Hi everyone! I’m excited to be working as an intern with Sarvodaya USA this summer, and thought I’d take this time to share a little bit of my story.
I first found out about the earthquake from my lab mentor, Zach, who texted me while I was at the farmers market early on a Saturday morning. It said “glad you’re not in Nepal right now!” Initially confused, I checked the internet homepage, and sure enough, I learned of the massive earthquake that devastated Nepal. I was heartbroken for the people, the infrastructure, and selfishly, for what was going to become of our trip.
To be honest, Nepal wasn’t always on my top list of places to visit or serve. I speak Mandarin Chinese, so I always envisioned myself attending a field experience in China. Something about Nepal struck me, though, when I talked with the Global Health certificate staff, and especially when I heard students from last year speaking about their passion and excitement for their trip and the experiences they’d had in Nepal.
Once I made the plunge and signed up, I was thrilled. I researched Nepali culture, learned several words and phrases, and made packing lists, ensuring I would be 100% ready when the plane left the runway. I constantly wanted to learn more about the country, the culture, and the people. I even wrote a research paper on maternal mortality in Nepal for my public health class. I learned about the current initiatives in place to alleviate high maternal mortality rates, and hoped that I could learn more about these plans when I visited in May.
When I learned the trip was cancelled, I understood. Of course I was disappointed, but realized it was the best decision at the time, albeit a difficult one. The certificate leaders presented us with several different options to fulfill our field experience credit. However I truly felt connected to Nepal, and didn’t want it to end just like that. When the opportunity arose for me to intern with Sarvodaya, I jumped at the chance. I knew I could make a difference from the United States this summer, and that someday I can make it to Nepal to see everything I learned about firsthand.
The only issue with my new plan was my summer job: I do malignant melanoma research at the Mayo Clinic, and I had already committed to my third summer as a researcher. We worked it out, and decided I could use the fact that I would be in Minnesota as an asset. I could spread the word about Sarvodaya to Minnesota and beyond, breaking it out of Madison and providing unique connections and perspectives. So far, it has been working very well! There are over 250 summer interns at Mayo Clinic in various programs, and I have set up a fun Yoga/Zumba fundraiser event targeted to them, my church, and other nonprofit organizations in Rochester who are willing to spread the word. I hope these events will raise money, awareness, and insight to how students like me and the other interns can make a difference from afar.
If you’re interested in hearing about the work I’m doing in Rochester, MN, or how all of the interns are helping in Madison, please stay tuned to this blog or join the email list. Each of the interns are working on unique and exciting projects, and I hope we are fulfilling our goal of raising money for earthquake relief, and spreading the word about the wonderful organization, Sarvodaya USA!