Gehlen Catholic Mission Honduras
Medical Team Trip
On Wednesday, January 18th, 2006, fifteen medical volunteers from throughout the
United States left for central Honduras and a medical mission that would last
nine days, and touch the lives of many native Hondurans. They were met in
Honduras by an entire group of native Hondurans that would assist them in their
mission. (Click here to go directly to the
Whatever your hand finds to do,
do it with all your might.
Warren Steinbrueck and Gene
Lydon work to fill prescriptions.
Warren Steinbrueck commented, “We didn’t change the world but we were able to positively affect the
lives of those we saw. This experience adds a whole new vision to the meaning of
life. A spiritually rewarding mission with a group of the best people you could
Each year Gehlen Catholic High School, Le Mars, Iowa, sponsors this medical mission to the ‘Hurricane
Mitch’ ravaged areas of central Honduras. It is seven years since
Hurricane Mitch literally destroyed the small country of Honduras and much of
the country’s infrastructure. It is still in great disrepair and health
care is minimal at best in many of the outlying areas. The program from
Gehlen has successfully sent five straight medical teams during each January of
the past five years. Along with the high school and university teams that
go each year, Gehlen Catholic has placed 249 missioners on the ground in the
third poorest country in the western hemisphere.
others, we shall help ourselves,
for whatever good we give out completes
the circle and comes back to us.
~ Flora Edwards
View of mountainous Honduras,
the third poorest country in the western hemisphere
Along with the Gehlen
program, a not-for-profit foundation was established years ago to carry out aid
to the people in and around El Guante, Honduras. To date, Mission Honduras
has done many wonderful things from clinic construction, food programs, medicine
programs, and water projects. The organization continues to raise money
for the benefit of these wonderful people. For more information on MHL,
click this link:
Medical team 2006
pauses for a group photo
Be good Christians.... Only
by good example can you change the world.
This year's medical brigade
was composed of: Francis Seivert, team leader, Elkton, SD; Dr. Carlos Delgado,
Emory University, Atlanta, GA; Dr. David Goo, Emory University, Atlanta, GA; Dr.
Gary Carlton, Mercy Medical Center, Sioux City, IA; Warren Steinbrueck,
pharmacist, Le Mars, IA; Gene Lydon, pharmacist, Sioux City, IA; Richard
Hettinger, dentist, Sioux City, IA; Thomas Bjorge, dentist, Le Mars, IA; Diana
Betsworth, nurse, Merrill, IA; Susan Doyle, nurse-midwife, Atlanta, GA; Jessica
Sitzmann, nurse, Iowa City, IA; Sister Shirley Waldschmitt, interpreter, Sioux
City, IA; Julio Rivera, interpreter, Atlanta, GA; Micah Kiel, interpreter, Des
Moines, IA; Jesse Claeys, photojournalist, Sioux City Journal, Sioux City, IA;
Sister Fatima Carcamo, interpreter, Sulaco, Yoro, Honduras; Fausto,
interpreter/driver, El Guante, Honduras; Jorge, interpreter/driver, Sulaco,
Honduras; Angel, driver, El Guante, Honduras; David Castro, program assistant,
El Guante, Honduras; Tacha Alverado, pharmacy assistant/program assistant,
Esquias, Honduras; Dona Dilci, cook, El Guante, Honduras; Dona Amelia, laundry,
El Guante, Honduras; and program director, Richard Seivert, Gehlen Catholic High
School, Le Mars, IA.
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The greatest good you can do for another
is just not share your riches,
but reveal to them
Xicaque family in
traditional dress - waiting for
a medical consultation
this year's mission trip began last spring. An early decision was made to reduce
the trip from ten days to nine and not take a day off, as previous missions had
done. It was further decided that this team would double their time, from
a day and a half to three full days in the Montana de la Flor region working
with the Xicaque people. For a fuller explanation of the Xicaque people go
to the internet – you will find many fascinating things.
On arriving in Honduras our
team spent their first night in the mission church of San Rafael in El Guante.
There they prepared for the next seven working days. Day one found them in
clinic in Limones where they saw 173 villagers. From Limones they overnighted in
Sulaco, Honduras, on their way to Montana de la Flor. Early the second day they
arrived in Montana de la Flor and would overnight two nights in the mountains
and work three full days. Over the three working days in MDLF this medical team
saw 459 patients. They left the MDLF region the afternoon of the third day and
drove all the way back to the base camp in El Guante.
The best way to find yourself,
is to lose yourself in the
service of others.
Dr. Delgado visiting with some young patients
Carlos Delgado commented,
“One of the most remarkable things this year was to see how grateful some of the
Tolupan Indians were to see us back as we had promised. We were able to
develop a sense of trust to the point they were also encouraging other members
of the tribe to come down and let us examine and treat them. The Tolupan made
bead necklaces for us, symbolizing mutural friendship and respect.”
