Volunteer Pre-Departure Packet

Global Brigades Pre-Departure Packet
Wayne State Medical/Public Health Brigade
AUG 2-11, 2014
Def’n.: Passionate groups of volunteers
mobilizing toward positive social change.
About Global Brigades
“Global Brigades” refers to one or more of Global Brigades Association, “Global
Brigades USA,” “Global Brigades ASG,” “Global Brigades Ireland,” or “Global
Brigades UK.” Each of "Global Brigades Association" “Global Brigades USA,”
“Global Brigades ASG,” “Global Brigades Ireland,” “Global Brigades UK,”
“Asociacion Global Brigadas de Honduras,” “Fundacion Brigadas Globales de
Panama,” “Global Brigades Ghana,” are separate and independent legal entities.
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General Brigade Information
1. Welcome to Honduras
Economic and Demographic background
Climate and Weather
A Brief History of Honduras
The Holistic Model
2. Travel
Safety Reminders
Upon your arrival
Customs Information
Packing Tips
Packing List
Travel Contact Information
Personal Health Concerns
3. Insurance Information
• General Information
• Type of Coverage
• Terms of Coverage
4. Brigade Details
On Your Brigade
The Public Health Program
Sample Brigade Itinerary
Data Informatics Information
5. Contacts
• Emergency Contact Information
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Economic and Demographic Background
Capital: Tegucigalpa
Area: 43,278 sq miles
Population: 7.9 million
GDP (PPP): $33.8 billion, $4,200 per capita
Ethnicities: Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European)
90%, Amerindian 7%, black 2%, white 1%
Religions: Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant 3%
Language: Spanish is the principal language and is spoken
throughout the country, although English is preferred in
the Bay Islands. Many indigenous people also speak their
own distinct languages
Average life expectancy: 70.5 years
Median age: 20.7 years
Literacy rate: 80% (percentage over age 15 that can read
and write)
National Flag: The national flag has three equal horizontal
bands: two blue, divided by one white. There are five
stars centered in the white band representing the
members of the former federal republic of Central
America: Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras
and Nicaragua.
Government: Democratic Constitutional Republic (Current
President: Porfirio Lobo Sosa)
Agriculture products: bananas, coffee, citrus, corn,
African palm, beef, timber, shrimp, tilapia, lobster
Industries: sugar, coffee, woven and knot apparel, wood
products, cigars
Cuisine: beans, tortillas, plantains, meat and cheese
Climate and Weather
Honduras has a variety of climate zones, ranging from tropical in the lowlands to more temperate in
the mountains. During the rainy season (May to November) the country experiences daily rain showers
and cool temperatures, falling to a low of 50°F at night. During the dry season however, the
temperature changes from cooler weather in December through early February, to very hot and humid
weather with temperatures reaching into 90°F from mid-February to April. Be sure to pack accordingly,
with clothes for hot, cool and rainy weather.
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A Brief History of Honduras
The earliest artifacts of Honduran culture have been dated to over 6,000 years ago. By about 3,000 years
ago, ancestors of the great Mayan culture of Honduras history had settled within the present-day country. At its
peak, around 200 to 800 CE, the Mayan culture stretched from the Yucatan Peninsula in modern Mexico rough
what are now Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. The Mayan culture of Honduras history left its mark in the Copan
Ruinas archaeological remnants of a great city that exerted influence over large swaths of Central America. Today,
Copan is one of the best-preserved Mayan cities and a popular destination for anyone on a vacation to Honduras.
For reasons lost to antiquity, the Mayan culture of Honduras history suffered sudden and tremendous
decline at the end of the first millennium CE. Although descendents of the Mayans survive in Honduras to this day,
the indigenous Honduras culture had completely collapsed by the time European explorers "discovered" Central
America. The north coast of present-day Honduras, near the modern city of Trujillo, was the site of the first
mainland New World landfall by Christopher Columbus in August 1502. He named the land Honduras (Spanish for
"depths"), after the deep waters off the coast. The years of Spanish conquest devastated indigenous Honduran
culture, as native Hondurans were indentured as slaves to work the rich gold and silver mines discovered in the
1530s. The indigenous peoples did not acquiesce willingly to their enslavement. In the late 1530s, Lempira, a
young chief from the Honduran Lenca tribe, led an army of thousands against the Spanish occupiers. Lempira's
brave resistance ended when he was tricked and murdered at peace talks, but his memory left its mark on
Honduran history. Today, the national currency is named Lempira, as are many Honduran towns.
