My name is Silvana Arevalo, and I am a Mercy Volunteer in Baltimore, MD, working…
The past few months of service have changed my perspective on almost everything in life. They have made me realize a few things I took for granted and a few things I have never noticed before…
- Since I am physically so far away I come to notice and appreciate my friends and family more and I how much I miss and love them.
- Living off of a monthly stipend has been teaching me to appreciate each dollar and be so thankful this is not my permanent situation as it is for many of the people I am serving. It also gave me the opportunity to figure out what I really need in my daily life and what I could probably live without.
- Working at Mercy Medical has made me thankful for my health and for my education to be able to take care of my patients at the lowest and most vulnerable time in their life. It has also helped me narrow down what I might want to do in the future after my service year, which before had been a huge question mark.
- Working with the marginalized in Baltimore has made me realize that illness doesn’t discriminate. Pneumonia doesn’t always occur in a person who can afford to take time off, cancer doesn’t always occur in a person with health insurance to afford the expensive treatments, and chronic back pain that requires narcotic pain medication to manage daily activities doesn’t always happen to the person that lives in a single home without the fear of people stealing their much-needed medications. Illnesses happen to anyone at any time and regardless of financial stability or life plans. Often, it seems the ones most affected are those who live on the streets, have no health insurance, and are unable to take preventative measures. The marginalized in our societies are in need not only in the hospital but also in preventative care before illnesses happen or after a hospital stay. That’s why education is so important in the hospital for these patients so that they can be informed on how to avoid the issue again if possible.
- Occasionally riding the bus has given me a newfound respect for those who use the bus as their only form of transportation.
- Living with my community has taught me about their cultures and life experiences, they give me support and friendship. We truly have become a ‘framily’ and I am so thankful to live with these inspiring women.
This experience has given me so many things to be thankful for and even though there are days when I miss my old life, spending money on a whim, or the physical closeness I used to have with my friends and family, I’m so happy and proud that I chose this path for myself. I would do so again in a heartbeat.
Without Mercy Volunteer Corps I would not have experienced these positive changes in my life!
Rebecca Schneider: Baltimore, Maryland