Similarly to last week, today we are bringing you another individual’s story of their experiences volunteering with GRM. We hope you find his story as poignant and valuable as we do!
“While here in Reynosa, I quit my job to fully commit to this. GRM has been an amazing stepping stone for me and I plan to continue volunteering with them in the future. They allowed me to do short-term volunteer trips while I was still working and helped me network with other humanitarian workers and organizations. Additionally, GRM was a great reintroduction to serving abroad while queer. All of the local staff and volunteers welcomed me with loving and outstretched arms.” – Kirby, GRM Volunteer Nurse
Above: Kirby, a GRM volunteer nurse and the author of this story.
My name is Kirby. I have a Master’s Degree in Nursing from Johns Hopkins, and I am a GRM Reynosa volunteer. When volunteering with GRM I see my role as support staff to the local team. They know the system, the people, the common ailments of their patients, etc. I’m here to help them and their goals, so whatever tasks will make their jobs and lives easier, is what I want to do.
Most of of the local staff have multiple jobs in addition to working with GRM, and if I can limit their burn out, then I’ve done my job. I try to come in full of energy, so I see my role as one of sustainability that is much needed on this project because of the difficult conditions both patients and staff face each day.
Louvens (pictured right with Kirby), is on GRM’s Team Reynosa and serves as a translator. Louvens was born in Haiti and traveled to the Dominican Republic when he was 5 years old. At 27, he saved up enough money to move to Brazil, where he lived for seven years working to save up more money and begin his travel to America. At the age of 34, he started his three-year journey to Reynosa.
He traveled alone, using a paper map for his trip. He often met other migrants, although he did the majority of the trip with eight other men who he met along the way.
He bused from Brazil to Colombia, then spent five days crossing the jungle to Panama. They ran out of food on the third day, and struggled to finish the trip. Louvens called it “la routa de la muerte” (the route of death), and said he saw numerous bodies along the trail that seem to have starved to death, were too injured to continue, or were stabbed or violated along the way.
Once out of the jungle and in Panama, he continued the rest of the way by bus through Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras to Guatemala to Mexico. At each border, they met with immigration to get permission to pass through the country.
Once in Reynosa, he lived on the streets for nearly a month before finally gaining entry to one of the local shelters. He now has access to one free meal a day in exchange for contributing to the shelter. Cooking, cleaning, child care, orientation, and construction are a few of the ways people can contribute.
As a former translator in Brazil, Louvens was excited to put his experience to use at the GRM clinic. Louvens and I worked great together triaging patients prior to them seeing the doctors for consultation. He is one of the many team members I am excited to work with again.
Please contribute today…
GRM cannot continue to meet the needs of patients like the woman in this story without your financial support. in order to maintain our mission of delivering emergency medical care and humanitarian relief to displaced populations affected by conflict and crisis around the globe, we MUST raise $400,000 before the end of 2022
Please consider making a donation TODAY in order to help us fill this gap. If not today, then please keep us in mind during the upcoming Giving Season this year.
The men, women, and children we serve in our clinics every day need us, and they need YOU. We owe it to them to ask you directly, and urgently, for your assistance. We’re deeply grateful for your consideration.
The GRM Team