I grew up in a Mexican household and ninety percent of my city’s population are Hispanic and speak Spanish. Mexico was only a 15 minute drive away from me, just to give you an idea how heavily the Mexican culture is imposed and practiced in my hometown. I didn’t realize how much I would miss my culture and speaking Spanish until I arrived in DC. However, when I do my volunteer work at La Clinica, it feels like I never left home. I believe that that is their overarching goal- to make people feel at home when their far away from it. La Clinica Del Pueblo, a health center that serves the Latino and immigrant populations in Washington, DC has taught me the importance of understanding peoples’ cultures and language to assure quality healthcare which exemplifies what my multicultural health class lectures.
Although I did not do much interaction with patients as I wanted to, I continued to speak in Spanish with the staff members and was happy to help in any way I could. Most of my work was to chronologically organize translators’ files and cut out newspaper articles and magazines that mentioned La Clinica. This work may sound bland and mundane, but completing these assignments meant that I took extra weight off an employee’s shoulders. What I truly appreciated it was that the staff assured that my work was not in vain and was valued. They would always say thank you to me and sometimes even paid for my lunch when I went out with them. La Clinica has become my second home and I have become closed to the staff. I plan to continue to volunteer La Clinica and I’m in the process of helping create an American University La Clinica Del Pueblo chapter on campus to foster volunteer opportunities and events.