When I first arrived at Primeros Pasos, I was unsure what my time would look like. Knowing that reproductive health research was of interest to the clinic (and to me), I was eager to get started on a research project in this realm. I began by getting to know how the nutrition program operated through attending home visits with Scarlet, helping weigh children on “peso y talla” days, and creating posters that would be used during educational charlas. After meeting Bethan Crisp and immediately realizing that she would become an amazing friend and research partner, we decided that we could collaborate on our projects and interview the women in the nutrition program. After completing the project and asking over 80 women over 100 questions, we had lots of information to work with! A long data analysis process ensued, and we concluded our time in Guatemala by presenting our findings to Scarlet and Monica (the Nutrition Recuperation Program directors).
Beyond merely learning about reproductive health barriers and family planning perceptions in the valley, I gained tremendous respect for the women I interviewed and the lives they lived. Whether I was listening to a woman reflect on her most cherished memories of being a mother, observing her proudly show us her clean kitchen on her home visit, or watching her chase after her children running outside of the Primeros Pasos clinic, I constantly felt blessed to be able to enter into these women’s lives. As I return home and resume a hectic schedule, I am constantly remembering these beautiful women and their simple, joyful way of life. I am so grateful to Primeros Pasos and the Nutrition Recuperation Program, and I can’t wait to return in the future.