Monday, March 20th, 2017
The most important lesson I learned was that any day above ground is a great day, because anybody else could be having it worse. Be thankful for what you do got rather than wishing for something you do not have. For example, I realized that I am fortunate to be given the opportunity to travel and learn abroad while so many would want to but cannot. To make most of college experience is to really appreciate what is available to you and never cease to learn different ways. Learning is flexible and never ending.
1. Based on the readings, lectures and observations during the course, please explain your insight into the sociocultural, economic, legal and political factors influencing healthcare delivery and practice in Guatemala.
I changed my perspective that not everything will always not run out, we have to always remind ourselves to conserve and just because there is ample of something, does not mean it can exhaust in the future. Similarly, I learned that just because you may not have plenty of something does not mean you cannot help. The readings, lectures and in-person observations provided me a different way to loving and exposure to be a better person not just for myself but for others in need.
2. Based on the readings, lectures and observations, what are some of Guatemala’s health policy implications on issues of health equity and social justice?
Based on the readings and observations, I can conclude that the Guatemala government and people have not established stable health services. These folks are cable but I think the lack of education or financial support makes them deprived of what they are really capable of doing and being in a better situation than they are right now. The issue of health equity and social justice will be solved if everything is addressed from the basic level of education and awareness about the other medical aspects necessary for better living.
3. What similarities and differences do you see when comparing Guatemalan culture to your country of birth?
I realized that it is easy to get acquainted to the habit of being wasteful when you are living in a place where there is ample of basic needs such as water. I learned how to conserve basic needs such as soap and conditioner. Before I would just lather myself up with as much soap on my skin and as much conditioner to my hair, without thinking about it because I have plenty of it. In contrast, people in Guatemala are still facing lack of water and droughts. We had to get used to using bottled water to brush our teeth because the consequences of using the tap water is the same feeling of a traveler’s diarrhea. It was very similar to my homeland, India, and in previous slides I mentioned that a couple of times. The rich culture and amazing people make Guatemala one of my favorite places to visit.
4. What was the greatest barrier/challenge related to this experience? How did you attempt to overcome the barrier/challenge?
My biggest challenge was language. I knew the book Spanish but when it came to implementing with people talking, I almost failed or looked for assistance. I asked for help when I needed and used technology as a medium to convey my message and interpret what they were trying to say to me. Even though, I failed a few times, I learnt from my mistakes. Despite knowing that the Highlands are remote, lack resources, and lack technology, the people there were still managing and thriving to live their lives. They do not waste, that is one of the explanation. Despite they are impoverished of resources, the Guatemalan people appreciate what they are blessed with. With humility and confidence, they come as they are. At the churches, many prayed with their heads bowed to their knees on the floor as they face the cross at the altar. Also, using candles, holding religious ceremonies, and looking after each others’ backs are the other explanations why such a strong tight-knit community is able to thrive in such a remote region. Knowing that bowing down to God was not a sign of weakness but seeking for his blessings to be even stronger than you were before. The barriers challenged me to be better and make my experience into my strength. The willingness to learn the unknown made me realize that anything is possible and I can do it!
5. What did you learn about yourself as you interacted with the team and the Guatemalan people?
My personal statement that include the things that I learned from the trip whether it be people on the trip or people I met in Guatemala. I hope to travel, photograph, write, and ultimately inspire others through my shared experiences upon embarking and learning throughout these learning abroad adventures. “Because of you (referring to our whole Rutgers University group), the hills will not cry no more” as translated from the words of the Mayan women. I hope that same feeling of gratitude and appreciation will always remind and teach the generation today and the succeeding generations to never forget where they come from and what they have. We may not always receive for what we give unto others, but what we sow, we will reap. I hope that in sharing my experience on my first learning abroad will not only encourage others to engage in learning beyond a classroom environment but encourage others to never forget how to feel, remember, and reflect on both who they are as person and who they are yet to be. For the Mayan women and Guatemalan people in general, a comfortable life can simply mean having drinkable water, food to eat, and a place to sleep. Yet, uncountable of them still do not meet the basic needs but still they are willing to give and help just like how we were welcome to their homes. We were welcomed, fed, clothed, and most of all healed. I felt accepted, needed, and appreciated as much as I did for them. There is no greater love than finding yourself again in an age and generation in which people have become dependent on technology and have become blind and deaf to the calling or purpose of their lives. I hope to inspire people not merely to encourage them but to inspire, meaning to awaken them from their sleep and state of fear resulting in lack of communication, lack of understanding, and lack of listening and seeing the life around them. I hope that others will find peace in their hearts and minds once they take the time to discover their purpose. To be loved, you need to spread the love to others!
Love them all. I can proudly say that I don't have friends but I have a family!