Honduras remained a part of the vast Spanish New World empire until the early 19th century, and most
modern Hondurans can trace their ancestry to a combination of Spanish colonists, indigenous Americans, and
African slaves brought to work colonial mines. The British also left their mark on the history of Honduras and
Honduran culture, colonizing parts of the Mosquito Coast and the Bay Islands. English remains a widely spoken
language on the Bay Islands.
The modern history of Honduras began on September 15, 1821, when the country declared independence
from Spain. Honduras briefly joined the Mexican Empire before leaving to form the short-lived Federal Republic of
Central America, finally getting full independence in 1838. The history of Honduras since independence has been
marked by bitter struggles between liberals and conservatives, numerous military coups, rebellions, fixed
elections, foreign invasions, and meddling by U.S. governments and companies.
The introduction of banana farming in the late 19th century had profound ramifications for Honduran
culture. Banana companies, most prominently the United Fruit Company (now Chiquita) and the Standard Fruit
Company (now Dole), became extremely powerful within Honduras. Throughout the 20th century political,
environmental, and labor scandals associated with the banana companies marred the history of Honduras.
American writer O. Henry coined the term banana republic to describe Honduras. The Banana industry helped
support strong military rulers who supported their interests, like General Carias in the 1930s and 1940s and
Colonel Lopez Arellano in the 1960s and 1970s. The Banana companies spawned a powerful labor movement in
Honduras to improve conditions for fruit workers.
U.S. influence in Honduran affairs marked the 20th century history of Honduras, most prominently in the
1980s, when the Reagan administration helped prop up the democratic government as neighboring Central
American countries succumbed to communist insurrection. Honduras became a staging area for anti-Marxist
counter-revolutionaries and became entangled in the biggest U.S. political scandal of the 1980s, as the Reagan
administration trained and funded Nicaraguan and Salvadoran Contras in Honduras using money made from illegal
arm sales to Iran.
Today, Honduras remains one of the poorest countries in Latin America. A tourism boom since the early
1990s, with visitors attracted by the natural beauty of rainforests and ocean diving has helped revitalize the
country. The devastation of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 set Honduras back, killing about 5,600 people and causing
approximately $2 billion in damage, but Honduran culture remains proud and varied and the country's ecotourism
continues to attract visitors.
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Our holistic model will be discussed in detail during your brigade so please come with questions for your brigade
coordinator! One of our biggest goals is to provide holistic services to the communities that we work in. We provide a
range of services that all work together to significantly impact the lives of those we work with. Below is a description of
each of the 6 programs that are currently working in Honduras.
Medical and Dental Brigades
Public Health Brigades
Works with licensed medical
professionals and community
health workers to provide
comprehensive health services,
preventative dental services in
rural communities with limited
access to health care and oral
Water Brigades
Engineering Brigades
Empowers communities to
access sufficient clean water
development, water treatment,
community leader training, and
education. On the medical
brigade you will see that many
patients have parasitic infections
and other intestinal problems.
Water brigades helps prevent
these illnesses.
Microfinance and Business Brigades
Provides rural community members
a community banking system, with
access to loans, financial literacy
programs, and education to
increase production and foster a
culture of savings and growth.
families pay for 20% of the water
and public health projects so that
there is greater ownership over
these projects. The Business
program helps local economic
activities flourish, improving the
overall financial conditions of the
whole community by giving intense
counseling and financial training to
community members.
Empowers rural communities to
through in-home infrastructural
development, community leader
training, and health education.
The infrastructure public health
brigades builds helps prevent
some of common illnesses and
promotes good hygiene.
Empowers volunteers to work with
community members to provide
them with sustainable engineering
solutions to water issues, by
communities, and select feasible
infrastructural solutions. This limits
the consumption of contaminated
water, and cuts off the connection
between water and illness for
healthier lives.
Architecture Brigades
communities in Honduras to
alleviate needs in health and
through design and hands-on
schools and health clinics that
architecture brigades builds
increases the communities
access to education and health
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Safety Reminders
Although the security situation is stable, brigade members should take precautions against theft,
stick to well-traveled areas and be alert. Do not display unnecessary signs of affluence or carry large
sums of cash. You should not need to visit ATM machines during the brigade as all places you may be
visiting will accept US dollars.
