Sep 12, 2017

#GROWCommunity 17: The Little Things

Author: Reena Goswami

Once when I was working in the pharmacy, a young woman carrying her baby brought a prescription up to the window. The pharmacist on duty retrieved the medicine and informed the woman of its price. Immediately, she froze, then responded that she didn’t have the money and would have to come back later to get it. The pharmacist insisted that she needed to buy the medicine today or her baby’s condition would get worse. With a heavy heart, she replied that there wasn’t a way for her to pay then. The pharmacist was unwavering and asked that she wait at the window. Within a couple minutes, he returned, money in his hand, and gave the medicine to her. Her eyes filled with the purest form of both gratitude and relief.

There is no doubt that the big moments of my summer taught me about the importance of global health. I was afforded the opportunity, as a GlobeMed Grassroots On-Site Work (GROW) Intern, to work on a development project that increases access to soap in the Palajunoj Valley as well as partner with the education program of the clinic that provides preventative health lessons in local primary schools on topics including self-esteem, nutrition, hygiene, and reproductive health. But it was also all of the little moments in between that truly shaped my time at Primeros Pasos. When I happened to witness a certain conversation at the pharmacy window, when a group of kids invited me to play tag with them after our lesson at their school and gave me a big hug before I left, when an externo told me about his passions for medicine and stayed a little late at the clinic just to teach me how to take blood pressure, when a woman in Xepache told me that her community is often left forgotten but not to Primeros Pasos, when people from Primeros went out of their way time and time again to meet me and my team outside of the clinic to help us with our work, when I was moved to tears after the education program directors told me over breakfast why they have dedicated their lives to this program, and countless others.

It was through these little moments that I got a glimpse into the compassion and dedication of the faces behind Primeros Pasos and into the beauty of the communities that surrounds the clinic. I learned that global health is more than just allocating resources and services, it’s about empowering people with the tools to take charge of their own health and giving voices to the systematically silenced. For this reason, to me, global health is the purest form of social justice. This experience affirmed to me that true change comes from the grassroots level, from the passionate people who work tirelessly to better their communities. I am eternally grateful to Primeros Pasos and GlobeMed for providing me all of these moments I will carry with me for a lifetime as I hope to continue on and use my privilege to serve others.

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