Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What Do Expats Do Beside Lie in a Hammock?

People ask what it is we expats do, besides lie in a hammock drinking rum punch from a coconut shell dressed up with a little umbrella.   Well,  my group  in Trujillo is  organizing a totally volunteer Emergency Response Team to mobilize in case of natural or man-made disasters. We have an amazing group of medical professionals, paramedical people, and volunteers.    We have an understanding with two local doctors, who will help when needed and who will act as liaison between the patient and the various hospitals and specialists who might be needed.  We are not connected to the government in any way. 

We are doing this, in part, in self-defense. You see, there is no Fire Rescue here, and calling the police is most often an exercise in futility. 

We are  in the organization phase, but we are already putting together a list of supplies we need; we have set up a telephone tree; and one of our members is in the process of setting up a basic first aid class, a basic CPR class, and IV maintenance class.  The first aid and CPR classes are self-explanatory. The IV class is so if someone needs to be transported to another city we can send someone in the ambulance who knows how to protect the IV.  Remember, there are no paramedics in Trujillo.

So, why am I telling you this?  Well, we are not the rich expats who live in gated communities with armed guards all around.  We are more the middle-class type, or the beach bum type, with not a lot of money, but a lot of talent that can be used.   We are making our own backboards and splints.  We are learning ways to improvise supplies to which me might not have access. We are considering whether or not we can purchase at least one first responder kit (we need three).  We need other basic supplies, like ambu bags, trauma scissors, bandages and other supplies that are difficult to find here in Honduras, but are discarded everyday in ERs everywhere.

To that end, dear readers, I am asking that those of you who have contacts within the medical field or in the business of medical supply, please ask around or ask if there is anything usable you can donate.  If so, let me know, and I will make the arrangements for shipping.   On your next visit to CVS, Walgreen's,  or Walmart, if you see something on sale, like the store brand of NeoSporin, burn gel, absorbent bandages,  sanitary pads, tampons, disposable diapers, etc.,  buy a package or two, and  help us get started.

Other things we do:  We volunteer with medical and dental brigades; we teach in the local private schools; we teach English; we mentor children.  And, some of us also find time to lie in a hammock with a cold drink and a good book, and soak up God's beauty.

We are blessed.
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