Voy a volver, pues volveré

3 12 2010

As I stood in the airport in Santiago on the morning of July 17th, I was excited to go home to share and continue to understand my 7-week experience. I wasn’t sad or anxious about leaving because I think deep down I knew I would return. “Voy a regresar” I said, as I promised to return to visit in November during my Thanksgiving break. I think my host parents even knew that this wasn’t the last time they would be driving to the airport with me. One day after returning from my work in la Zona Sur and I explained my observations and how badly I yearned to understand more in order to help, my host dad said that it seemed as though my passion for the people wasn’t going to keep me away for long.

There are two ways to express the future tense in Spanish, one is to place “ir a” in front of the action verb and the other way is to conjugate the verb directly. In conversation I noticed that when you used the “ir a” form, it implied a bit of doubt while directly conjugating the verb implied certainly of action. While I have no idea if this rule is actually part of the Spanish language, I think it illustrates my experience well. In July, I was going to return, at least to visit- now I will return, to study, to serve, and to live. Volveré.

When I stepped on Yale’s campus in August, I was excited to begin a new semester and kept busy for the first couple of weeks reconnecting with friends, getting settled into my new room, and working out my course schedule. As I got back into the swing of things, I began to think about how I wanted to apply my experiences from the Dominican Republic. It was an incredibly transformative summer in more ways than one: I had identified a deep seeded academic interest in public health, I yearned to speak the language, and I tried to find the people- the people whose hearts were just as big as their ambitions. As I searched and searched I found myself torn between Yale and the incredible student body, my friends, the intellectually stimulating coursework and the desire to further understand disparities in healthcare and how we could maximize access; access to what I have come to believe in as a human right.

It’s not easy to leave Yale during the academic year. The summer sort of lends itself to international exploration because it is a natural time away from campus. During the year, you are leaving behind friends and family, those quintessential Yale classes, and amazing the abundance of resources. But I have come to find that what you leave behind is matched if not superseded by what is there to be gained. My quest to design a public health project brought me to explore the Yale School of Public Health and I think I have come to learn of more resources here at Yale in the past 4 months than I have in my entire first 2 years here. And these resources aren’t just valuable because they are there, but they are valuable because they are receptive. Yes, I am qualifying resources as receptive. The professors, the librarians, the administrators, even the research studies and the literature have been receptive and supportive. Designing an independent study that will last an entire semester is not as easy as I originally thought it to be. Research is not a new concept to me but research in the “people” field is a whole different ball game, a very exciting ball game though.

So here are the technical details. I am going back to Santiago where I will be living with my same host family. I will be attending the same university, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. I am enrolled in the CIEE Santiago Liberal Arts program so I will be taking 4 courses as well as doing my independent study for credit which will total 15 course credits for the semester (in Yale terms, 4 credits). I am going to be taking Spanish, a course on the political status of the Dominican Republic, Caribbean History, and Medical Anthropology. My research proposal for my independent study is the following: I will research the public health insurance system in the Dominican Republic in order to identify aspects of the system that are effective in providing access to care and those that are ineffective. Through interviews with community members, medical professionals, policy makers and government officials, I will gain an understanding of the system as well as an understanding of the perspectives on the system. The goal of this project is to be able to suggest changes in public health insurance policy and/or changes in the presentation of health insurance policy in order to more effectively provide access to health care.

The title of my blog is a common phrase used in the Dominican Republic that translates into “God willing”. I am grateful beyond words for the support that I have received from family and friends that has allowed me to partake in enriching experiences. As mom always says, you have to go with God’s grace. This trip has already been a blessing because it has exposed me to new areas of research, new resources at Yale, and a new passion.

I was speaking on the phone with my host mom the other day and I said “Nos vemos en una mes!” (We will see each other in one month) and she replied, “Si, si Dios quiere”.

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2 responses

9 12 2010
Mom

the first step in what will be an important lifelong journey….si Dios quiere

31 12 2010
MIMI

You have a special gift for listening with your heart! I know you will meet all the challenges ahead with your usual strength and with God’s grace.

Abrazos y besos

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