Allow Native Speakers Students In A Language Class For Non-Natives Unpursued Passions and Providence

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Unpursued Passions and Providence

Nine years ago, my husband and I knew we wanted to be parents, but we were in no rush. For one thing, alongside my dreams of being a mother, I dreamed of being fluent in Spanish to better communicate with the Latina women I served as a midwife. Plus, I realized I had time for a great adventure before welcoming my own baby into the world.

I considered a few different possibilities. Earlier that year, I ran the Boston Marathon in 3 hours and 23 minutes and thought I needed a bigger challenge. I had devoured “Into Thin Air,” Jon Krakauer’s account of his trip to the top of Everest, and for a while I had been taken with the idea of ​​climbing Everest myself, even though I hadn’t a pair of crampons.

Then I started reading “The Scottish Himalayan Expedition”, by the mountaineer WH Murray, and was struck by something he wrote: “The moment one commits himself definitively, then providence also moves.” I realized then that I could do anything I wanted, and it wasn’t climbing Everest – the thought of falling into an icy crevasse scared me too much. But the dream of living and working in a Spanish-speaking country suddenly seemed achievable.

And of course, as soon as I took my first step towards my passions, providence moved. I applied to Médecins Sans Frontières and within a month was offered an interview in their New York office. As it happened, I was going to be in New York anyway to run in the New York City Marathon and could easily set up a time to speak with the director of the organization. They didn’t have positions for midwives in Latin America, but I wasn’t interested in any other position. So the director said she would keep my application, but she didn’t think there would ever be a desirable position for me.

I was discouraged by the news of the director, but I tried to stay positive, and began to look at other possibilities to realize my dream. I was very surprised when, two months later, the phone rang and it was Doctors Without Borders who told me that they had started a new maternal health project in Mexico – and that out of all the applications they had in the file, the project manager wanted. I am joining the medical team.

People thought I was crazy for leaving my life in the US for a volunteer position in a remote Mexican village. She was leaving a good job at a time when there were few midwife positions. My husband stayed and maintained our home, but at the time he too was looking for a job that would take him out of Asheville. I would live in a region of the world where there was no electricity, no running water and no one to call for help (or no one who could respond in a timely manner) if something went wrong.

Doctors Without Borders made it clear that they had chosen this region because the Mexican government was allegedly persecuting the indigenous people. (This threat of danger was a particular concern for my parents.) It left so much that was known and comfortable for something totally unknown and full of risks. But I knew, like the Scottish mountaineer Murray, that I had created this opportunity by committing to my dream and I was not going to be deterred.

So I went. In June 2002, I left my job to work for 6 months in the southwest of Mexico. I worked with an all-Mexican medical team that set up clinics in remote areas of a region called La Montaña, or The Mountain. We run our clinic from 9 am to 2 am, taking a break from 2 to 4, and continuing the clinic until 6 am.

We always gave preference to women and children, but we saw everyone who needed attention, and we were available for emergencies 24 hours a day. We see women in a continuous string; they often carry five or six of their children at a time. As expected, we saw a lot of respiratory and intestinal infections, but also many skin problems, especially scabies and infected bug spots. As difficult as running the clinic was, it was also very satisfying: most of the people we met were relatively healthy and enjoyed their lives centered around family and work.

I could tell many more stories of my life from this time – there have been so many great challenges and even bigger triumphs and many, many small daily pleasures. But they have to do another essay (or book). What I want to say now – about an experience I had almost 8 years ago – is that I took what seemed to me an impossible dream, and despite great doubts (my own and others) I made my dreams and my passions come true.

Back in the United States, I found the dream job I had been looking for when I started my journey, a part-time position in a public health practice that serves a large number of Latina women. Today, my patients remind me of the women I served in Mexico, and I am grateful that my language skills and knowledge of their culture allow me to care for them as they navigate a foreign country.

Now I have other big big dreams, even what I call chased passions, and sometimes I can feel discouraged and frustrated by a feeling that they are impossible to achieve. But I just have to remember my Mexican adventure and know that I can really achieve anything I set my mind to – anyone can.

I found that my time in Mexico changed my life in many profound ways. Mexicans value family and community above all else, and I have come to adopt these same values. I realized that if I had never taken that first step – if I had never committed to my dreams of service and adventure – I would never have appreciated the way I do now the gifts I receive from my family and community But perhaps the biggest change I can take back to that time in Mexico is the confidence I have now that when I move, providence moves with me, and that taking that first small step toward a dream brings it much closer than I could never have imagined. .

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