The Aha Moment

Throughout the year, Sacred Valley Health hosts various volunteer high school and university groups comprised of students interested in global health. We are currently gearing up for a summer full of university volunteers!

Groups are incredible assets to SVH, because they generously donate their time, skills and resources as they work alongside us in fulfilling our mission of providing health education in rural Andean communities.

SUNY Brockport student volunteers teach the community members of T’astayoc about contraception options.
SUNY Brockport student volunteers teach the community members of T’astayoc about contraception options.

During their time volunteering, groups learn all about the organization, the health care available in the Sacred Valley and how SVH’s promotoras (community health workers) are working hard to educate their neighbors and improve the overall health of their communities.

Some students may think that the most fun part of the trip is eating the different foods or experiencing the different culture. For me, though, the most enjoyable part of these trips is seeing the students experience their “aha”, or “light bulb” moments. At one moment, they are speaking with a community member about nutrition or teaching a child the proper way to wash his hands, and in the next moment, everything suddenly clicks.

The students begin to understand that by teaching a child to brush his/her teeth, the child continue to spread healthy living habits by teaching others. They begin to realize that health education is in these isolated communities is both extremely scarce and extremely necessary. They also begin to see the need for trained promotoras in these isolated communities and better appreciate SVH’s work.

SUNY Brockport nursing student assists a child washing her hands.
SUNY Brockport nursing student assists a child washing her hands.
Girl from Huilloc sings a song in her head to time her teeth brushing.
Girl from Huilloc sings a song in her head to time her teeth brushing.

Their eyes sparkle as they share with me these moments, and the excitement is evident in their voices. That sparkle and excitement is what all of us at SVH have experienced and are so happy to share with our groups and visitors. I’m looking forward to more sparkle and excitement this summer!

SVH employee helps SUNY Brockport students make teaching aids for the nutrition lesson.
SVH staff member helps SUNY Brockport students make teaching aids for the nutrition lesson.

–Written by Christiana Jones, Groups Coordinator

Interested in visiting SVH with a group? Email Christiana for more information: partnerships@sacredvalleyhealth.org

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