By Marissa Bergh
Greetings Emory Nursing Community!! After a grueling few weeks of summer session classes, we are finally about to embark on our journey to Mérida, Mexico. For those who don’t know, a small group of us, including ten ABSN students along with professors Dr. Vicki Hertzberg, Dr. Valerie Mac, and PhD student, Roxana Chicas are spending the next eight days working with the organization Hogares Mana, lead by our new friend Dr. Victor Chan (or in Dr. Hertzberg’s case, old friend), to help educate women and children of the community about basic disease prevention techniques, domestic and sexual violence prevention, and nutrition.
This will be Emory Nursing’s inaugural trip to Mérida, so one of our overarching goals on this trip is to foster a relationship with Victor’s organization, and the community he so humbly serves.
As a group we have put in hours of preparation before we embark so that we can hit the ground running tomorrow. Many of us have broken out our DuoLingo apps to brush up on our Spanish, have turned off the AC’s in our apartments in a desperate attempt to acclimate to the HOT weather that will no doubt meet us in Mérida, and collected copious amounts of sunscreen and bug spray.
But on a more serious note, we interviewed Dr. Victor Chan to discuss his visions for our partnership and give us an opportunity to ask key questions about his organization and what we can do to best meet the needs of the women and children he works with. Soon-to-be Dr. Nezatiualcoyoti Xiatzteutli gave us a skype lecture on the history of the Mayan culture and its implications on modern day Yucatecans. We read “Yucatecans in Dallas, Texas” by Rachel Adler, a book about Yucatecan culture, and the forces driving migration to the US. We also discussed the Mexican Healthcare system, and the best ways to approach sexual/domestic violence prevention with children. And that’s just the work we have done as a group! The faculty members have put in countless of extra hours into organizing, researching, and even spending part of their winter break on a fact-finding trip to Mérida.
We are all so excited to go! (and for those of us who are less than fluent in Spanish, a little nervous…) This will no doubt be one of the most enlightening, challenging, and rewarding weeks of our nursing school careers, and we are so grateful to the School of Nursing, our faculty coordinators for making this trip a reality, and most importantly to Victor and his organization for hosting us. STAY TUNED for more posts about our adventure:)