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the
Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs' website, which contains current Travel Warnings and
Travel Alerts. Please also be aware that you should not drink the water. Clean drinking water will
always be available to you on brigades and you should bring a water bottle to refill. If you should come
across street vendors, it is not recommended that you purchase food or drink as they may not be made
with clean water.
Please also note that many of the animals you may come across on brigades are not healthy. For
your safety, do not touch animals, including dogs, on brigades. Please also be aware that the sun is
very strong in Honduras and it is recommended that you wear sunscreen throughout your brigade. At
night, please wear bug spray with at least 10% DEET in order to prevent bug bites.
Upon your arrival
Make sure you keep your passport and other important documents in a sealed plastic bag. You
must carry a photocopy of your passport at all times. You will be given the opportunity to put your
documents into a safe upon arrival to the compound. Upon your arrival at the airport, your Global
Brigades coordinator will be waiting for you right outside customs in a Global Brigades polo.
Your emergency contact will be notified by email of your safe arrival in Honduras. Most U.S.
cellular phones do not work in Honduras unless an international phone plan is pre-arranged. You may
not have access to the internet at any point during your brigade, so it is best to notify your family and
friends of this prior to your departure for Honduras. Explain to family and friends that after the safe
arrival e-mail we operate on a “No News is Good News” policy.
All transportation and lodging is provided. Global Brigades ensures that you are taken to and from
lodging, projects sites and any other brigade activities conveniently and safely. There will always be at
least one if not two adult advisors on each brigade. A trained Global Brigades Coordinator will lead the
week-long brigade. Trained drivers and security will also be accompanying students on each brigade.
Customs Information
Address in Honduras:
Colonia Miraflores
12 Av. Bloque 49, Casa 3715
Frente a Convento Sagrada Familia
Tegucigalpa, Honduras
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Reason for travel: Tourism
Packing Tips
• Honduras is hot, humid, and wet. When on community visits, whatever you wear may get wet,
muddy, and dirty– so don’t bring your favorite jeans.
• Leave hair dryers and most major electronics at home.
• Try to pack light. A large backpack or duffle bag should provide plenty of room for everything that
you need to bring. We recommend not checking any personal baggage to be sure that it won’t get
lost by the airline. If the airline loses baggage, Global Brigades is not liable for the contents.
• Personal Medicine: keep them in their original prescription bottles and always in your carry-on
luggage. We recommend only bringing the amount of medication necessary for the length of the
trip. Be sure to follow security guidelines if the medicines are liquids.
• Bring some plastic zip-lock bags to keep your personal belongings (e.g. camera, wallet) dry.
• Leave some room in your bag to bring presents home!
• Always carry a copy of your passport and other important documents on yourself.
Packing List
• Passport, Visas, Green Cards, etc.*
• Snacks
*please verify entry/exit requirements prior to travel
• Shower shoes
• Photocopy of passport
• Rain jacket
• $39 for exit fee
• Hand sanitizer/wet wipes
• Prescription medications
• Water bottle
• Insect repellent
• Expendable funds (small bills preferred)
• Sunscreen
• Small daypack to bring on brigades
• Scrubs
• Ziploc bags/plastic bags to keep things dry
• Comfortable shoes/tennis shoes/hiking boots
• Camera
• Clothes that can get dirty
• Alarm clock
• Light clothing (long pants, t-shirts, shorts)
• Notebook
• Long pants for sleepwear recommended
• Work gloves (highly recommended)
• No shorts or tank-tops in the community
• Computer for Data Informatics (with Firefox
• Hat
• Sunglasses
• Ear plugs
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or Chrome downloaded!)
• All education materials for charla
Travel Contact Information:
If you have any last minute volunteer cancellations, please be sure to let your Advisor and
Program Associate know. NON-EMERGENCIES should go to your Advisor and Program Associate
(PA) via email.
EMERGENCIES (flight is delayed or cancelled) can be directed to the Global Brigades International
office at 1-206-489-4798 or email [email protected] For after-hour support please
contact the on-call Advisor at 1-512-861-9184 (this number is for urgent matters only)
• If flight cancellations occur it is best to seek face-to-face assistance. If possible, go to the airport
and speak directly with the airline to get rescheduled asap.
• If the airline is cancelling flights, tell them you’d like them to book you on a different airline –
there should be no fee if the airline is responsible for the cancellation.
