GlobeMed at UT-Austin is funding the construction of a health library in Guarjila, El Salvador. Read below to see why I'm involved...
In the summer of 2011, I was lucky enough to be a member of GlobeMed at UT-Austin's first GrassRoots On-site Work (GROW) team. After a year of sporadic phone calls with our partners--a team of health professionals in Guarjila, El Salvador--we were finally going to meet them in person. We had no idea what to expect.
The summer days we spent in El Salvador forever changed my life, as cheesy as that may sound. Upon leaving the country to go back to the United States, I had experienced:
-the utmost genuine kindness ever expressed by human beings
-the diligence of a community bound in solidarity to improve the health of their neighbors
-the passion of a developing country to find a better way
-a culture rich in love
-the sharing of personal stories under the stars
-wading through waterfalls and climbing trees
and above all... I felt the power of human connection that made me want to do whatever I could to work in collaboration with our new friends as they develop their community, which I am now a part of forever.
This year, I am the co-president of GlobeMed at UT-Austin and I am lucky to be involved in a movement that I can say I'm wholeheartedly in love with. I love it because I get to hang out with my friends, do fun stuff, learn new things, while simulatenously working to bring health for ALL. Our approach entails making tangible and sustainable changes, achieved through collaboration and empowerment of students and communities.
We are partnered with a community clinic called Clinica Ana Manganaro (CAM). It is the lifeblood of the community of Guarjila, located directly in the center of town, next to the school and the church and surrounded by houses. The staff of CAM are resilient, diligent and passionate - just like the people they serve, because they are one and the same with the people. The Civil War that ended in 1992 is a looming memory, but the community is fluorishing as rebuilding continues.
This year, we aim to raise $15,000 as a chapter and in partnership with CAM, build a community health library adjacent to the clinic. Even in Guarjila, constructing a new building is expensive, but we believe that this investment is truly that-- an investment into the future of the community. Through this outlet, we hope to help empower the residents to be able to make healthy behavioral choices for themselves. Building a library is not as glamorous as raising money for HIV treatments, cancer research, or a new orphanage, but it is important, very important, to develop sustainable healthcare infrastructure that will allow the communities to be self-sufficient in promoting health, preventing disease, and developing their local economies.
I wrote more about "why a library?" on our blog, which can be found here: http://globemedut.org/2012/11/29/why-a-library/
Carl Sagan summed it all up when he said in Cosmos, “I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.”
Everyday I feel so lucky that I get to be involved in something so innovative as GlobeMed. Because of that, I would like to ask for donations to help build this health library in lieu of Christmas and 22nd birthday gifts. Your support in giving the gift of health and education to my friends in Guarjila would mean the WORLD. It is a gift that will keep on giving for generations down the line.
My goal is to raise $2,200 by my 22nd birthday on January 29. Every dollar makes a difference.
Thank you all and much love to everyone,