Gainesville, FL | Medicine, Health and Society, Pre-Nursing Track | 2017
Bri Grantham, from Gainesville, FL, is a MHS major who is working toward a degree on the Pre-Nursing tract. Due to the funds provided by the Nichols Humanitarian Fund, she will be traveling to Quito, Ecuador through the Office of Active Citizenship and Service. This summer, she will have the opportunity to serve the Ecuadorian community alongside members of the Yanapuma Foundation. Bri and her cohort will be working with various schools to aid disadvantaged or disabled children and adolescents while living with local families. She is excited about the prospect of serving the global community, working with children and adolescents, and to learn from the individuals she will be serving.
To read more about Bri’s experiences in Ecuador, please visit her page on the Ecuador 2017 Cohort blog.
Final Blog Post:
Because different identities are influential in the way that individuals experience life as well as how they’re perceived, I think it is appropriate to begin reflecting on my trip to Ecuador with a conversation about race. Although I’m completely aware that my black skin is a target in just about every area of the globe, I still somehow managed to fail to expect the hypervisibility that I experienced in Quito. Most of the people I had the opportunity to interact with were incredibly amiable; I did let some men’s catcalls, which inevitably included some type of play on the pigmentation of my black skin, get under my skin. Even without attempting to be offensive, some individuals have felt the need to place me, letting me know that I could easily pass for someone from the Chota or Esmeralda regions. I think that it would be insightful to include readings or conversations about race as it would affect the individuals who are preparing to embark on this OACS trip as well as every other OACS trip, as race and ethnicity is a pertinent issue everywhere.
The question of whether the Ecuador cohort’s service was addressing any systemic issues in Quito surfaced during several of our weekly discussions. Although assisting schools with small monetary donations and volunteer work is beneficial on a smaller scale, we didn’t address the issue of the strikingly low graduation rate or of children from poorer families not receiving the opportunity to attend university. Although we learned that Afro-Ecuadorian people are disenfranchised and discriminated against, we didn’t spend any time working within their communities and, instead, were introduced to many stereotypes by Ecuadorian individuals of other ethnicities. A better way to have spent our service, if we were attempting to address systematic issues, would have been with pre-existing foundations and organizations that were founded in order to empower those within marginalized communities to actualize the civil liberties that they have been robbed of.