My incredible experience in Asuncion

Day 2: Our committee sessions began this morning, and I can already see that there’s something different and special about SCORA. From the very first hours, people started opening up about their experiences with relationship abuse or mood disorders, baring their souls with tears in their eyes. Immediately, those sitting next to them would converge towards them, providing support and comfort. The rest of the room remained solemnly silent until the speaker regained their composure, or praised their bravery and resilience with gentle words. I marveled at the trainers, who, by the openness and inclusiveness of each of their words, managed to create an atmosphere of the utmost respect and trust, where people could confide in complete strangers who were inexplicably becoming family. Despite the horrible memories the speakers were bringing back to the surface, the room held an atmosphere of peace and understanding that I am extremely grateful to have been a part of. SCORA is the committee of emotion, and the intensity and passion we collectively projected today are all the more motivating to move forward with the projects I will undertake back in Quebec.

Day 3: Today, there was a glitch with logistics, and it turned out that the PAHO conference we were supposed to attend was held in a room too small for everyone to fit in, which resulted in the president of IFMSA having to give an impromptu session on obstetric violence. Obstetric violence? I had never heard the term before, but by the end of the hour-long session I had learnt so much about it that I considered myself half an expert already. Little did I know that, a day later, I would attend a scheduled SCORA class on the same subject, and double my knowledge again! I was absolutely impressed by the president’s ability to concoct an interesting and eye-opening class in just a few moments, and aghast at discovering the enormity of the problem, which is an ongoing concern in all of Latin America and in Quebec itself. The whole experience also left me thinking. How many more SCORA-related issues are overlooked by our medical curriculum? How many groups suffer from discrimination or violence unbeknownst to me? Once again, I was reminded of the enormity of the social injustices that SCORA has to fight against, but, despite the immensity of the task, I know that I am ready to do whatever I can to help.

Day 5: The plenary was an amazing end to an amazing week, even though I got there an hour late because the SCORA farewell was intimate and emotive and I could not bring myself to leave halfway. I listened to most of the discussions with Jean-Baptiste Tremblay planted on my head, applauded with the rest when the RM 2019 at Quito was accepted by voting, and ecstatically witnessed Quebec winning prize after prize for our presentations, delegates, and delegation. The statements were another important and interesting part of the event, and several speakers had the opportunity to address the political or social atmosphere in their countries. A new NMO was voted in, with two others seeking to join IFMSA shortly. I also had the chance to learn more about the roles of the different Regional Directors and executives and the inner workings of IFMSA. I am so glad to have been a part of this meeting. It was an empowering, fun, and educational experience, and nothing I have seen in school so far can compare. I know that some of the friendships that started in Paraguay will last a lifetime, and that I am just a tiny bit wiser and more aware of the world around me from hearing the thoughts and comments of people from around the Americas. I am so excited to keep working with IFMSA to make the world a better place, and I hope that by participating in the activities and speaking my mind, I was able to contribute my own grain of sand to this incredible event.