Numbers to Call
International Reservations: 888-674-9552
United Group Desk number is: 800-237-9524
Groups Desk - 877-359-4777
Groups Desk - 212-261-0470 ext: 149823
Groups Department: 866 954-4768
Groups Department : 800-221-2255
Groups Help: 800-433-1790
Groups Department: 800-337-4777
General Reservations: 800-221-1212
Groups Department: 888-212-2647
General Reservations: 800-400-8222
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions:
During the course of your Brigade trip, you may be required to participate in physically demanding activities,
particularly if you are participating on an Architecture, Water, or Public Health Brigade. Additionally, as you will be in
a foreign country, all students may be exposed to situational stressors associated with traveling to another country,
such as change in climate (heat, cold, sun, etc.), jetlag, language and cultural differences, unfamiliar foods, rocky and
rough terrain, etc.
Consequently, in order for Global Brigades staff to provide you with the safest environment possible so that you may
get the most out of your Brigade, we ask all volunteers to please complete a Pre-Existing Medical Condition
Questionnaire when signing up for a Brigade through empowered.org.
In short, a “pre-existing medical condition” includes any sickness or illness that has showed symptoms or has required
a medical consultation (even if it wasn’t diagnosed) or that you’ve been treated, hospitalized or prescribed
medication for.
If you did not fill out this survey, or if a medical condition has developed since you signed up on empowered. org,
please ask your Program Advisor for a copy of the questionnaire.
*Please note that the information on this form will be kept completely confidential, and will only be viewed by
select Global Brigades staff members. In order for us to provide you with the safest environment possible during
your Brigade, please make sure you answered the questions as honestly and completely as possible.
**Please note that the Core Travel Insurance provided to all students does not cover medical treatment that stems from preexisting medical conditions. However the plan does allow for up to $2,500.00 for emergency treatment relative to existing
medical conditions.
When signing up on empowered, all brigaders filled out health information regarding allergies. If you did not fill
this out, or if anything has changed, please e-mail your program advisor regarding these changes.
Dietary Restrictions
Global Brigades understands that individuals may have dietary restrictions while on a brigade. We will work with
our kitchen staff at the compounds you will be staying at to accommodate your request. Again, please look over
the information you filled out when registering for empowered.org. If anything has changed, please e-mail your
program advisor as soon as possible.
General Information
The Global Brigades Association works with the Core Travel Insurance Program for all of its
insurance coverages in Honduras, Panama, Ghana, and Nicaragua. Please see the information
below, and if you have any further questions, please ask your Chapter Advisor.
All volunteers may elect to purchase increased coverage amounts through our insurance broker Core
Travel. To do so, simply visit https://www.coretravelinsurance.com/login/ and log in using your name
and date of birth. For issues and further information, please contact Raul Casas,
[email protected] or Fiona Lally, [email protected]
Effective: May 15, 2014
Name Insured: Global Brigades, Inc.
Insurance Company: Europ Assistance
Eligibility: All Volunteers and Staff Members of the Participating Organization while travelling outside
of their home country on business or the Participating Organization. Insured persons can be covered
for a maximum of 12 consecutive months on any one trip.
Policy Number: BTAB-50382-371
Type of Coverage
•Medical Expenses $50,000
•Maximum - $200 Deductible
•Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation - $1,000,000
•Accidental Death & Dismemberment $10,000
•Paralysis or Permanent Disability $10,000 - Coma
•Emergency Dental $1,000 for injury/$250 for alleviation of pain
•Emergency Reunion $3,000
•Home Alteration & Vehicle Modification $5,000
•Rehabilitation $5,000
•Home Country $10,000
•Trip Cancellation $1,000
•Trip Interruption $3,000
Terms of Coverage
•Who is covered? All Volunteers and Staff Members of the Participating Organization while
traveling outside of their Home Country on business of the Participating Organization. Insured
persons can be covered for a maximum of 12 consecutive months on any one trip.
•Where is coverage provided? Provided worldwide outside of home country
•When is coverage provided? Dates of coverage: May 14, 2014 – May 15, 2015
•What is the deductible? Deductible payable by participant: $200.00 – Included in Program
Medical: Medical Brigades focuses primarily on health-related issues that communities currently face
due to limited access to health care and education. These issues are addressed by providing basic
health care via mobile medical clinics and through educational workshops. Communities are visited by
brigades about 4-6 months. Prior to the brigades, the in-country team works with community leaders
and volunteers to prepare them for the brigade and to outline their contribution to the brigade. To
maintain Global Brigades’ vision and mission of sustainability, the Community Health Worker and
Patient Referral Programs were established.
