With 2015 coming to an end and reflection being a natural occurrence with the coming of a new year, we decided to think about something from our past. We invited a past participant of Project Amazon, Cindy Frey, to share her experience with the project and life after.
When talking about her time in Parintins, Brazil, her favorite aspect of the entire experience was immersing herself in a new culture and offering services that were very needed. The clinic also provided her opportunities to visit a deaf school nearby to learn about deaf culture in the Brazil.
“I’m very interested in Deaf culture and went to a deaf university, so I wanted to see how they taught their students.”
Although the language barrier was a challenge, Cindy said the clinic felt like home because of the strong sense of community. She grew up in a small town raised by everybody, so Parintins truly felt like going home again.
Life After Project Amazon
Leaving Parintins, Brazil after the program was difficult. She described it as, “I wasn’t ready to leave. I wasn’t a full doctor of audiology, but I could see how my skills were helping.”
Even though working in another country has its differences, there were many learnings that Cindy now uses with her patients here in the United States.
“When you’re working in another language, you don’t have the luxury to play with words. You learn to give clear directions with as little words as possible. At the school where I currently work, there is a large number of Spanish speaking students, so I use my experience communicating with people who speak a different language a lot.”
Overall, Cindy describes her experience in Parintins with Project Amazon as life changing, beautiful and memorable. She said she thinks about her experience daily and still keeps in touch with the friends she made there. Cindy has since graduated and begun working for a school district. Because she has summers off, she is looking into humanitarian work in South America.
To conclude, Cindy provided this piece of advice for those looking into humanitarian work in the future:
“Don’t do it if you don’t have a passion for it. Do it for the right reasons. From there you can explore what your strengths are and what you can offer. Provide them a need.”