“You can, after an experience of this kind, one return while preserving its name and profession as they were before you go… but never again be the same.” I am Juncal, a rookie nurse, newly graduated by the University of Oviedo, Spain. I had the immense good fortune to be one of the eight selected people for an experience of volunteering, in my case in El Alto (Bolivia), and for ten weeks and a half. It all started quite a few years ago, with a concern that is not satisfied with the experiences of volunteering was looking for and taking in different parts of Spain, a naive concern of “go to help where needed it”. When he was about to finish the race, I learned of the existence of the cooperating University project (promoted by Caritas and the University of Oviedo, in collaboration with the Principality of Asturias) and not hesitate to sign up, with that had a very remote that possibility finally could satisfy my concerns and fulfill a dream.
After spending the entire selection process, came the incredible news accompanied by plenty of fears and uncertainties: will be ready? I have something to contribute there? how so I’ll? After a few weeks of training, change objectives and purposes and to begin to see the world in a different way, the time of travel to Bolivia, to the North (and all that that entails) to undertake the journey to the South. Reach Bolivia brought a radical change in my life: was single, living with some nuns over eight thousand kilometers away from my house and was going to exercise, for the first time as a nurse and in a completely unknown place for me.
At the end of the first week I had already given account of one of the best “secrets” living in the South: how incredibly lucky that was by being there and to have a totally different perspective of what was and had been my life in Gijón up to date. At the end of the second week the feelings of homesickness were being replaced by the convenience in my new routine, in my new home and that had become my new family. I spent most of my days working as a volunteer nurse in the Center maternal child Santa Maria degli Angeli (CMISMA), especially in the area of nursing and emergency care queries. Also I attended once a week home Virgen de la Esperanza, a shelter home for babies and children left behind (in the most hostile conditions) by their families. The weeks they followed one another, and in a twinkling of an eye, he was going to the airport to begin the journey from South to North… with a great sadness, a very deep gratitude and the promise of return. Now that I see this experience with a little perspective, I can say that the stay in Bolivia has been one of the greatest gifts in my life.
Despite going with ticket back and proceed in a “rich” country, nobody I never judged or discriminated against me: on the contrary, I felt welcome from the first minute. They gave me the best they had, knowing citizens of a country “depleted”. They helped me, taught me, took care of me… because it was who needed help really was me, because “the North” should learn from “the South” and fail to impose what they think they need, because they are as capable as we accomplish what he proposed, but do not want to see. With all this, I’m back to being Juncal, I’m still a rookie nurse… but something has changed within me. I have learned to value things that formerly did not appreciate, I’ve known the “nursing of survival”, I left a piece of my heart in Bolivia e, even got to change my accent and vocabulary to the Latin Spanish. Because if we do not start by ourselves, how can we change the world?
Juncal Balbona Rodriguez