The very next day they set
up clinic in the village of Candelaria and saw 269 patients – returning to El
Guante in the late afternoon. Day six found the team on the road again to
the remote village of Zalitre where they helped 86 people and returned to base
camp in the late afternoon. The last working day of the mission the team drove
to Las Quebradas but discovered the village unprepared for their visit – a
breakdown in communication. We did take about an hour and a half,
distributed vitamins, soaps, shampoos, toys, etc. and, without insulting their
culture, drove back to our base camp, mission complete. In total, the
medical team saw 930 patients, 22% five years of age and younger. The dental
team saw 132 patients and extracted 379 teeth, which averaged out to 2.9 per
Throughout the entire
mission both teams saw a total of 1062 patients, 60% of whom were female and 40%
male. The pharmacists issued approximately 5,580 prescriptions.
||Waiting in line to see the doctors
traveled through every type of terrain to get medical treatment to those
who don't normally
have ready access to it.
What lies behind us
and what lies before us
are small matters
compared to what lies
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
The team remained fast and
mobile this mission using four Toyota
pickup trucks for transportation. During their seven working days this
general medicine team dealt with the following: cough and cold, diarrhea,
parasites, funguses, scabies, lice, hypertension, diabetes, respiratory
illnesses (asthma and pneumonias), urinary and vaginal problems, headaches,
total body pain, otitis media, significant malnutrition in Montana de la Flor,
strep throat, most indigenous women without prenatal care in the Montana de la
Flor, many nebulizer treatments, some injections. We saw a great many eye
problems due primarily to the burning of wood in the homes. We performed a
good number of ultrasounds right in the field and consulted with every known
pregnancy about health issues. The dentists pulled up to 15 teeth from one
patient. We saw many other health related issues from neurological ones to
heart. Our dental team did a great deal of oral hygiene education on each
patient seen. We had the able assistance of the Honduran dentist from El Guante
for two days and coupled with our translators they made a formidable educational
team. Our nurses checked blood pressure on all patients, temps on some, and gave
shots when necessary. They also gave ‘pip’ and mebendazole when necessary. We
treated a great many skin and varicose vein patients but not as many as in years
past. We did not see as many bad leg ulcers this year either.
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Dr. Tom Bjorge works on
a dental patient
Let us love,
not in word or speech,
but in truth and action.
~ 1 John 3:18
In a typical year, Gehlen
Catholic High School obtains free medicines from four different humanitarian
agencies to be used during international medical mission trips like this.
This year we were able to get all our medicines from MAP International,
Brunswick, Georgia, and purchase the rest right here in Le Mars.
All patients received soap,
shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, vitamins, parasite and pain medication along
with the prescription medicines ordered by the doctors.
The value of life
does not depend on the place we occupy.
It depends upon the way
we occupy that place.
~ St. Thérèse de Lisieux
|Vitamins and over the counter
medicines ready for distribution
The children in Montana de
la Flor: we have begun a data base for the next time we set up clinic. We
measured and weighed each child. We also collected a good deal of family
information on each with the hope that we can use it in the future.
We make a living
by what we get,
but we make a life
by what we give.
Dr. Goo takes a break to
pose with some of his patients.
Dr. David Goo commented,
“This year, as stated by Sister Fatima, the team was a ‘family.’ We worked,
learned, ate, slept, and took care of one another like brothers and sisters.
What we saw and did became a collective experience, shared by all, and changing
us one by one, together. Our mission was to seek the invisible, help the needy,
and bring our lives meaning and fulfillment. We accomplished all of that and
more. Giving is a gift.”
All villages chosen for
clinic this year were hand picked because of their lack of access to regular
medicine. They were very rural, remote, mountainous, and hard to access.
For example, the village of Zalitre: In Zalitre it takes a person 4 hours to
walk to the nearest clinic in Suyatel. To do this they leave at 2 A.M. to
get back before dark. They told us the standard practice is to carry all
children under three years of age while all those three years old and older must
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You really can change the world
if you care enough.
~Marian Wright Edelman
Dr. Gary Carlton poses
with an Xicaque man
Dr. Gary Carlton commented,
“I have seen progress in Honduras since my last visit two years ago, but the
problems are still the same - clean water, malnutrition, poverty, and
sanitation. It is rewarding to see the difference that has been made.”
Please click on the ‘photo
album icon’ below. It will open hundreds of pictures from this year's
mission trip for you to view.
The theme for this year's
medical mission trip was Faith. In our school we often use the following:
Sees the Invisible,
Believes the Impossible,
Achieves the Incredible.
This was an INCREDIBLE
mission trip. Our lives will be changed forever.
Thank you for viewing our
web site and thanks to all team members for having FAITH.
Also, please feel free to
contact us at the address below. We would love to hear from you.
Le Mars, Iowa 51031
Click above to browse the January 2006 Trip Photo Album...
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