Health & Wellness started out this semester as a new program, trying to split time between San Miguel and the Valley. While we have loved the little time we’ve had out in Kalu Yala and intend to spend more there working and learning to develop things like our community garden, interns soon realized that focusing more time in San Miguel was vital to many of the projects as well as to their own growth and happiness. Here are some of the favorite memories of the Health & Wellness team after the first half of the semester:
Brenda: Life as a San Miguel intern has been a uniquely special and transformative experience for me. The community members of this town have been very helpful and involved with the progress I am making within the Casa Llena garden. Although may of the locals here live very modest lives, they are some of the most generous people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. They are always more than happy to share seeds or clippings of veggies that I am lacking. Without this generosity, my garden project would not be nearly as successful as it is turning out to be. This has been my favorite experience living in San Miguel.
Jasmine: My favorite moment was watching the downpour of rain and randomly taking Kelly up on her offer to go to the Chino and stop by and see the kids at Art Class. When we ran out in the rain with no barrier between us and the downpour I felt completely and utterly free. We continued on our journey, with huge smiles on our faces, and stopped at the cancha. All of the children were gathered around in a circle, hunched over their tree trunks armed with paintbrushes in hand. That day I felt like I bonded with the kids. I walked side by side a little girl (who due to my horrible memory I can’t remember her name) holding our artwork with outstretched arms, and as she spoke to me in her Spanish and I listened not understanding I realized an important lessons: while we were both separated by language barriers, we can be united by other things, this time like the artwork. I feel blessed to be a part of such an amazing experience, and it is times like these that continually serve as a reminder of all that there is to be grateful for. Whether big or small, every moment invested here makes a difference.
Morgan: My favorite experience in San Miguel so far was when I got to interview with the pharmacist at the clinic. I learned what the main health problems in San Miguel are and from there knew what to focus on for my part of the health fair.
Portia: My favorite San Miguel memory thus far has been spending a blackout night of no electricity in town sipping Froot Loop flavored tea (toronja) on Miriam’s porch. I felt so welcomed and I had never seen a more beautiful night sky.
Anna: Spending the evening at Noris’ house eating food and enjoying conversation and the company of her family.
Cristina: My favorite San Miguel experience was helping a girl with her presentation for English class. Helping her translate and pronounce the words made me feel as if I was making a direct impact on the community while developing my Spanish skills at the same time.
Johana: Going to Bible Study at Noris’ was my favorite experience. Everyone there is really welcoming, regardless of whether or not you are religious it was really cool to see how passionate this group of people were about their faith.
Ann: A few weeks ago, a few of us went to visit Noris and her family. Originally, we just planned on stopping by for a quick visit but she ended up inviting us to Rio Indio to spend time with her family. We went home to change and met Noris and her family for a bowl of soup before heading out. The bus ride to Rio Indio is about 15 minutes or so and then it is a half-hour hike to Alvin’s parents house. We ended up getting offered a ride and graciously accepted. When we arrived at the house, we were warmly received and treated as part of the family. We took a tour of the farm, drank pineapple juice, played with puppies and ate mangoes. It was an incredible experience to be a part of.
Kelly: All of the memories and experiences listed by the girls stand out to me as favorite moments for various reasons – mostly because some of those experiences were times when I was witness to the interns’ happinesses and excitement, witness to the connections happening between them and life in San Miguel. But, to add a new one to the list, my favorite experience this semester was a particular Wednesday when I stopped up at the new sports program to check on how things were going – I will never forget how much fun we had playing baseball with a stick of bamboo, how the kids passed around my apple and ate all but the stem, and how hard we all laughed at them hanging from the bamboo as Tomas lifted it and the kids straight off the ground. And then the next morning while doing laundry, I marveled at how filthy I was able to get the blue shirt I’d worn the day before – only after studying it did I realize that it was covered in dirt handprints from the hugs of the kids that afternoon.