The Herald News (Fall River, Mass.) reported on Erin Cote ’14, who spent winter break in Guatemala bringing health care to people in makeshift clinics, churches and nutrition centers. The service trip was organized through Arcadia University and the organization Hearts in Motion. Cote is a Biology major in the Honors and Pre-Physician Assistant Programs.
During her visits to these remote villages, Cote said she saw ailments that she had never experienced before and would likely not find in the United States. She spoke of deformities among the children that would likely be treated at birth in the United States, but go unattended in their native country.
“You just see things that you’ve never heard of or seen before,” Cote said.
While moved by the conditions she experience, Cote said the native inhabitants were generally pleased to see the foreign visitors. She was further amazed at their excitement over receiving basic supplies and clothing that were donated by the group.
“They have so little they would fight for (the donations),” she said.
The trip also afforded some free time for the group to tour the forests and volcanos in the country and culminated with a visit to the resort town Antigua.
“I was amazed,” Cote said. “Guatemala is beautiful. I wasn’t expecting it to be like that. The people were very welcoming and the food was great.”Amongst the beauty though was the type of surprises that come with visiting a new country.
“When I first got there I noticed the men carried large guns or machetes everywhere,” she said. “It wasn’t intimidating, but I had never seen people carrying these things around like that.”
Now as she returns to classes and the daily life of being a college student, Cote said she already has the itch to return or add another country to her list.
“I would recommend people do this at least once in their life,” Cote said. “I can’t explain how amazing it is to just be able to help people like this. It’s life changing.”