This post is written by guest writer and MEPN student, Matt Finley
“Give me your tired, your poor….” These iconic words have been the promise of hope that has brought immigrants to America for over 200 years. Just a few miles south of San Diego’s thriving downtown, a group of people waits for that promise to be fulfilled. They have made the best of their cramped living spaces and inadequate running water, but the stress of the ordeal is written all over their faces. Their living conditions have made them more susceptible to lice, scabies, and other diseases. Yet they drive on for the hope of a better future.
Several students and faculty from the Hahn School of Nursing (HSON) spent some time with these resilient people at the Embajadores de Jesus Refugee shelter. Working in collaboration with the Refugee Health Alliance (RFA), HSON students and faculty provided care at the shelter.
The HSON volunteers primarily provided nursing care with lice screenings and treatment. The students and faculty spent time getting to know the strong members of this community while providing treatment. Amazingly despite the living conditions, not one person complained. Instead, they offered to feed our group and share what little they had. It was both heartbreaking and encouraging to see that despite their condition, they still choose to be generous. We were thankful we were able restore basic comfort to over 35 children and several adults. However, as we rode away down the washed-out dirt road, we knew the work here is just beginning.