Mike, Seating Tech II, based out of the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Maryland, was asked to join the Organization for Community Health Outreach (Ocho), which is a traveling “brigade” of therapists and volunteers who have made a yearly trip to Altima, Honduras since 1999.
During his first trip, Mike worked with the surrounding population. All of the equipment was donated and shipped by freight container, which meant it frequently needed significant adjustments or modifications to meet the needs of the clients. This involved customizing several chairs by cutting, chopping and drilling, as well as mixing and matching what was on hand to make something that would work for the pediatric clients.
Not only were Mike’s skills used to craft positioning needs, he was also instrumental in constructing two double-sided ramps with platforms to make all the doors of the rehab center fully accessible. During his time there, he worked with two local young men who were being trained as techs for the rehab and health clinic Ocho built. The team strives to train people in the community to operate these facilities. The focus is on sustainability and how the program can succeed the other 51 weeks of the year after the mission team heads home.
Mike said, “For those considering getting involved in something similar, I wholeheartedly recommend it. It was an experience I will never forget. My only advice would be to find a solid organization and pack your flexibility. You never know what you might find.”