Good afternoon! ¡Buenas tardes! Xqi q’aj k’a!
In the first few weeks I have spent in Guatemala, I have already grown to love the country: the beauty of the mountains in every direction, the friendly and warm people, and the chance to learn about the rich multilingual and multi-rooted culture that surrounds me.
But why did a girl from Connecticut choose to come here? And why Maya Health Alliance?
When I decided to go to Costa Rica to study global health during my junior year at Providence College, I didn’t realize how big of an impact that choice would have. Seeing children who have never even had the chance to have a yearly check-up, and parents who do not have access to the education needed to prevent illness in their families, was eye-opening. Health disparities are everywhere, and as I became passionate about those inequities, I began to realize I couldn’t imagine not working in a global health field.
Once I returned, I felt a tugging that didn’t go away. I realized it was not just towards global health, but also to go back to Central America. There is such history and culture, and I wanted to immerse myself more deeply in one of those unique cultures: to understand the day-to-day life and challenges of the people there.
Maya Health Alliance is an organization that surpasses every hope I had when searching for such an opportunity. The focus on providing health care in a culturally- and linguistically-sensitive manner, especially to the underserved indigenous Maya populations of Guatemala, is an incredible mission that I wanted to be a part of. With that in mind, I deferred acceptance to medical school to spend time here in Guatemala.
The year I spend with Maya Health Alliance will be full of learning opportunities: mostly I will be working on the many programs the organization has to combat the malnutrition that affects enormous numbers of Guatemalan children. As one of the newest members of the team, I am learning each and every day from the hard-working, dedicated, and fun staff of Maya Health Alliance. From classes in the Maya language Kaqchikel, to assisting in the nutritional support programs, to observing the incredible educators as they work with families to improve their health, each day is an adventure!
I look forward to my time with MHA, and am so excited to be a member of such an incredible team!