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Medical Assistant Students Travel to Honduras for Humanitarian Efforts

Three LDS Business College students returned from Honduras last week following a week-long humanitarian trip.

Nahum Shin Catala, Fatima Herrera and Heidi Turner, all students in the Medical Assistant program, traveled with a group of Khish Project Vision optometrists to assist in various eye operations.

“I learned a lot about hard skills,” Catala said. “I learned about how the eye works and why the surgeries were needed and worked. We were just able to help with a tiny thing – their eyes – but it was so rewarding. It was a spiritual and emotional thing for me to be down there to meet the people and learn about their lives.”

The group worked 12-hour days, assisting with whatever the optometrists needed. There were two main operations the students helped with – one for cataracts and one for pterygium.

“I learned a lot about having courage with my own abilities,” Turner said. “I was very intimidated about this whole idea of heading down to Honduras to help out.

“In class, we constantly have this question in the back of our minds, wondering if we’re good enough to do this outside of the classroom. If I do make a mistake in class, someone will come in and fix it for me. When I get out in the field and there’s no one there watching me, can I really do this? Am I really capable? So, being able to go out there on my own and actually fix things helped me see that I can go out there and meet those challenges.”

The group of surgeons had a goal to reach 300 surgeries in the week they were there. In three days, they had exceeded the number of surgeries they had done in their entire trip the year before.

“I would recommend this kind of a trip to anyone,” Herrera said. “I think it really helps you build character. It helps you define yourself. It kind of healed me in a way I didn’t know I needed.

“The people thanking you was so amazing. Apart from that, there was a feeling of gratitude the Savior helped me feel for going. It felt like the Savior was saying, ‘Thank you for coming. Thank you for helping my other flock.’”

The group of students agreed that the classes they took at LDS Business College helped prepare them to be so beneficial to the doctors and patients on the trip.

“I think the best part about LDS Business College is that there’s just so many different walks of life attending this school – culturally and age-wise,” Turner said. “Coming from a completely different background and age, I felt completely comfortable talking with someone who was way older than me and had a completely different lifestyle from me. I wasn’t intimidated by that difference between us. I loved that difference.”

Khish Project Vision loved having the knowledgeable LDS Business College students helping out this year.

“They were really, really happy to have us here,” Catala said. “Sometimes they have volunteers who don’t know anything about the medical profession, and they make mistakes throughout the entire process. We were told this group was the best they’ve ever had. They really appreciated having students there with a medical background. They absolutely want LDS Business College to send more students in the future.”

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