Mairi Mcatamney '22

HerCampus: Hi Mairi! When I first met you, I learned that you were bilingual. What also stood out to me was that you have such a strong passion for the medical field. You mentioned a service trip that greatly impacted you the summer before senior year of high school. Can I ask you some questions about this service trip, as many incoming freshmen have not gone international to do service?

Mairi Mcatamney: Yeah, of course! I did service through Summit in Honduras and Interact, a rotary affiliated club that does all of their medical and education-related service trips in Honduras. For this specific trip, we went to Santa Barbara, Honduras.

HC: When you arrived there, what specific service did you do?

MM: The initial idea that the organization sold us was we were going to help build a school in the mountains. But when we got there, everything changed. There was not a set plan when we arrived, which was odd. They ended up assigning us to different schools to rebuild and repaint desks, which I only did for two out of the eight days.

HC: If you did not repaint desks, what did you do?

MM: Well, you see, after painting all day in the humidity, my feet swelled to a freakishly large size. So I could not do that anymore. My host mom knew one of the doctors at the local hospital and wanted me to go on a tour of what rotary has done for the hospital. After I did this, I was able to get involved at the hospital. This included sympathizing and talking with families, learning about their healthcare system, shadowing a major doctor at the hospital, and seeing various medical cases (from a broken pinky to a baby being born).

HC: Out of all those experiences you had at the hospital, which experience impacted you the most?

MM: Well, there were two that really affected me. I met a mother that had come in with her daughter, who had a severe case of cerebral palsy. She was blind, could not walk, could not speak, had an intellectual disability, and was deaf in one ear. The mother told me that, right after birth, the doctors estimated her daughter had only two weeks to live. The girl is now 11. Her mother quit her job to take on the difficult task of caring for her daughter full-time, yet she told me over and over how blessed she was and that her daughter was a gift from God. The mother was touched by her daughter, which touched me. The other instance was when a woman came in and gave birth to a very premature baby, and I was there as they were taking the baby away and the mother was reaching out, screaming for her baby. I was present while the doctor had to go to the father and grandmother to tell them the baby was not going to make it. These experiences taught me so much and will forever stay with me.

HC: Wow, those are incredible and heartbreaking experiences that you have had. I am so glad I got to hear your testament of the power service can have. Thank you so much for meeting with me.