Mission in Honduras (The good that the military does that is not on the news)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

From 8-31 January I went with a team of optomologist to Choluteca, Honduras to do eye surgeries for the needy. People who are blind because of cataracts. Kids with crossed eyes. Adults with growths on their eyes because of the harsh sun down there. For the first week we screened 497 patients! I have never dilated so many eyes in my life. For the next 9 days we performed 247 surgical procedures. The people were extremely grateful. Older people were able to see their grandchildren for the first time. This was all done with the cooperation of the Honduran government and the US military. Is this ever reported on the news? Do most North Americans hear about this? No, unfortunately not. Please spread the word for me.

This is by far one of the most gratifying things that I have done in my 21 years of active duty in the AF. During our time there the local scout troop volunteered their time. These were 10-16 year old girls and boys volunteering their time to be with us helping their people. They spent all day (10 hours) with no complaints. Their love was unconditional. I cannot say enough about their helpful, loving, accepting attitudes throughout the 3 weeks. I hate to say it, and of course this does not apply to all, but the kids in the US could learn a lot of selfless giving of time from these kids.

One evening we took some food to some people right across the street from our hotel that we were staying in. These people barely had anything. Shelter and clothes (barely) was all they had. The kids were dirty, no electricity, no running water, made ya want to cry. I will never think that I don't have enough ever again. One guy who had surgery tried to give us his money. He pulled out 3 crumpled lempiras from his pocket trying to put it in the docs had. 3 lempiras is maybe equal to 5 cents American. I left my maid at the hotel all my shoes that I had brought (came back with flip flops) and a few shirts and she was extremely grateful. Imagine, I was just going to throw them away when I got back because they were "old".

So if you don't think you have enough, think about it. There are so many without. Be happy with what you have.

Peace be with you.
Picture is of all the scouts that helped during the 3 weeks. Also three kids in their home.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Nice post!
    1028 days ago
    Amazing story! thanks for sharing this. emoticon
    3980 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1181809
    Having lived in a 3rd world country for many of my growing up years I know first hand how MUCH we as Americans have compared to the rest of the world. Makes one truly grateful for all that we have. Thank you for sharing this are right, we hardly ever hear stories like this on the news...very sad!
    4009 days ago
    Thanks so much for sharing this story. It really made my morning. You are so right, we need to hear more of these stories in our media. So uplifting! Gives me faith in the human spirit.
    4009 days ago
    I am a military wife who has often been on mission trips and my younger sister will be doing a health/physical therapy internship in South America this summer; it sounds similar to the Honduras trip. I also see the good the military doesn't get credit for, and I am glad you blogged about it. Good luck with your second daughter getting used to college and in the job hunts.
    4346 days ago
    Ah, Wes, that's amazing. You must be SO happy to have participated in something as selfless as that. I know I would be.

    Thanks for sharing your story, and I'll spread the word for ya. You're so right, America NEEDS to see what our military is doing!

    Run on, brotha! :)

    (I'm planning to run for the first time since thanksgiving TODAY - wheeeee!!!)

    4399 days ago
    Wow, what a nice story for a change! Sounds like a very rewarding and busy experience! BTW, it made me think of my running store here in Miami. They have a shoe recycling program. Well, I always thought they literally recycled the shoes and turned them into playground mats and such. The woman at the store told me that they actually ship the shoes to Haiti where people wear them. So, these are shoes that we've run 300 - 500 miles in, then used to run errands before declaring them dead, and yet someone in Haiti is still thrilled to have them! Puts things in perspective!
    4405 days ago
    Thanks all. It was an awesome experience. Kobe - what you said about the basics reminded me. I wanted to send some of the scouts something when I got home so I asked them for their address. Most there do not have a mail box. There isn't even a postal service. I had no idea. For us that is just taken for granted.
    4405 days ago
    Wes---thank you so much for your serivce!!!! Your blog brought tears to my eyes and made me thanksful, once again, for the US Military!!!! Thank you, and all service men and women....

    Thank you fro making me realize all I have to grateful for!!!

    God Bless Wes!!!
    4405 days ago
    WOW - ditto everyone else's comments. My husband is from Laos and we went there in 2007 - HOLY COW!! I have always been pretty thankful but coming home from there was SUCH an awakening. Such a poor, 3rd world, communist country that people here only "read" about. The simple things that we take for granted like indoor plumbing, indoor kitchen a BATHROOM.

    Reading your post brings it all back - thank you!

    And thank you for what you do! emoticon
    4405 days ago
    Wes I can't say thank you enough for all the military does for us in both good and bad times. It warms my heart to see such acts of pure kindness and good. Thanks for sharing the story and be certain that it will be spread on - and I agree most of our children could learn a valuable lesson here. I appreciate all you do and all you stand for. THANKS!
    4405 days ago
  • TAMTAM64
    Wes - this is an amazing journey you have been on. Thank you for sharing it with us. I wish more people knew just how special our military really is. You have a true gift of compassion & a giving spirit.


    4405 days ago
    Thanks for sharing such an amazing experience!! It erally does put things into perspective.
    4406 days ago
  • no profile photo CD696706
    Wes what a wonderful post. thanks for sharing. gail
    4406 days ago
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