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2010: Ashley Hagauer

Honduras Veterinary and Public Health Mission Trip 2010

As a pre-veterinary student at Austin College on my first mission trip to Honduras, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Our group of 28 was from varied occupational and educational levels, including veterinarians, a pastor, teachers, ranchers and college students.  Though we were an eclectic group, we all came with the same goal to help both our fellow man and animals in His name.

Our base was in Siquatepeque, about three hours from San Pedro Sula. Although unsure at first, I felt quite connected to the entire group and was grateful that we started each morning with devotionals in the park where we could share our experience in fellowship and prepare for our day of service. 

Every morning we would travel to our work site in trucks.  We split up into three veterinary teams and two public health teams and, over the course of four days, we vaccinated over 4,000 animals and educated over 700 school-aged children. 

I was impressed by the beautiful mountains that we passed through to get to the villages.  People would come from miles around in order to care for their animals.  It was an amazing opportunity for hands-on experience and we worked in teams to vaccinate and de-worm animals quickly and safely.  Some interesting things I learned were how to properly restrain a foal, vaccinate a pig, and identify vampire bat bites on livestock.  

This mission program has been operating for 24 years and has become integrated into the lives of the people who live in the areas surrounding Siquatepeque.   They all knew we were coming and appreciated our work.  They were very proactive in helping their animals, getting pets and livestock to our facilities (which ranged from a soccer field to a chute on the very top of a mountain) and being hands-on while we worked with the animals. The fathers and older boys helped move not only their own cows and horses through the chute, but their neighbors’ as well.  As we would de-worm and vaccinate, a volunteer would spray the animal for parasites. The children were also involved and brought their pet cats and dogs. They were quite diligent and if a scared animal got away, they would chase it and bring it back.

The livestock we treated were each marked with a large pink cross.  What a sight it was to see herds of cattle, marked with a symbol of Christ as we drove across the countryside.

The public health teams spent time in local schools, teaching children through skits and activities about life skills such as protecting themselves from dehydration and how to brush their teeth. The children were receptive to the teams and were happy to share and play with the members. This year was an especially big year for the public health portion of the trip because it was the start of the Owen Project, which hopes to give a laptop computer to each child in Honduras starting with a school in Santa Rosita. This is an amazing opportunity that will help these students have access to the greater community