Updated: Oct 14
Recently, I spoke with Dr. Patricia Santos Pimentel, an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist who volunteers at Ammar Transforma, Happy Child’s Brazilian partner in Recife’s Coque community. I asked Dr Patricia Santos Pimentel some questions about her volunteering role.
What is your profession and where did you train? I am an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist and I trained here in Recife. I do an Ear Nose and Throat clinic every other Thursday. On Thursday evenings I also participate in the Bible School that Ammar Transforma hosts for the families and children in the community.
What are the most common problems that community members come with? Most community members come with common allergies or infections. Sinusitis is quite a common ailment. They live in precarious and poor housing conditions where there is a lot of damp. Infections are easily picked up, especially by the children. I have one or two helpers who assist me in looking after both the parents and the children. Just a little bit of medical assistance can make a big difference.
What is compassion to you? When you put yourself in the place of another and you want to alleviate that person’s suffering. The children in our community don’t always have a lot of love in their homes. I think I can help, and I can be a channel of love to some of the families and children I attend.
What do you like most about Ammar Transforma? I really enjoy the relationships. The relationships with the team, with the children and young people, with the families. Helping out feels like a really positive exchange. I receive so much more than I give.
What do you find most difficult about the work? It’s very challenging to work in such a poor community. My own situation is very different to those I am helping. It’s important that all of us visit the homes of those we are assisting and that we understand their reality, understand their context. As a team we support each other and ensure these home visits happen regularly.
What motivates you to continue? I think the community feels our love and commitment towards them. I think we are making a difference to individual lives in many small different ways. This motivates me to keep going, to to not feel overwhelmed.
What do you notice about the children you help? I notice that the children feel loved, protected and accepted by our team. They feel looked out for. I notice the simplicity of their joy, their enthusiasm and excitement when they are with us. I am challenged by their joy when they have so little. Coming to join in our activities is a really positive thing for them.
What do you notice about the families? I think they take what we do here seriously, and they want to be committed to the programmes we run. They know there are opportunities for them and their children.
What do you notice about the team? They are committed, passionate and dedicated to the vision they have for this community.
Dr. Patricia Santos Pimentel, an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist who volunteers at Ammar Transforma, Happy Child’s Brazilian partner in Recife’s Coque community.
Written by: Caroline Taylor, Head of Operations at Happy Child