Obies Using Languages: Jocie Sobieraj ’15{0}

Jocie is a fourth year Comparative American Studies major. Over Winter Term, she traveled to Honduras as part of a medical brigade with the group “Cape Cares”.

During the Winter Term of my senior year, I spent a week in San Lorenzo, Honduras as part of a medical brigade. My parents (who are both doctors) and I went with a group called Cape Cares, which is based out of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Cape Cares works with several health clinics and the clinic in San Lorenzo is the newest one. Our brigade included a dental hygienist, a pediatrician, a nurse, and two primary care doctors. Each day, from 8 am to 5 pm, we worked at the clinic, seeing hundreds of patients. It was very gratifying work– many of the people we saw were very sick. One illness that affects many patients in San Lorenzo is a mosquito-born illness, called chikungunya, which consists of joint pain that resides for up to two years after the initial illness. I quickly became in charge of the pharmacy and learned many new vocabulary words in Spanish. The last two days at the clinic, I sat with my mom and helped translate.

After studying abroad in Chile last spring with CIEE in Valparaiso, I was excited for any chance to speak Spanish. Honduras is a very unique place to visit because it is so poor and there are essentially no tourist attractions. Most of the Americans I met were on missionary trips. One of my main struggles currently is figuring out how service work can be meaningful, and I strongly believe that medical help is one of the few straight-forward ways to help a community. Although I am not interested currently in pursuing a profession in medicine, my trip to Honduras was a meaningful and humbling experience.