Public Health's mission is to empower rural Honduran
communities to prevent common illnesses through in-home
infrastructural development, community leader training, and
health education. Working side-by-side with community
members, volunteers improve the overall infrastructure within
the home through the construction of five projects: eco-stoves,
latrines, water storage units, showers, and concrete floors.
The five projects were chosen based on observations of
medical brigade patient records, which illustrated high levels
of respiratory, chagas and other preventable diseases caused
by poor in-home health infrastructure, as well as student input
and observations. Between brigades the in-country team
provides follow-up to ensure the maintenance of the structures
and work to find funding that will complement the health goals
of the community to perpetuate future construction.
Volunteers do not need prior experience in building to participate
in Public Health Brigades. Before the brigade, volunteers will be
provided with video tutorials and manuals on the building
techniques for the four projects and once on the ground, trained
brigade coordinators will train students on how to build each
type of project. Throughout the brigade, volunteers work
alongside the trained coordinators who will guide during the
Brigade Length & Logistics
The Public Health Brigade is for 7 days in Honduras. Interested Public Health Chapters will work with a Global Brigades Advisor to select their brigade dates and book their airfare through Global Brigades' travel partners. Each Chapter then fundraises for the program contribution and airfare needed for the brigade. Upon arrival in Honduras, Global Brigades staff pickup students from the airport and transport students to a safe and secure lodging facility where they will be lodged throughout the duration of the brigade. Each day volunteers and staff commute to and from the community to provide workshops and consulting. All meals, in-country transportation, coordinators, translators, and supplies are provided during the brigade.
Rutgers University, United States
"We went down to Honduras with our main focus to change and better the infrastructure and educate the communities on hygiene practice; however, it was the small things that you think wouldn’t make a difference which made the greatest impacts. For instance, while driving through the beautiful country, up mountains and thru clouds, we would see people and simply smile at them, or wave, or say “hola” and instantly you would see a huge smile appear on their face.
The people down in Honduras, specifically the families we worked with, were so loving, grateful, happy, and full of “esperanza”, hope. They have nothing compared to us here in the States and yet they seem so much happier and worry free and grateful for all they have. This helped me put my life into perspective and helped me introspect more on my priorities. Then, there was the GB staff, which was always full of spirit; they made our experience in Honduras one that we will never forget. It’s amazing how we came from two completely different lives and had this language barrier between us but still were able to build such strong relationships."
UC Irvine, United States
"This past March, I spent my spring break with UCI Public Health Brigades implementing construction projects alongside community members for three families in the rural community of El Canton. While our time in Honduras was short, we were building sustainable projects with the capacity to last for years to come, changing each family’s lives for the better through home infrastructure improvement and disease prevention.
Our families were the most genuine, good-hearted people I had ever met. Every day, they told us of how thankful they were for all our hard work and efforts. I remember the way the grandmother began to cry, repeating “Gracias, Gracias,” after we had finished construction. Thank you for helping build them an eco-stove, a latrine, a pila. A safe place where they can cook, a bathroom they could use in privacy, a clean source to store water. All things we never really pay attention to back home because it’s just an expectation to have. At despedida, I remember the grandfather described how he would never be able to repay us; that he and his family would be forever indebted to us for the sacrifices we made to help them. We told him rather that it’s us who will forever be indebted to him and his family for all the love and hospitality they showed us. Our little sacrifice of going there to help pales so much in comparison to the struggles they face and I don’t think they realize they teach us and give us so much more than we do in return.
It’s hard to put into words how much of an impact a brigade has on you. Yet I’ll always remember my family’s looks of excitement at the finished hygiene station, their overjoyed smiles when cooking over their eco-stove for the very first time, and the way the school children’s eyes lit up with pure happiness as we played games in the schoolyard during our education charla. I’ll always remember all the love and warmth that radiated from each of them as they welcomed us into their homes with open arms, growing closer throughout the week and learning more about Honduran culture despite the language barrier, and our tear filled goodbyes during despedida. After our farewells, I remember gathering around for pictures one last time, attempting to store and commit every sound, every detail to memory. I hoped all these moments would never slip from my grasp because I couldn’t imagine a time or place where so much love filled the room, where I had felt happier."
Mount Allison University, Canada
"My name is Daniela Fernandez, and I am the VP for Public Health Brigades at Mount Allison University, in New Brunswick, Canada. This is my 3rd year being involved with Global Brigades, and the first thing that I would tell anyone about GB, is that it has changed my life in unimaginable ways and steered my life in the direction I always dreamed of from a young age. Having grown up in a “developing” country myself, I have strong ties to the work that Global Brigades carries out in Latin America and Africa, and ever since I became involved with the organization, my desire to pursue a career in International Development has only grown stronger. It is hard to pinpoint exactly what my favourite part of being involved with GB is, but in general, the friendships I have established with both the staff, the families, and fellow Canadian students have been extremely rewarding.
In terms of specifics, some of my favourite memories include the group reflections back at the compound after a day of construction, because they allow us all to reflect critically upon the work that we carry out, and the causes and implications of the social situation of many of the families we’ve met along the way. Times like these are the ones that allow us all, regardless of our background and experience, to come together to understand our circumstances and work to change stigmas and inequalities. My education in geography and environmental studies, has definitely allowed me to look at this experience more critically, and to understand the impacts of my involvement in a more meaningful way. After graduating this year, I hope to pursue an internship with Global Brigades in order to gain field experience with an NGO that is close to my heart, and in a country that makes me feel like I’m at home, every time."