Luck, Adventure and Inspiration – A French Intern

We were lucky enough to have Mariam Soumah  intern with us for a month in the Portland Health In Harmony office. She was a wonderful addition to the office and did a lot of great work in the short time she was here. This is her account of her time with HIH. Thanks for all you did, Mariam!

Guest blog by Mariam Soumah

Mariam with the Portland Health In Harmony staff, new and old.

Mariam with the Portland Health In Harmony staff, from the recently started (Trina Jones and Kelsey Hartman) to the recently departed (Rosevan Vickery, Sally Oakes, and Tammy Teske). Thank you, Rosevan, Sally, Tammy, and Mariam for all your hard work, and best of luck with your new adventures! You're missed in the office. L to R: (back row) Mariam, Sally Oakes, Michelle Bussard, Trina Jones; (front row) Rosevan Vickery, Kelsey Hartman, Tammy Teske.

After a month volunteering at Health In Harmony, I can say this organization is sustainable and effective.

Luck and adventure spirit bring me here. I’ve never heard of Health In Harmony before wanting to move in Portland for summer holidays.

Actually, I’m a 6th year medical student in Paris, France. All medical students have 3-4 months off after their final exam, which will determine what specialty we will practice. That’s a long time and I didn’t want to do lazy things. I’ve always wanted to spend some time in US but not only for holiday. I’ve done some voluntary work (mostly physical) in France then I’ve thought why not in US.

When my counselor proposed this organization I thought that it may suit me due to my background and convictions.

I landed in Portland in mid-June. At my first day I met the whole Portland’s staff. Four women, four personalities (working in harmony) but one strong conviction in what they’re doing. I guess you have to when you do such a thing. I’ve been really well welcomed and felt at ease very fast even if I’ve get trouble to talk and understand English.

I’ve never worked in an organization from inside before. So I learned what each person does, how calm and patient you might need to be from some issue, how hard it is to raise money, to find donors, to set up a fund raising campaign.....and to find an X-ray image processor! During these weeks, I got to know HIH more and more by going through diverse reports and translating the website in French. I guess I quite know most of HIH's amazing programs. Some people may say without knowing “HIH, that's a utopia (your model)”. Well, that's a utopia that actually works!!!!Which helps people, family, community and environment with its flora and fauna. Over these weeks, I get to know HIH's staff too. How involved, passionate they were. Wanting to help from the other side of the planet. In medicine we would say they've found their vocation.

So now that I'm leaving these members, heartbroken, I hope I will continue to take part as I can to this great project. There are some meetings that make you grow. And I've been here when two majors fundraising nights were settled!!!

And some French for those you would understand Merci à HIH et à son staff Michelle, Kelsey, Rosevan et Trina pour tout. J'espère que nous resterons en contact.

Bisous ou hug (as custom in US),



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