Global Medical Brigades Bring Aid to Honduran Communities
July 31, 2018
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The Illinois Wesleyan University Global Medical Brigades team provided health care to more than 700 people in need and made long-lasting sanitation
improvements in several communities during a recent trip to Honduras.
“The mutual compassion and care for people we had never met before was sublime, and
it was humbling to be welcomed into a different culture and assist in the betterment
of hundreds of people for things that are typically taken for granted in our country,”
said accounting major John Carroll ’18. “So many smiles and so much positivity were
exchanged, and I'm lucky to have had the opportunity to help create a tiny amount
of change and share love with so many amazing people.”
Twenty-four Illinois Wesleyan students traveled with three nurses and three other
volunteers to La Chichigua, Guanacaste, Los Terrones and Chandala, with projects there
ranging from organizing a mobile medical clinic to digging trenches for a water system
in a community without running water in over 30 years.
One of the most important aspects of participating in the Global Medical Brigades,
according to chapter president Keila Magafas ’18, is how their week of hard work in
early June will continue to make an impact for years to come.
“I love Global Brigades because they are dedicated to empowering communities through
their holistic model,” Magafas explained. “A medical brigade is simply one step in
A series of five Global Brigades, with more than 500 chapters worldwide, work to meet
the needs of developing communities on every level, by establishing health care and
sanitation as well as community-owned banking and economic development. Locals are
trained to build upon the brigaders’ work, leading to a self-sustaining and empowered
Throughout their work, the students made personal connections with the locals, even
staying in some families’ homes while building latrines.
“My heart is with this family, and this is a reminder that we have family in other
parts of the world that need a hand, yet have so much love to give,” said Mafagas.
This sentiment was shared by several other students who felt an outpouring of kindness
and gratitude during their stay.
The students also formed lasting bonds with each other as a result of their shared
commitment to improving people’s lives.
“Even though many students did not know each other prior to the trip, everyone worked
so well together,” said Magafas, who has been to Honduras with the Global Medical
Brigades three times as education chair, campus chairperson, and president. “During
our last day, we spent some time reflecting and saying goodbye to the staff members
of Global Brigades. Everyone shared their stories, and tears were shed that night.
I couldn't be any prouder of our group.”
Members of the group left Honduras just as profoundly impacted by the experience as
the people in the communities they had served.
“Although I went into the trip thinking of ways I would be able to contribute to a
developing country, I was more than surprised to find how much the people in the communities
have taught and given back to me in the simplest of ways,” shared business administration
major Sylvia Ho ’18.
“It was such a humbling experience that taught me empathy and to never take what you
have for granted. Once I am a licensed pharmacist, you can 100-percent count on me
to go back and give my time and efforts in helping communities that truly need my