Savannah sits among the hanging Spanish Moss which presents a haunting glare on the city. In this mysterious haunting city, there lies a free health clinic named St. Mary’s Health Center. It is here that my second volunteer year begins.
When I decided to move back to Georgia after a year in California, I thought the adjustment would be easy. For the most part, it is. There are some things that I did not expect to take with me from my previous volunteer year. I had spent one year in a community of five in dry North California and now live a community of three in humid South Georgia. In California, being environmentally friendly is very easy. There is a truck that comes and picks up the recycling. On the streets, there is a recycling bin right next to the trash. Here in Georgia, we have to take our recycling to a facility; making it a little out of the way. I found myself being even more conscious of recycling in Georgia than I ever was in California. Here, I try to bring reusable bags to the grocery store, I try to use washable towels instead of paper napkins, so as not to have waste. Due to my experience in California, I am able to take that environmental aspect with me throughout my life.
This year with my new service site, I am closer to the healthcare field, which is an area that I hold close to my heart. I enjoy working in the clinic because it does show me a different side of health care. I not only see what it is like to run and operate, but I also am able to utilize my degree in Public Health. I witness which health issues are prevalent among those who are uninsured in Savannah. It has shown me just how important health education is around utilizing the services of a doctor’s office. Many patients come wanting immediate services because they are so used to going to an emergency room for their health. The idea of preventative care is a stretch for many. It has been important to stress the need for patients to come before something serious happens. I am proud to see how the clinic has helped many people manage health; something that may not have been possible for many of the patients before.
My own experience has been slowly shaped by both of my service years. As I am applying for medical school, I wanted to spend my second year doing something that involves health while witnessing it for those who are lower income. I like that this year I am meeting people face to face. I get to interact with different people as well as hear their stories. I see the barrier to health in the medical field and as such it has made me more aware of what others go through. That is something that I will definitely take with me.
Morgan Stuckey: Savannah, Georgia