I started in Asesoria Nutricional para el Desarrollo Armonico (ANDA), which is a beautifully decorated alternative health clinic and community center that our mentor and professor, Dr. Angel Pichardo, created for the barrio.
You're faced with brightly colored walls as you enter. The immediate scent of freshly brewed tea and incense drift from room to room. A lively garden of plants is used directly for treatments.
From the moment I met Dr. Pichardo, I was inspired and intrigued by his work and the positive energy he radiates all around him. He connects the health of the body with a holistic approach, which is mainly connecting your mind, body, and lifestyle into the process of healing.
It's something about the way his voice flows with comfort, the eagerness he triggers through his insight, and this playful sense of humor that drives the room into a surge of laughter.
Through observing Dr. Pichardo's routine, the plants, and the patients' reflections, I considered how different the clinic was from those in the United States. The setting was calming, welcoming, and spread a sense of positive energy because it took note of the importance of environmental health in the healing process.
You walk in the door and almost feel like you enter a new world because it contrasts with the bustle around it. ANDA triggered an extreme curiosity into this type of healing because I could see the wonders these treatments were doing for the patients. I stood with wide eyes at our last patient visit and complimented Dr. Pichardo in how he alleviated a woman's diabetes and hypertension after only three months of treatment in the clinic.
He simply responded by pointing to a sign in the front of the office, which says, "Aqui creemos en los milagros," "We believe in miracles here."
--Jennifer Zahn '15, biology and society