Not many people have what it takes to live in a foreign country for several years, putting their own priorities aside in order to help others. However, this week’s spotlight features one of these people.
Maria A. spent several years overseas in Central Asia teaching modern nursing techniques to the medical professionals of the community. While working through a governmental agency, her mission was to ensure those in the community were equipped with the knowledge and skills to teach others what they had learned.
Maria recently returned to the region to visit a few of her previous students who are now in their 40s. Maria was thrilled to see that they were continuing their work within the community. “These people do not get paid much, so they really are doing this all for their people and their community,” Maria said.
Not only did Maria revisit the community she had previously lived and served in for seven years, but she also traveled to refugee camps in the area. Maria worked with the free mobile clinics to bring ultrasound machines to camps where many pregnant women reside. She was grateful to be part of a group of people who could make a difference in the lives of those in need.
“I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I love connecting with people and have learned how to listen more.”
Like many others who love medical TV dramas such as Grey’s Anatomy or ER, Maria was drawn to the field of nursing because of a popular medical drama in the 70s called Emergency! “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I love connecting with people and have learned how to listen more.”
Outside of work, Maria lives a very active lifestyle and enjoys activities such as reading, swimming, biking and jogging. She has a passion for helping children because it is so rewarding to work with some of the most vulnerable people who need our help.
The one thing Maria is most grateful for after her extended period overseas is her sense of humor. Maria used to be a serious person, but her experiences have taught her how to laugh. She says that these attributes – not taking things too seriously, knowing how to laugh and staying positive – are so important in life. Maria hopes to one day return to the place that taught her these valuable skills.