Project Honduras: Using Hypnosis to Improve Lives
By Jessica Hodge (Student)
Last Month, I had the privilege of participating in a mission trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras with my husband Tim and youngest son Owen (age 13). Truthfully, I was nervous to go on this trip. Reading the travel advisory from the State Department discouraging travel to this Central American country didn’t help my nerves. I wasn’t very excited to go. Fortunately, the day before leaving, I had my NLP class and Marla asked me to share about the mission trip. The more I spoke about Project Honduras and its purpose, the more excited I became. It also helped to hear my fellow classmates all say that they wanted to go and if it were possible they would go with me the next day. Now I was definitely feeling more pumped to go and serve.
The next day, fellow Honduran volunteers greeted us with “WELCOME” signs and with so many hugs and thank-yous for coming. Our Honduran peers then walked us to our bus where we were met by military security that would accompany us throughout our stay in their Country; extra precaution that put the Americans at ease.
Our first day of service was in the town of Guajire. The volunteers along with the medical and dental brigade met the people at the village school. We came equipped with pharmaceuticals; water purification systems for their homes and schools, arts and crafts for kids, and repair equipment and paint for the schools.
The poverty was everywhere. We witnessed dilapidated schools and homes; villagers wearing tattered and overused clothing, conjunctivitis, skin infections, rotten teeth…so many needs. We immediately set up our stations and got to work. The water filter crew taught families how to use the filters and went to houses miles away to help set them up. The families were asked to pay however much they could pay whether a few cents or with cabbages. The mission is to help them learn to invest in themselves.
My first area to serve was in the pharmacy giving kids anti-parasite medicine in liquid form. The children had been suffering from chronic diarrhea, and parasites were suspected. When this task was completed, I noticed the line of patients waiting to meet with the dentists. Kids were crying and adults were nervously fidgeting as they heard the screams from the other patients being treated in the chair. I went over to see if I could somehow help calm the patients. With the first patient, I told her to close her eyes and breathe with me. I began to have her visualize herself relaxing in a hammock on the beach, no care in the world, no work and no problems; drinking a Pina Colada, and she started laughing. I asked, “You’ve never been to the beach?” “No”, she said. Whether she knew the experience or not, it didn’t matter. She was laughing and now at ease while having a multiple tooth extraction.
For the children patients, I found that simply having them breathe and visualize themselves playing soccer with friends and then cooling off under a tree drinking an ice cold Coca Cola worked well. Their stiff shoulders, soon relaxed.
One patient, Daisy, a beautiful 18 year old, who had never brushed her teeth, had a mouth full of rotten teeth. Every tooth had to be extracted except the bottom five. Knowing false teeth are probably never going to be an option for her; Daisy was overwhelmed; so I simply massaged her arms and did some EFT tapping on her fingers and hands. She seemed more at ease. For me, it was amazing to see how working with the dental patients came easily to me as a lot of what I’ve learned in my hypnotherapy classes came out.
My other memorable experience was visiting the public hospital in Tegucigalpa. The hospital is known to be “the place where the poor go to die”. I was scared and didn’t know what to expect. My group of volunteers was directed to go to labor and delivery. We were to visit patients and offer gifts of diapers, ones-ies for the babies and flip flops to the mothers. The first room we entered had 24 new moms and their babies. There were three moms and babies to a twin sized bed. The moms, mostly teens, were so happy to see us and grateful for the gifts and that we had come to spend time with them. After visiting and moving on, I saw a very young lady who was alone and in active labor. Writhing in pain and grasping the rails for dear life, I left the group and went to her. I began breathing with her as I massaged her arms and hands trying to relax her. I repeated positive and encouraging suggestions as she breathed. “You’re strong, valiant, already such a good mother”. She just smiled. So grateful I believe, for the company and kindness. I stayed as long as I could; kissed her on the cheek and said, “You are amazing”… I will never forget her face and the smile she gave me. My heart was full.
The Honduran dentists commented how much easier it was to work since the patients were able to relax and help the process.
Going to Honduras was a mission trip where I planned to serve wherever I was needed. I did not have the intention to use the hypnotherapy or Energy Psychology techniques that I had learned in my classes at the Motivational Institute of Hypnotherapy these last few months. It was a different culture, country, language and it didn’t seem appropriate to me for all these reasons. However, it didn’t take long to realize that all I’ve learned could be applied in so many different situations we were confronting. In a country with so much need and despair, my training was beyond useful and brought comfort to many. The Honduran dentists were so intrigued with what I was doing and commented to the leaders how helpful it was to have me there as they worked since the patients were able to relax and help the process.
I am so grateful for the training I have received and I am so excited to learn even more techniques in my upcoming classes and to use these skills here in San Diego, Central America and Beyond!
Jessica Hodge is a wife and mother to four children. She has spent the majority of the last 22 years taking care of her family. Recently, she started taking classes at the Motivational Institute of Hypnotherapy and is excited to pursue a career in Hypnotherapy where she can incorporate her maternal background with her desire to assist others in healing so they may live life to the fullest.
“I became less worried about me and started helping people more.”
~ Owen Hodge (age 13)