Working as a Children’s Health Educator at Primeros Pasos spurred my determination and enthusiasm to continue pursuing a career inthe public health field. In my academic sphere I poured over journal articles and books, volunteered as a translator at local clinics, all the while trying to figure out what public health entailed. This understanding finally coalesced into a cohesive whole after working at Primeros Pasos for a summer.
I was able to view how the clinic addressed public health needs at multiple levels. Through education programs to the community at large, Primeros Pasos incorporates a fundamental understanding of health. At the same time, medical staff treat dire public health needs through direct intervention at the clinic. For two months I had the opportunity to collaborate with fellow volunteers and our Guatemalan supervisor to develop culturally appropriate, health-based curriculums for children. Together we designed interactive games to increase student participation and understanding of nutrition.
Every day we walked through the beautiful Palajunoj Valley to reach different schools. We entered classrooms as strangers, but left with a horde of happy shouts of “Gracias!”, “me voy a comer un banano!” and other enthusiastic responses. Every day was different and many presented obstacles, but we worked together to provide the best education we could. This experience was hugely beneficial. I had an in-depth experience in the world of public health, and feel that I have a clear goal of what I wish to pursue in the future.