Christina Ashby is a sophomore Sociology & Anthropology major, and is the vice president of SGA in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences. She is also the founder and president of Global Brigades at the University.
Pace Press: What is Global Brigades? How did you become connected with it?
Christina Ashby: Over the summer, I was researching ways to help the community and found Global Brigades. The goal is to provide a sustainable growth model for the people we help. We go internationally to deliver care to people. It’s different from volunteer tourism in that instead of just building things for them, we help and empower the people who reside there.
PP: How did you go to Nicaragua?
CA: I organized the trip with the help of Cesar Ballesteros, VP of Medicine, Executive Vice President, Sherman Julmis, and Katie Miller, our New York State Advisor.
The program sites to choose from are Panama, Nicaragua, and Honduras. We partnered with the University of Arkansas, to go to Nicaragua. While we were there, we helped to see over a thousand patients, and they were able to receive care for various conditions.
PP: What conditions did the patients have? What resources did you provide?
CA: Some of them had parasites, because of lack of access to clean drinking water. Some of them had fever, flu-like symptoms. We were able to provide them with basic medication to solve those ailments, as well as access to multivitamins for the children and the adults. We also had a dental station, where they were able to have their teeth pulled because a lot of their teeth were rotting because they don’t have access to dental care at all. There was also an OB-GYN station, where the women were able to get tested for HPV. Children received fluoride treatments and learned about basic dental care.
PP: Where did you provide resources?
CA: We were set up in schools. There was a tenement place where they would have school. So inside the classroom is where we would set up our equipment.
PP: Is SGA connected to Global Brigades? How so?
CA: I was able to complete this with the support of SGA, because what we try to do is we try to provide for the needs of the students, and SGA and I believe that it would meet the needs of the students because there’s not only medical brigades, but there are business brigades, microfinance brigades, environmental brigades, basically something for every major. It gives people leadership positions, and it helps to give them a sense of higher purpose and community, to help out their fellow mankind. We could have multiple ones per year, if people were willing to do that. Right now, we have one a year, during spring break. It’s student-led. I led the people there.
PP: What do you plan to do in the future?
CA: One day I hope to work for Doctors Without Borders, to help give care to those who do not have access to it.