposes.
When should I make my flight reservations?
It is advisable to book your flight at least two-three months in advance, as ticket prices escalate as the departure date becomes closer. We must have a copy of your flight itinerary at least 6 weeks prior to your departure for Honduras. Before making reservations, check with CHP-H as to your team’s target arrival time. We make every effort to have team members arrive within an hour or two of one another. As soon as you have confirmed your reservations, send a copy of your flight itinerary to CHP-H. ** We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance at the time you purchase your ticket.
Into what Honduran airport should I fly?
Make your reservation in conjunction with your team leader. Most teams fly into Toncontin Airport in Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras. However,depending on the time of year, it may be better to fly into San Pedro Sula. The team leader will help make the determination. Once you land you will meet the rest of team at the airport.
Do I need to fill out a Customs form before returning to the United States?
Yes. On your return flight, you will receive a Customs form to be completed prior to entry into the U.S. When filling out the form, indicate that your reason for traveling toHonduras was for tourism.
Do I need to get any vaccinations before leaving the Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, tetanus-diphtheria, and measles vaccines are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at the time of this writing?
Hepatitis B is especially important in a medical/dental clinical environment. To review the CDC’s advisory, check its website at www.nccdc.gov/travel. Please consult with your personal physician in advance of the trip. Discuss with your physician and obtain medicines and vaccines needed for the trip. It is advisable to inform your team physician of your health status, any ailments, medications, and allergies you may have.
Could you tell me about the sanitary facilities in Honduras?
In Honduras, because the water pressure is not great, you don’t flush toilet paper. Instead, you put it in the bucket next to the toilet, otherwise even a small amount of paper will likely clog the pipes. The bucket is emptied every day. Our house has running water and electricity, as does most of LaFlorida. This is not true of many of the outlying barrios, but our infrastructure is dependable and the community sees to it that we are very comfortable!
Will I be able to use my cell phone or computer at the Your cell phone may or may not work in-country?
We suggest you purchase an international calling plan from your carrier, although we still wouldn’t guarantee it would work. You may bring your computer , but we don’t advise it. We strongly recommend that you leave electronic devices at home. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to connect to the internet, and, if your hope is to work off-line, we still suggest you leave these items at home.
I'm a physician, are there supplies that I can bring from home that would be helpful?
Absolutely…thanks for asking! Any items from the list below would be helpful: • Stethoscope • Otoscope • Opthalmoscope • BP cuff • Flashlight • Tongue depressors • Several surgical kits • Hibiclens • Scalpels • Sutures • A quick reference for prescribing • Any good very simple patient education materials in Spanish • Medications (we will provide a formulary of suggested medications)
I’m a dentist. What supplies can I bring from home that would help in providing care?
We would appreciate it if you can bring any of the following: • Gloves • Surgery instruments • Some resorb sutures • 2×2’s • H.P. angle if you are using the electric HP—-otherwise 4 hole hand pieces for the unit • 100 feet or so of 3 wire extension cord if you use the generator (maybe multi plug adapter • Local anesthetic 200 to 300 carps • Boxes of needles (just in case) • Syringes • Flashlights and batteries • Surgical burs • Matches or spark lighter for the stove • Anesthetics • Gauze What instruments and/or supplies can an RN bring from home? • stethoscope, BP cuff • a well functioning glucometer with disposable lancets and strips • urine dipsticks • pregnancy tests
What is the weather like in Honduras?
It depends on the time year. In Opatoro, owing to the mountains and proximity to the Pacific, it is usually quite temperate. The rainy season begins in early summer.
Can we bring gifts for the Honduran children?
We have a policy of not bringing gifts to individuals. Please do not bring candy or toys, or other items to give away to the villagers. However, stickers for the children are acceptable and can be given at the end of the appointment. School and art supplies can be donated to the schools, and toiletries (hotel samples) are wonderful to bring to bed- bound elders. Soccer balls are always welcome! Also, puzzles, games, spanish books.. items that can be shared are always appreciated.
If someone from home needs to contact me, how do they me?
Contact numbers follow: We will provide cell phone numbers to the team. Each brigade will have a phone that can be used for emergencies. In Honduras: U.S. Embassy 011-504-2238-5114 U.S. Embassy (after hours)