A few short weeks ago we were hand delivering very special cargo, as the plane turned at an extreme angle into Tequcigalpa, Honduras, one of the world’s most dangerous airstrips, I hoped that we would land safely for this momentous occasion. When the plane safely met land, our group was thrilled, we would be able to deliver our medicines to a clinic in need and reach the $5 billion mark in medicines delivered by MAP International. We have delivered medicines and medical supplies for 60 years, to over 100 countries, impacting millions of people, but for me, this will be the most memorable shipment.
This team encompassed some of the best Georgia leaders to provide health, hope and a better way of life to people living in remote villages in Honduras. It’s not every day that we have the opportunity to not only see the lives changed by what we do, but to interact with the missionaries carrying out our life’s work. This was so much more than delivering our medicines to those in need, this was joining with the Atlanta community to change lives in Honduras through global health.
This week in Honduras was completely out of the norm for our typically journeys, and for that I am eternally grateful because it’s not every day that we get to see the full scope of how medicines change lives and how the leaders of Atlanta make a difference worldwide.
In Tequcigalpa we joined with Honduras Outreach Inc (HOI) based in Atlanta as well as The HAVE Foundation’s Wilderness Team, made up of mostly Atlanta Rotarians to make the 7 hour bus ride to the Agalta Valley.
The remote Agalta Valley has 50,000 inhabitants that HOI and HAVE partner with to improve their lives through education and health care. At MAP, we see the HOI clinic as the heart of the Agalta Valley community. We had the honor of bringing enough antibiotics from two Atlanta based pharmaceutical companies to last the clinic an entire year, as well as one of our Johnson & Johnson Medical Mission Packs that is packed with the best donated J&J products to treat a wide range of conditions. We were also pleased to see medical equipment from MedShare, another Atlanta based NGO in the Agalta Valley clinic.
Each morning, members of the community come mostly by foot or horseback to be seen by the clinics impressive Dr. German Jimenez and his nurses. One mother walked over 30 minutes through a river with her sick infant son to receive medical care, the HOI clinic is the only clinic in the Agalta Valley and it has a vast impact.
We were privileged to see hundreds of patients that week and each one left healthier than they arrived because of proper medical care. On day 2, I was standing in front of the clinic staring down the long road that leads each patient there, watching a woman ride slowly towards me on a horse. It was only after she dismounted that I saw the young child seated behind her. Mary was 7 and had a difficult time dismounting the horse, she never removed her hood from her head even though it was a very warm morning. As she walked towards the clinic it was very apparent that she could barely stand, she was very sick. This sweet little girl had been throwing up for days, more than likely from a parasite and was dehydrated. The clinic treated her for the parasite and gave her Oral Rehydration Salts from MAP to rehydrate her.
The children at this clinic are much like our own, ear aches, coughs and simple infections that are easily treated with basic medicines. The problem is that medicines are not readily available in the Agalta Valley, unless you come to the HOI clinic. This clinic brightens the lives of the children in the community by providing them with medicines, medicines that can create a healthier happier life for a child with worms, a common cold or suffering from days of diarrhea. These medicines are so important to the world and the people that we serve.
On our final day in Honduras we were honored to have the President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez join MAP’s CEO, Steve Stirling in the Agalta Valley to receive MAP’s $5 billionth shipment of medicines and supplies delivered to over 100+ countries in 60 years. “We’ve gone from $4 billion to $5 billion in just 3 short years, so why can’t we go from $5 billion to $10 billion in less time?” says MAP CEO Steve Stirling. “Working through partners like HOI we can save even more lives.”