Looking out of the window as the plane glided above Detroit on our way back to Michigan was dreadfully depressing. The week in Brownsville, Texas flew by and it was business as usual Monday morning. Except it wasn’t. Sure, I was tired, cranky, hungry and running behind. A typical Monday for me. But, today, I felt more prepared to tackle my assignments, group interactions, writing, and my public health career in general. Fueled by the experiences and the interactions I’d had in Brownsville, Texas during our PHAST trip, helped me to push through the day, knowing the end goal for me is to serve as a public health practitioner.
One thing that I will carry with me long after my experience in Texas is my desire to help children. At Walmart our first night, two parents were purchasing groceries; some random things and baby formula for their infant in tow. When their bill got to be more than they could manage, they put all the baby formula back. This caused me to consider the health of the child and the options the parents have to maintain the child’s health with limited resources.
The obesity rate for Brownsville is 80%! Teen pregnancy rate is also very high, which accounts for more than 40 schools in the region. In the more impoverished communities such as Southmost in Brownsville, many of the houses are surrounded by fences, debris, and a lot miscellaneous items that if a child were to be around, could become seriously injured.
Having experienced another culture for 6 days, the little things that used to irk me I allow to roll off my back. I plan to take Sam Sparks advice, practice random acts of kindness, and consider the bigger picture, the larger battles to fight that start with the health of the nations most innocent, children.