Pandemic & Hurricanes

When you hear 2020 I’m sure your mind automatically reflects on a year of uncertainties and challenges. The same goes for here in Honduras. In March 2020 Honduras closed its borders to travel due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It happened quickly and many didn’t have time to prepare for a complete shutdown. At the time of the shutdown we had volunteers here who needed to get back to the states, but they were “stuck” waiting on a flight to evacuate them. All airlines shut down, airports were closed, and the uncertainty set it. We did know, however, that we could survive for weeks on the amount of peanut butter we had at the dorm! Eventually, a few select flights were allowed to fly in with the purpose of repatriating U.S. citizens and our volunteers made it safely back to their homes. Essential businesses were reopened after a few weeks and people were able to buy provisions.  

As the lockdown continued, our scheduled teams began to cancel which meant our pharmacy wasn’t restocked with the medicine they normally bring every year. The teams had already purchased what we needed, but with borders closed it was stuck in the U.S. As the year went on we began to run out of vital medications for diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes. We looked into many different options for getting the medicine here, but nothing seemed to work out. Thankfully, the airports reopened in August and we were able to make a quick flight back to the states for the sole purpose of collecting the medications to restock the pharmacy. 

The number of covid cases in Honduras rose steadily, but we here at the Jungle Hospital only saw a handful of suspected cases. Dr. Martin began receiving phone calls from nurses and doctors in the city asking for masks and personal protective equipment due to a lack of supply. As we dug through our storage container, we found a stock of N95 masks, gloves, and gowns that we were able to donate to the head nurses and a few doctors at the regional hospital in La Ceiba.

Shortly after things seemed to get back to “normal,” the country was devastated by not one, but two catastrophic hurricanes within two weeks. The hospital was spared any major damage, as well as the new land that is currently being fenced for the expansion project and family houses.  Lots of new leaks in the roofs, but with buckets and towels we averted substantial damage.  Our road up the mountain however did suffer major damage with numerous landslides and large sections of the road completely taken by the river.  The bridge just a few minutes past the hospital was compromised as well. The river became so big that it took a huge portion of the land at the end of the bridge, and the bridge connected to nothing. When the waters receded the river diverted to the new side and it was DRY under the bridge! Since the storms hit, there have been machines working to redivert the river and force the water to go under the bridge. Other areas of the country were hit much harder than we were and the devastation is overwhelming. We are also overwhelmed with thankfulness to God for His protection of our area! Please continue to pray for Honduras as thousands of people recover from these storms.