The sixteen volunteers who made up the VOSH team to Honduras in March have participated in a whopping 277 missions all combined. Of the sixteen, there were seven first timers. Therefore, the phrase “VOSH Veteran” is a huge understatement for the rest of the group.
The arrangements for this mission were part of a medical mission organized by the NE ELCA Synod of Minnesota. Talanga is in a poor area, a town with just one paved street. It is a farming region with some industry. This was the first eye care mission that anyone there could remember, although the medical team had been there a number of times. The VOSH team worked in one spot for a few days while the medical group worked at another, and then the groups switched locations. Housing at the work sites was at a small hotel – fairly new and nice but lacking hot water.
The eyeglasses had been shipped via a cargo container which left Minnesota in early December and arrived in Honduras in January but did not arrive in Talanga until late on the first work day. Fortunately, Laurie had also sent about 500 pairs of glasses via UPS and they were able to get by with that supply on the first day. The group served about 1500 people in three full and two half days.
Each mission has some particularly memorable patients. One that Laurie recalled from this trip was the 36 year old woman who had never had eyeglasses and needed an Rx of -17.00! They provided her with -14.00 spectacles at that time, which she put on immediately, and she came back the next day wearing them. Another pair was made for her in the full Rx and sent down later.
After a few days of hard work, the team enjoyed some great weather and snorkeling on the island of Roatan which is off the Caribbean coast.
Team members for this mission were: Laurie and Ken Baalson (trip leaders), Angela Duchene, Dr. Jim and Margie Hess, Dr. Mike and Carrie Marvin, Robert and Shirley Merriam, Warren and Beverly Nordley, Dr. Al and Joan Paymar, Robert and Edie Quam, and Kirk Thomas.