Community Health Rural Honduras

The truck carrying the health team heads out of town at 7 a.m. It will be two hours, at least, before they arrive at the little mountain church under the ceiba tree. Mass is a real celebration. It is a big day for the community having Father Enemecio Del Cid with them. The women have prepared a communal lunch, which will be taken outdoors.

First comes the health education. There are loads of issues to be worked through by the seventeen health committees around this vast parish. AIDS is one of them; water-borne diseases another. Lack of water. Lack of a sewerage infrastructure. Domestic violence including abuse of children.

Sister Renée says: ‘We do a lot of group work to try to improve self-esteem. We believe this contributes to improved health in the community. We teach people how to do reflexology and massage. People love this. They tell us it helps them to cope with the huge amount of stress in their lives.

‘We give workshops on self-esteem, adolescent psychology, HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, pastoral care of the sick, natural medicines and management of home pharmacies.

'We use visualization, helping the group to get in touch with their inner wisdom figure, helping them to realize their gifts. We make paper cut-outs of fruits. On these, people can write  the gifts they bring to their community. Then we put all the fruits on a Tree. This helps to build awareness and respect in the community.’

By 3 p.m. it is time for the team to begin packing up the truck for the long trek back to Choloma. We need to get back before darkness falls. With drugs and gangs, Choloma is a dangerous place to live. There the same issues have to be faced as those discussed in the mountains, only somehow, in the urban context the problem can be even more difficult to overcome.