In 2009, when I was volunteering in Aguas Buenas, a 4 year old little boy died. It was the first dead body I ever saw. We were walking to the center of the village to continue building the community kitchen when I saw his little blue body lying on the road while a group of women sobbed and shrieked. He and his grandmother were out walking when he choked on the pit of a popular Costa Rican fruit. The grandmother had no idea what to do. For days the village was shut down to honor the boy's death. I went to the wake with my host family. What felt like hundreds of people flooded the tiny village, spending days on end with the mourning family. May he continue to Rest In Peace.
This event, while difficult to comprehend and hard to process, is one of the main reasons I chose to volunteer again in this country. This time around instead of mixing concrete and laying a foundation, I opted to provide medical assistance. Health Education, particularly preventative health education is lacking here. This time around I taught Yoga and worked in the clinic pharmacy. In the future I would really like to offer CPR and Heimlich classes. Health tutorials truly do save lives. Educating about the difference between immediate drowning and secondary drowning. Empowering communities by offering tools for family health. This is just the beginning. I feel called to work deeply in this part of the world, sharing resources and shining light on what is so often brushed under the table. It does seem like a grand task. I get overwhelmed at the thought. But if I can touch one family, one village, offer guidance and support, I feel my life has purpose. I don't know how it will all work. In this moment the details are unimportant. What's most important is to remember this feeling. When I'm stuck in the mundane of everyday life, I must remember my greater purpose. I must remember these people. I must remember gratitude, humility, and the way the universe shows me exactly what I need to do, at the pace that I can handle. I am joining an army of culturally sensitive, warm-hearted, holistic health workers. Seemingly random events have purpose. I am exactly where I need to be.