My name is Jake Ward, and I am a senior biology major from Hingham, Massachusetts. In my free time I enjoy outdoor activities, such as fishing and hiking. I also enjoy playing basketball and golf. I am currently in the process of applying to dental school and would love to someday become a general dentist. Interning for the MAS was an opportunity to share my experiences, and use my previous skills such as tutoring to help the UMASS community. Although my schedule didn’t allow me participate in such outreach programs as Project Engage, I was presented with the opportunity to help organize events, and blog for MAS, and I jumped on it!
Tomorrow morning I will leave on my second annual trip to Honduras, which is located in Central America due north of Nicaragua. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am!
I travel with an organization named Cape CARES, which is a nonprofit organization that offers relief efforts in Central America. In 2010, The Global Health Task Force of the U.S. Summit and Initiative for Global Citizen Diplomacy selected Cape CARES (Central American Relief Efforts), as a Best Practice of global health.
Thanks to my aunt, Dr. Nancy Sutera, who’s a dentist, I was presented with the opportunity to accompany her, three other dentists, an oral surgeon, dental hygienists, a pharmacist and a team of doctors to Los Encinitos, Honduras last year. In Honduras I worked as an assistant to my aunt. It was one of the most eye opening experiences of my life. Honduras, the second poorest country in the Americas, does not have an acceptable health care system for its citizens. When we landed in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, our team received a police escort through the city and onto a dirt road into the mountains. The dirt roads were quite precarious, completely unpaved, and in and out of turns and hills. It was a scary, bumpy two hour trip until we reached an old orphanage in the middle of the mountains. There on our first night we would set up shop in two old rooms using ancient portable dental equipment, and a generator for power when the unreliable electricity would shut off.
Over the next six days I not only learned things about myself, but about the world. Now on my second trip I have better idea of what life is like in Honduras, and how fortunate we are for the many luxuries we take for granted. My second time around, I will not be distracted by unseen surroundings. I will share my thoughts and experience with you.
If you’re interested, check out photos from Los Encinitos can be found at the following website via the Cape CARES website: http://www.capecares.org/PPhotosLosEncinitos.html.