Scholarship Stories: Becoming an Obstetrician in Honduras

Scholarship Stories: Becoming an Obstetrician in Honduras
Melissa Elieth Ordoñez

I started going to college when I was a teenager. In Honduras, it takes eight years to become a general practitioner and three more to become a specialist.

I live with my family, and at the time we were six: my brother, two sisters, and my parents. My mother was a nurse and my dad a driver. They did what they could to enroll me in the public university, and every day they would give me just enough money for the bus and to buy a soda. If I needed to buy a book or make photocopies, I had to wait until my mother found a way to get me the things I needed.

Then my father lost his job, and because of his age he couldn’t get another one. My brother’s girlfriend got pregnant, so my brother had to leave school and start to work. Because of our financial situation, my older sister quit school too — she had been studying law. And my younger sister couldn’t finish college either. I worried about how I would be able to continue my studies. I had two options: try to get an education loan, or look for a career where I could work and study at the same time.

Then my mother and I started attending the United Methodist Church. My mother became very involved with the women’s ministry and began studying to become a pastor. A sister from the church told us about scholarships that United Methodist Women provides. I applied for one and was granted that blessing. I never had to ask my mother for anything again, and I was able to finish my studies.

When I was in the sixth year of my medical studies, my mother passed away. By then, she had become a pastor of the United Methodist Church.

During my last year as a general practitioner I did my social service in a women’s clinic, and I fall in love with caring for women, especially pregnant women. And that is how I decided to do my postgraduate studies in women’s health. I wanted to be an obstetric doctor and improve women’s lives. Ever since, my work has been focused on trying to improve women’s health and prevent diseases.

In Honduras, the biggest cause of death in women is cervical cancer, and postpartum hemorrhaging is still the most common complication for pregnant women. But it is something that is preventable, and I am very grateful to United Methodist Women and to God that I have the skills to help women.

There is still a lot of work ahead of me, because even though I have done my postgraduate studies, it is very hard to get a job. But my hope is in God, and I know God will open doors for me. I would like to develop a program with the church to try to return some of the blessings I have received. I have thought about starting a national program to make the Papanicolaou test, or Pap test, available to all the women, either through the church or in a women’s clinic.

When I see my brother and my sisters I often think how different their lives would be if they could have finished their studies. I realize that all that I am now and all that I have achieved I owe to God and to United Methodist Women. God works through you. The scholarship program of United Methodist Women really changed my life.

I give thanks for that.

Posted or updated: 9/24/2014 11:00:00 PM
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