This summer, a long-time dream turned into an unforgettable life-changing experience for science student Anisha Tailor. An outgoing individual at heart, Tailor has always been open to a variety of career paths but it was her trip to Guatemala that really sparked a change.
A fourth-year Honours Biology student, Tailor recently returned from a 12-day medical volunteer trip in Guatemala with Volunteers for Intercultural and Definitive Adventures (VIDA). VIDA is a non-profit organization that coordinates medical, dental and veterinary relief trips in Central America.
Tailor was part of a team of student volunteers, interpreters and local doctors that visited three remote rural villages and treated a total of 588 patients.
She worked in a small group with other volunteers to help diagnose patients, take vital signs and prescribe medication at elementary school clinics in the Guatemalan villages of El Tunino, La Libertad and Oratario Chuaxic.
One of her most memorable experiences occurred when she helped diagnose a nine-year-old boy with depression. The child was experiencing symptoms of appetite loss, weight loss and mood swings, but thanks to Tailor’s correct diagnostic they were able to help him start his recovery.
It was really emotional because I had gone through a similar experience,” says Tailor. “The boy found out his grandfather had died from someone at school because his parents hadn’t told him. He felt like he had no one to talk to.”
As a science student, Tailor has always had interest in biology and medical service. This trip has given her a new perspective on the world and a new direction in life.
There was a point during the trip where I stopped and experienced the moment. I realized that I would be really happy doing something like this for the rest of my life, living a life in the service of others,” says Tailor.
In the future, she hopes to attend medical school and become a doctor, bringing healthcare to not only those that can afford it but to anyone who needs it. For Tailor, Guatemala will forever remain as a place of incredible memories, new discoveries and affirmation.
I’ve always loved learning,” says Tailor. “But now I’m even more excited because I know where I’m headed.”