CHIMES History

Bill Camp

Bill Camp, a union leader from Sacramento, California, traveled to Cuba in 2004 with Birthing Project Director Kathryn Hall. He visited the Latin American School of Medical Science where he met with Luther Castillo Harry, a Garifuna medical student he had previously met in Honduras.

Luther described the Honduran health system and the struggle he and his fellow medical students would face upon their return home.

Luther and other students had already began the Project Luagu Hatuadi Waduhenu (For the Health of Our Communities) in 1999.

"We did this" said Luther, "as an initiative of the Garifuna students in Cuba seeking a way of contributing to the betterment of the health of our communities.

"We decided to donate 15 days of our month of vacation working in the Honduran Garifuna communities, shoulder-to-shoulder with the Cuban doctors."

Luther Castillo

Bill was so inspired by these students that he created the California/Honduran Institute for Medical and Education Support (CHIMES), in partnership with his brothers and sisters in the California AFL-CIO. They have committed to building clinics in Honduras for these Cuban trained Honduran doctors.

Following planning discussions between Bill and Luther, they met with Garifuna elders at Ciriboya, a village on the northern coast of Honduras. Following meetings the whole community embraced the project and construction of the Ciriboya Clinic began in May 2005.

In 2005 and 2006 CHIMES conducted medical brigades to Honduras accompanied by Honduran trained doctors, Cuban doctors as well as doctors, nurses and support staff from the USA.

For both Bill and Luther the cooperative efforts by Cubans, Hondurans and North Americans are the model for the future development of clinics and health care for Garifuna communities.

CHIMES is continuing the construction of the clinic and conducting medical brigades often in partnership with groups such as Birthing Project USA, Prevention International – No Cervical Cancer and Alabama Honduras Medical and Education Network.

Mr. Camp is raising funds to build the first of these clinics in Ciriboya, a remote Garifuna coastal village. In May, 2005, his team traveled to Honduras to begin the process of building the first clinic. Their mission was to help the community secure a clinic site, organize the construction and provide the building materials.

This project is historic because it involves Cuba, Honduras and the United States. Cuba’s effort to train a substantial number of doctors for Honduras will impact its health system as will CHIMES. This enormous project needs your support to succeed!

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