– Claire Burke, 2022 SAF Intern
Piedmont Health Services
When I told people that I was going to be interning with Student Action with Farmworkers as a health intern, I was met with disapproval. Some of my family and friends thought that the internship was a joke or an odd cause. I had people ask me why I would want to spend my summer supporting such a random issue. At first, I didn’t question it because I wasn’t sure myself. I allowed my insecurities to take over and made excuses like “ it’s for nursing experience” or “I am just doing it because.” It wasn’t because I didn’t care about farmworkers, I just had no idea about the cause or the organization. I had only ever advocated for causes relating to my own community, and I had no prior experience being an ally.
This completely changed when I went to orientation. It was then that I was forced to acknowledge not only the issues that farmworkers face, but the stories and lived experiences of my peers. My passivity turned into guilt. How could I have been so blind to a whole community of people? I was humbled when many of the other student interns and program assistants began explaining their work and lives coming from farmworker families. My position as an intern with SAF turned into so much more. I knew then that it was important for me to care for the farmworkers and their families as if they were my own family.
I am nervous about my role as a health intern, but I am more than supported in this position. I know there is a lot I don’t know and that I will never understand, but my position here with SAF is important. That is why I will hold my head high and do this job with everything I’ve got.
I’m sent by myself and the desires of my heart
Who do I carry with me?
Is there enough empathy inside to stretch to the corners of the earth I find?
I will tell you it is my biggest regret that there is not
the walls of my heart collide closer and closer each day
but I will make space
For the men and women who work the soil
There is room