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Global Brigades Pre-Departure Packet Johns Hopkins Medical/Dental Brigade January 13 th -19 th. 1. Brigades Def’n.: Passionate groups of volunteers mobilizing toward positive social change. About Global Brigades

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Global Brigades Pre-Departure Packet

Johns Hopkins Medical/Dental Brigade

January 13th-19th




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,” “FundacionBrigadasGlobales de Panama,” “Global Brigades Ghana,” are separate and independent legal entities.

Global Brigades Pre-Departure Packet | 2

table of contents

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
  • Personal Health Concerns
  • Packing List
  • 3. Brigade Details
  • Travel Itinerary
  • Travel Contact Information
  • Sample Brigade Itinerary
  • Data Informatics Information
  • 4. Contacts
  • Contacts in Honduras
  • US Contacts
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  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
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General Brigade Information

Table of contents

Global Brigades Pre-Departure Packet | 3



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 Brigades

Dental Brigades

Provides immediate, restorative and preventative dental services in rural communities without access to oral care otherwise. Dental health directly relates to the overall health of the patients we work with and it is vital that the community members have access to dental care as well as medical care.

Works with licensed medical professionals and community health workers to provide comprehensive health services in rural communities with limited access to healthcare.

Water Brigades

Public Health Brigades

Empowers communities to access sufficient clean water through infrastructural 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.

Empowers rural Honduran communities to prevent common illnesses through

in-home infrastructural development, community leader training, and health education. The infrastructure public health brigades builds, helps prevent some of the most common illnesses and promotes good hygiene.

Architecture Brigades

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. Microfinance brigades helps 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.

Collaborates with rural communities in Honduras to alleviate needs in health and education infrastructure through design and hands-on construction projects. The schools and health clinics that architecture brigades builds increases the communities access to education and health care.

Global Brigades Pre-Departure Packet | 6



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 Miraflores12 Av. Bloque 49, Casa 3715Frente a Convento Sagrada FamiliaTegucigalpa, Honduras

Reason for travel: Tourism

Flight number: ####

Global Brigades Pre-Departure Packet | 7




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.*
  • *please verify entry/exit requirements prior to travel
  • Photocopy of passport
  • $39 for exit fee
  • Prescription medications
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Scrubs
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Light clothing (long pants, t-shirts, shorts)
  • Long pants for sleepwear recommended
  • No shorts or tank-tops in the community
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Snacks
  • Shower shoes
  • Rain jacket
  • Hand sanitizer/wet wipes
  • Water bottle
  • Expendable funds (small bills preferred)
  • Small daypack to bring on brigades
  • Ziploc bags/plastic bags to keep things dry
  • Camera
  • Alarm clock
  • Notebook
  • Computer for Data Informatics (with Firefox or Chrome downloaded!)

Global Brigades Pre-Departure Packet | 8

personal health concerns


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

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 pre-existing 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 If anything has changed, please e-mail your program advisor as soon as possible.



Travel Itinerary


NOTE: Only shows largestgroupflight. PleaseaskChapterPresidentaboutyouritineraryifyouhad a personal deviationfromthegroup.


If a volunteer cancels before departure, contact your Advisor immediately. Should the cancellation occur just before departure or during non-work hours, please follow the process below.

Travel Contact Information:

If you have any last minute volunteer cancellations, please be sure to let your Advisor know. Additionally, in the event that your flight is delayed or cancelled, please contact the Global Brigades Travel Director, Danielle Starry, during business hours at 330-605-3576. If the change occurs after hours, please follow this process:

After hours support line for emergencies while traveling is 800-787-0335. This after-hours support line is from 9pm EST to 8am EST Monday-Friday. Then, all day on the weekends (12am Saturday thru Monday at 8am). Fly For Good charges a $50 fee to use this service – to avoid travel emergencies make sure to adhere to passport, visa and baggage guidelines

There is a $50 charged for the following circumstances:

The volunteer cancels/reschedules ticket because passport or visa requirements not met

The volunteer cancels due to any circumstances within their control (ex: did not arrive to the airport on time to board flight, etc.)

NON-EMERGENCIES should go to Danielle (Travel Director) via email ( OR wait until the following morning to call.

At the airport you will be greeted by your Brigade Coordinators who will be wearing Global Brigades attire. You will then driven by bus from the airport and go directly to the compound where you will be staying.

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Program Information


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


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 community
  • 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 Grace Goryoka, Data Informatics Program Lead, at

Global Brigades Pre-Departure Packet | 13




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:

Contacts in Honduras

Katie Mueller

Global Health Program Associate - Honduras

Cell: 011-504-9483-7565 (from the US)

Cell: 94-83-7565(from within Honduras)

Jenny Najera, Medical Program Lead

Cell: 011-504-9485-2432 (from the US)

Cell: 94-85-2432 (from within Honduras)

Enrique Rodríguez, Executive Director

011-504-99-70-9478 (from the US)

99-70-9478 (from within Honduras)

Contacts in the United States

Danielle Starry, GB Travel Director