Dental: Dental Brigades focuses primarily on the oral issues that communities currently face due to
limited access to dental care and education through providing immediate dental care, preventative
treatments and education. In conjunction with the Medical program, brigades visit each community on
average every 4-6 months. During the time leading up to each brigade, the in-country team conducts a
community visit, which consists of meeting with community leaders and volunteers in order to both
prepare them for the upcoming brigade and simultaneously outline their contribution to the brigade.
On Your Brigade
Sort and pack medication for clinic days
Set up mobile clinics in rural school buildings
Take patient vitals
Participate in triage
Shadow physicians in consultations as well as in the
gynecology station
Shadow dentist and assist in sterilization of instruments
Conduct 10-15 minute children’s basic hygiene and
dental health charlas
Help fill prescriptions under the supervision of a
pharmacist and distribute medication
Input patient data into the Data Informatics system
Partake in nightly, educational reflections
Experience one of the four other programs through a
Holistic Model Day
The Public Health Program
The Challenges
Many communities in rural Honduras lack access to even
the most basic water and sanitation facilities. This forces
families to use contaminated water from rivers, lakes and
damaged water systems for drinking and cooking. They
often have no alternative to open defecation. These
practices lead to a high prevalence of preventable illnesses
such as intestinal parasites and skin infections.
The Public Health Program in Honduras works closely with
communities to implement long term, sustainable solutions to
the most common public health challenges. The Public Health
team works with community leaders to select and design
projects using local materials and appropriate technologies.
Once the project has been chosen and designed students work
alongside community members to complete construction while
providing education for proper usage.
Public Health Brigades
Once in country, volunteers will receive a comprehensive introduction to the specific health needs in
the community they will work in. Public Health volunteers can expect to work alongside local
technicians on a variety of projects, ranging from clean water recollection systems to latrines.
Volunteers will also facilitate public health workshops, or “charlas.” Our focus on education
empowers the community with the information necessary to take control of their own health and
also to maintain any implemented projects.
Sample Brigade Itinerary (times subject to change)
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Scribing for Data Informatics (DI)
What is DI?
•DI is an abbreviation for Data Informatics
•Data Informatics = Our system of electronic
medical records/ patient heath information
Why is DI important?
•DI helps Global Brigades measure short and
long term impact
•DI allows us to notice trends in certain
communities and areas of the country
•DI allows us to measure and compare how our other brigade programs affect the health of a
•DI allows us to track individual patients over time
•DI helps us in decision making regarding all programs and how and where to move forward
How will DI affect my brigade?
•Volunteers will be medical scribing for healthcare professional at the brigade site
•Volunteers will be able to receive data about the patients their brigade saw, diagnosed, and treated
•Throughout the brigade, volunteers will be medical scribing, as well as working in other stations within
the clinic
Is DI difficult?
•The scribing process is simple enough for everyone to learn.
•Volunteers will be trained in how to scribe by a Global Brigades staff member at the compound before
your clinical brigade days
What do I need to bring with me in order to help with DI?
•Each group needs to bring at least 7-10 laptops for scribing on their brigade
•Each volunteer that brings a computer needs to have either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox
downloaded on your computer before departure
•An open mind! Be ready to learn and have some fun (we love playing music, getting to know
one another and relaxing while scribing)
If you have any questions please contact Alejandro Ramirez, Data Informatics Program Lead, at
[email protected]
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Emergency Contact Information
Upon your arrival to Honduras, Global Brigades will notify the contact you identified on the roster, that
you have arrived safely. As a general rule, please express to your family and friends at home that “no
news is good news” as phone and internet are limited except for emergency situations. However, in the
event of an emergency, please contact the following:
Travel Emergency Number – Business Hours 1-206-489-4798 OR After Hours 1-512-861-9184
Contacts in Honduras
Jenny Najera, Medical Program Lead
[email protected]
Enrique Rodríguez, Executive Director
[email protected]
Katie Mueller
Global Health Program Associate - Honduras
[email protected]
Cell: 011-504-9483-7565 (from the US)
Cell: 94-83-7565(from within Honduras)

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