Save Lives and Have More Smiles

 November 18, 2014

By: Natali S. Rivera

On the balcony of her first very own home, Victoria was sitting down in an old chair, classifying small clothes. “I’d rather go naked through life, perhaps even in the same clothes every day, but they do not deserve this.”  I was shocked, I still didn’t understand what she was talking about. Nude? She’s crazy!

Her dull eyes looked very tired, but her brilliant smile on her cute round face was her energy. ” If you’re a nurse why do you collect clothes? You don’t seem to be poor.”  She responded, she didn’t look poor spiritually, because many wealthy people that she knew were three times poorer than her because of their selfishness and miserable heart.

Born in January 10 of 1980, Victoria knew perfectly what it was to be poor. She was the youngest of four children. Her mother had to make a decision; she could only stay with two children so she could work in the city while the other two had to stay with their grandparents.

Victoria and her only brother stayed with their mother. “At first, it was a relief, but my brother and I didn’t know what was really going to happen,” she said. “We moved to different houses more than seven times. Sometimes my mom didn’t have much to feed us, but we never went hungry. My mom was and is a warrior.”

Smiling, Victoria recalled that every year her mother gave her the same doll for Christmas. To change a little the game, she used to play as a nurse with her doll. The serum was a piece of stick, and the needles were rocks. Her mother contributed in her game, she was very patient. “My Christmas were poor, and every year were poorer, but they never were boring. “

Since childhood, Victoria loved to play as a nurse, but her first role model was her sister-in-law, Catalina, who was a real nurse. At the age of 19 Victoria told her mother she wanted to become a nurse. At first she completed an 1st associate degree in nursing on an institute in San Sebastian. Later on, in her 20s she decided to enter a university. Her mom supported her and she entered the Adventist school of Nursing, in UAA, in Mayagüez.

“The path wasn’t easy, I met my husband at the age of 21 and at 22 I had my first daughter. She was premature, so I decided to work as a nurse until she was a little bit more grown up and continue to finish my bachelor at the same time. It was a much sacrificed time, I remember I worked by day and at nights, I took the classes of my bachelors with my daughter in arms.”

At the age of 24 Victoria was already a graduated nurse. She started working in the Bella Vista Hospital in Mayagüez, where she renewed her thinking and saw many cases.  Her favorite cases were the surgical ones and she has strong memories about one particular case.

“It a newborn baby. In the emergency room the parents were asking for help, as soon as I get closer, the baby stoped breathing. It was a horrible moment. The only thing I could think of was on my daughter. Nervous, on my first emergency case, I gave him CPR and stabilized him. I saved a life!”

Over two years in the hospital, Victoria saw people in need and remembered her childhood. The hospital and the Adventist church had an organization A.D.R.A (Adventist development and relief agency) so she decided to be part of this movement. “Now I understand why you were classifying clothes,” I said. She responded with a wink. Her blonde short hair covered her eyes, but I knew something was going on. With tears on her face she told me that she would love to give more to needed children, but only one person couldn’t do all the work. After finishing the classifying, she invited me to the A.D.R.A. office were clothes, food and toys were going to be placed to be distributed worldwide.

I was amazed by the sight. It was like factory of cloth, canned food and toys. Everything was very well done, and all the things placed in that huge and colorful office seemed to be new. The director of ADRA, also doctor in the Bella Vista hospital started to talk with me.

He told me that there were very few people are committed to this causes. He said patients and staff love Victoria because of her huge and humble heart. “Only a woman with faith could have this strength to give others what she has and not leftovers,” the doctor said.

I asked Victoria what her satisfaction was and why her job is important for society “My satisfaction is that throughout my job and my hobby I can save lives in different ways. For society it is important to have committed people that are willing to help others without expecting anything in return. That’s why I exhort youth to be part of the difference and try hard to make a difference in this world. Being a hero is more than a job, it’s a lifestyle. Make it yours too.

“With every life I save, I hope to inspire you more each day”

…Thank you, mom. You are a warrior too.

From left to right,  Victoria is the second one,  gathered with part of her personal in the nursing week.

From left to right,
Victoria is the second one,
gathered with part of her personel during nursing week 2013

Victoria’s Friend Evelyn Alvarez with her son Alexis Rivera classifying clothe.

Victoria’s friend Evelyn Alvarez with her son Alexis Rivera classifying clothe.

Our school group representing ADRA in a antismoking march.

Our school group representing ADRA in a antismoking march.

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