Mission Moment ~ Chris Zawacki

My name is Chris and I worked for Dr. Gibson, the CHHF founder, for over 25 years. I made my first trip to serve in Limón in 1996. I have many wonderful memories from all my missions. One which always bring back a whole range of emotions happened early on.

A young mother living in La Ceiba took her very sick infant to the hospital. The baby had severe diarrhea for several days. Upon examination, the doctor said the patient was too dehydrated and there was nothing they could do.

Dr. Gibson loved treating the babies!

Not willing to just let her infant die, she borrowed money and boarded a bus. A relative told her about a new clinic run by American doctors more than three hours away. She would take the long journey alone to the middle of nowhere hoping these American doctors could save her precious child.

Upon arrival, she was rushed back to our little surgical room. We all were horrified as we looked at this tiny little lifeless body, so shrived from dehydration that he resembled ET in the movie as he lay dying in the ditch. Dr. Gibson told the nurse to do her best to start an IV. Many prayers were said.

God apparently wasn’t ready for another little angel up in heaven. After many tries, an IV was started and drip by drip the life-saving fluids started flowing. A true miracle was taking place before our eyes.

I cannot find to words to express the gratitude of this young mother.

The next day, with many instructions and a bag of Pedialyte, a very happy lady and her beautiful baby boy started their long journey home. Many silent prayers were said for the future of this precious infant in this 3rd world country.

In 2013, Dr. Gibson and I were at the clinic when David Kelly told Doc that someone wanted to see him.  In walks this good-looking young man and his Mom. 

They came to thank Dr. Gibson for saving his life 17 years earlier. This was truly a beautiful reunion for an 88-year-old doctor and his patient.

Chris & Dr. Gibson at the clinic in Limón

Dr. Gibson started the Carolina Honduras Health Foundation more than 25 years ago. At that time, he was hoping to have 6 teams a year staffing the clinic.

In 2019, we had 18 volunteer teams that saw over 10,000 patients who were given medications, had their teeth fixed, eye’s checked, and 231 were received medical referrals. So many lives were saved.

I wish I could give every volunteer a big hug and encourage every person to join a team this year. Every trip, whether it be your first or your fifteenth, is worth it.

To everyone who opened their hearts and pocketbooks to send us donations over the years…..God Bless you! The Carolina Honduras Health Foundation cannot exist without volunteers or monetary donors. You are the lifeline for these poor Hondurans. Please help to make the next 25 years for CHHF as successful as the first.

Thank you!

Chris Zawacki
Board Member since 1997

Team photo of one of Chris’ many trips.
Chris and a patients in Limón.

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