TICONDEROGA - A group of nurses from North Country Community College's Ticonderoga campus recently visited Honduras to give their talents to the poor. They came home enriched themselves.
"It was a life-changing experience," said Amy Russell. "There was something about the trip I can't put a finger on, but I feel better about my life."
Russell, a registered nurse and a clinical instructor in the NCCC nursing program in Ticonderoga, made the trip along with Jeff Subra, Kristi Mars and Mary Ciku, licensed practical nurses enrolled in the RN program at the college.
"It really gives you an appreciation for what you have," Subra said. "It's so neat to be from a small community and feel you've made a difference in someone's world."
Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere, with about 65 percent of the population living in poverty. The average income is about $26 a month.
The Ticonderoga contingent went to Honduras with Global Brigades, a student-led global health and sustainable development organization. Global Brigades mobilizes college students and professionals through skill-based service programs to improve quality of life in poor communities. Groups work in the areas of health care, dental care, public health, environment, architecture, law, business, finance and water development.
The NCCC group was teamed with students from the University of Southern Illinois Medical School. The group, which included doctors, physician assistants and nurses, treated more than 150 people a day in the communities of Los Animas and Guancasta March 26 to April 1.
"People walked for hours just to reach the clinic," Russell said. "We probably saw a total of 750 people in our four days."
A Global Brigade visits the communities every three to four months to provide needed care.
"We went into the communities, set up the clinic, did triage and referred people to the doctors," explained Subra, who made a similar trip in January. "We spent a lot of our time teaching people about things they could do to improve their health. There are a lot of water-borne illnesses, mostly because of lack of education."