In September of 2017, I had the opportunity to start an internship at one of the greatest organizations that I have ever had the honor of being a part of. World Pediatric Project, a nonprofit organization, one that I like to describe as a family, strives to heal and care for children in critical health conditions in developing countries in Central America and the Caribbean. Over the course of my internship, I spent time with families from Guatemala, Belize and various islands in the Caribbean. As a US Referrals Program Intern, I was able to connect with families and build strong relationships with people from different cultures and backgrounds.
The families that I worked with taught me so much more than I could have ever taught them in the short time spent with each other. Whether it was appointment coverages, grocery runs, trips to the library, office work or surgery coverages, I was constantly interacting with some of the most kind-hearted people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Though I loved every single family that came through during my internship, I bonded very strongly with a girl named Dayana from Honduras. Dayana came to Richmond for neurosurgery; she had an arteriovenous malformation. I spent a lot of time with her and her mom, and I got to learn so much about their culture’s customs and traditions.
I came in to this internship with the mindset of getting more medical-field exposure and improving my Spanish through interactions with the patients and medical doctors. However, I later realized that I would leave WPP with so much more gained than ever expected. Little did I know that in the 3 short months of interning here, WPP would have such a strong impact on my life and my career goals. I aspire to become a Pediatrician and later on a specialized Neonatologist, eventually to be able to volunteer with an organization like WPP. Who knows, maybe in a couple of years (well, more like 8 years…) I will be able to come back and go on mission trips with this wonderful organization. Through this internship, I have learned that it takes so much more than a diagnosis, a prescription or a surgery to heal a child. It also takes compassion and love – to not only the patient, but also to the family members.
World Pediatric Project not only embodies phenomenal beliefs about pediatric medical care, but it also reflects the characteristics of a kind, successful and driven group of hard-working employees, interns, volunteers and medical personnel. After a short semester of interning with WPP, I can genuinely say that it was an absolute privilege working with a dedicated group of people who all have one motive: ‘heal a child’ and ‘change the world.’ I end my internship with a bittersweet and genuine ‘thank you’ to World Pediatric Project, for an experience that will hold a special place in my heart, para siempre (forever).