– Maria Echeverri, 2021 SAF intern
Good Samaritan Clinic
Late nights are common for us when it comes to going on outreach. I love being able to see the North Carolina mountains during sunset. For me, this is home. This is the state that I grew up in and the state that I want to serve in the future. However, I cannot help but wonder how the migrant farmworkers we work with see these views. Do they see these mountains as barriers to their homeland? As a symbol of sadness or oppression? I’m sure this view means something entirely different to them when they look up from long hours of picking berries in the sun.
This summer, I have been surrounded by a lot of fruit. Berries, peaches, pears ... and yet they don’t taste as sweet to me because, at the same time, I have also been surrounded by diagnoses of diabetes and high blood pressure. It feels like another epidemic to me and one that does not have a vaccine or miracle drug. As someone who wants to go into the medical field, for me, medicine starts with education.
Education gives patients the tools they need to make informed decisions about their health and well-being. I see that, in most cases, these farmworkers have not been given that education. This lack of education stems from a variety of reasons: cultural, political, and economic. It essentially robs our patients of the ability to have a healthy life and it boils my blood every day. I may not be a provider yet, but until then I will always try to advocate for patients through education. Healthcare is a human right.