On Thursday morning, we visited hospital Fernandez which is one of the top five hospitals within the city of Buenos Aires. Here we got to see what the hustle and bustle of a busy public hospital looks like. We learned about some of their challenges with things like budgets and staffing, their history, and some of their successes, such as being a world recognized HIV hospital.
We then got back together as a group to discuss what we learned, then we boarded the bus to the Evita Museum. Here at the museum we had lunch as a group in the spaces that used to be the kitchen of Evita’s women’s shelter.
After lunch we had some time to explore the botanical gardens. I was surprised with the variety of plants they had from all over the world. The interesting most thing I saw was the yerba mate plant, where the famous drink of Argentina is derived from. I took this time to find a nice bench in the garden and practiced sketching some of the plants, trees, and buildings that surrounded me.
Finally, it was time for the museum. We had a wonderful tour guide that walked us through the life of Evita (Eva Peron) from early childhood to death. I thought it was so cool to know that the same hallways we walked through on the tour were ones that Evita would walk through by herself daily. I also found it very unique that the stories and stages of her life were told through her dresses. She had an impressive sense of style and it was a very personal technique to connect the person with the history.
The rest of my day was then spent completing my final presentation for the next day. The presentation ended up going very well. I am proud of myself and my group for how we performed. I was also really appreciative for the feedback session we had today after the presentations. Austral and CAPA have both been so great and I hope with our feedback they can make the trip that much better for the years to come. During this session, I brought up how I wish learned more history about how Argentina’s health care system came to be. With reflection and suggestion, I now realize that the evolution the the current health care system have a lot to do with Evita and her husband.
During Evita’s time, she started a movement that overall changed the mentality of the Argentinian people. This mentality is that the poor are no less valuable than the rich, so basically a standard of equality. This is shown by the elegance of the building her women’s shelter was in. It was as if they lived in a luxury mansion, not because they could afford it but because Evita believed that all people deserved nice things and the means to a happy and healthy life. With Evita being such an icon and a role model to the nation of Argentina, this mentality is now shown in many current systems, specifically in health care. The current public system and public hospitals aim to provide the same level of care to the poor as they do to the rich. Although the goal is not always achieved, the motive for it shows how Evita’s regard for people of all walks of life still prevails in Argentina today. We also saw this in many of the professionals throughout the trip. They all have had a passion for helping others and providing the best care they have with their resources. In many ways, the hospital and clinic directors we have met closely resemble Evita, and her commitment to helping the poor in her facilities, with the way they manage their respective locations. In the same vain, I think the impact of Evita overall has inspired a very charitable society in Argentina. The people tend to care deeply for their neighbors, donate time and money to those in need, and respect the rights of everyone as well as the measures needed to protect those rights, even if it may not be ideal for them personally. I believe this culture of compassion and equality that we see in Argentina is quite beautiful and can serve as an example to societies in other parts of the world. It makes me even happier that these standards are set by a strong woman that the girls of Argentina and the world have to look to as an inspiration. The world could use more Evitas.