Snyder-Scipio Trades Helmet & Pads for Scrubs During Mission Trip to Honduras

Snyder-Scipio Trades Helmet & Pads for Scrubs During Mission Trip to Honduras

BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- Moravian College wide receiver and rising senior nursing student Jalen Snyder-Scipio traded in his helmet and shoulder pads this spring for some scrubs as he took part in Moravian's Global Health elective course that included a mission trip to Honduras.

Over the semester, the students enrolled in the Global Health course learned about different health disparities that affect populations globally including things such as socioeconomic status, political structure, availability of resources, etc. The class also looked at major health problems across the globe including parasitic infections, malnutrition, communicable disease, clean water and sanitation issues, amongst many others. The students learned about all of these issues both globally and in Honduras. Much of the semester was spent looking at the distribution of healthcare, disparities in healthcare, comparing healthcare systems and outcomes, and how culture can affect all of these things.

Part of the course was a seven-day trip to Honduras during Moravian's Spring Break in early March. Snyder-Scipio documented the trip by video and submitted a review as part of his final project for the semester. 

Snyder-Scipio's final project video on trip to Honduras.

Preparation for the trip included the students receiving multiple vaccinations including typhoid fever, hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, and malarone medication to prevent malaria. The cost of the trip was around $1,700 and this cost included the roundtrip airfare. All of the students in the course had the opportunity to fundraise money to assist in the cost. Snyder-Scipio chose to send out a letter to his family and friends requesting aid, which was well received and eventually covered the entire cost of the trip, which he thanks everyone who donated.

"I'm so grateful to have had this opportunity and I thank everyone who supported me and donated to make this possible," Snyder-Scipio said. "This trip was a once in a lifetime experience and during those seven days I learned so many things that you won't find in a textbook."

The students in the class were required to attend on information orientation held in Perkiomenville to overview the entire trip, rules, regulations, and tips. Also, the class collected donation such as hygiene products, dental products, baby clothing, adult clothing, etc. to donate to the villages they visited. Moravian's men's and women's soccer teams also donated old jerseys and balls. The group headed to Honduras with large suitcases filled with donations which counted as their one free bag at the airport. The students then filled their one free carry-on bag with clothing to wear during the trip.

Once arriving in Honduras, the Global Health students worked in congruence with the MAMA (Mujeres Amigas {Women Friends} Miles Award) project which is a non-profit organization based in Pennsburg, Pennsylvania that focuses on disparities regarding women and children. MAMA's mission statement is "to be a network to promote health and wholeness working through partnerships on many levels both national and international, involving many sectors of society both public and private, joining forces to deal with problems that rob children of their chance to experience 'Shalom'." The group stayed in their Hacienda which was located in Cortes Honduras.

The students and two Moravian nursing faculty members were able to travel to four different villages, a maternity hospital, a waterfall, and do a small amount of exploring the Honduran culture at a flea market. When the group went to the villages, they would set up their medical brigade. These brigades consisted of stations such as blood pressure screening, height & weight, hemoglobin checks, Vitamin A distribution, deworming pill distribution, donation distribution, and a pharmacy. Each student and professor would choose a station to work at for the day, and they would be assisted with communication and documentation by staff member of MAMA. There was also a doctor present to see more seriously ill patients and a dentist to tend to patients with dental issues.

"You can read about poverty, malnutrition, and hunger in a book or see a commercial on TV, but when you witness it firsthand you truly do find a calling to do what you can to help," commented Snyder-Scipio. "Seeing a way of life such as this that differs from your own gives way to a lot of reflection. I think this experience has opened my eyes to what is important and what it means to be grateful."

Over the course of the entire week, the total number of people the Moravian students gave aid to was 889 people. A normal day was waking up around 6:30-7:00 a.m. with breakfast. The group would leave for the village around 7:30, and the villages varied from one to two hours away. Once they arrived, the students and faculty members would set up the brigade and have a brief orientation and speech to the villagers to explain how it was going to work. They would run the brigades until around 11:30 a.m.-noon at which time they would have lunch. After lunch, the Moravian students would run the brigades for another hour and then have until 3:30 p.m.to play soccer, color, paint nails, and interact with the villagers. They would return to the hacienda and have dinner around 6:00 p.m. followed by a reflection of the day. The group finished the day with free time in which they could write journals and play board games until bed time.

"Playing soccer with the kids was probably the most memorable part, and I can't thank the Greyhound men's and women's soccer teams enough for their donations," stated Snyder-Scipio. "Anyone was welcome to play and that included all ages, genders, the construction workers walking home, the teacher, and anyone who wanted to partake. It was the most fun I've had in a while and I don't think anyone stopped smiling the whole game. I held my own until I went in goal. I stood no chance there."

Snyder-Scipio, who has a GPA over 3.75 as a nursing major at Moravian, will be back for his final season on the gridiron this fall. He enters his senior season third in the Greyhounds' record book with 132 receptions, just nine shy of breaking the school record, and Snyder-Scipio is eighth all-time with 1,482 receiving yards and tied for sixth with 13 career touchdown receptions, six shy of breaking that school mark. Last fall, Snyder-Scipio was named to the Centennial All-Conference Second Team, the Centennial Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll and the Centennial All-Academic Team.

Snyder-Scipio and his Greyhound teammates are slated to kick off the 2016 season on Saturday, September 3 when the squad hosts King's College in a non-conference game at Rocco Calvo Field beginning at 1:00 p.m.