Fellowship Profiles

Naomi Villalpando

El Hospital Nacional de Ninos (via ISA-ELAP) San Jose, Costa Rica

by Naomi Villalpando |

Class of 2014
Jean Donovan Fellow Summer 2013
El Hospital Nacional de Ninos (via ISA-ELAP) San Jose, Costa Rica


In the beginning, I was having a difficult time with my purpose and feeling a bit insignificant. I kept rummaging through my brain for the answer as to what my purpose was. Days of witnessing these sick children, I was feeling a bit useless, they seemed to need things I couldn’t provide for them; medicine, surgery, or cures. I kept them company while wishing them well so they could go home and no longer need my company. I was overwhelmed and emotionally drained some days. One evening, I came across a short essay written by Pablo Neruda titled, “Childhood and Poetry.” One main quotations stuck out for me, “But to feel affection that comes from those whom we do not know, from those unknown to us, who are watching over our sleep and solitude, over our dangers and our weaknesses- that is something still greater than and more beautiful because it widens out the boundaries of our being and unite all living things.” For Neruda, his purpose, his poetry is to unite humans. He goes on to explain so long as one person reads and is somehow moved or inspired by his poetry, he has given himself purpose. Through his writing, he is creating connections between himself and the reader which in turn brings individuals together.  I realized, in my own way, keeping the children company was maybe my poetry. And maybe, we’re united for those moments or maybe we are not but I think a connection is created even if it doesn’t last for a while. I maybe be getting more out of these interactions and perhaps that’s wrong or defeats my purpose but hopefully its widening boundaries, at least a bit.

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