Girls Soccer Worldwide Interview with Mica Scafani / Part 2

Enjoy Part 2 of our interview with Micaela Scafani, Girls Soccer Worldwide™ Trailblazer.  Mica shares her journey in the medical field, her experience in a Paraguayan Hospital, and navigating through COVID as a medical professional.  Enjoy!!

Mica laughing with a Paraguayan woman at her home.

GSW: What did being in an impoverished community teach you about the human spirit?

Mica:

We all came home with a deeper understanding and admiration for the human spirit.

It was likely one of the biggest ‘takeaways’ from our trip. Being in an impoverished community swept away so many preconceptions of what I previously believed would bring happiness and wholesomeness in this life.

It showed me what true wealth looks like. I learned living in poverty does NOT mean you are poor in spirit. You can live in poverty your entire life and have a rich spirit.  A spirit so wealthy and strong – in no way reflecting your living conditions.

 I learned the human spirit is resilient, and so much of your happiness depends on how you decide to look at the world. You choose whether or not to view the world through a ‘glass half full’ perspective. You choose where you place value and meaning.

Everyday in Coronel Bogado we witnessed how beautiful the human spirit can be. Gratitude, love, happiness – their lives are full of it!

Mica with a young Paraguayan girl.

GSW: What inspired you to choose a career in the medical field and how much schooling did it take?

Mica: For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about a healthy living and have always known I wanted to pursue a career working with and serving others. I  have come to see providing medical care as an outlet is an opportunity to express compassion and empathy to others.  It’s something that has always been life giving to me.

I can attribute a significant amount of my inspiration to all the medical providers I have worked with or who have mentored me over the years.

Many of them being incredible, strong, and wise women that have left lasting impressions on me. I also happen to love science and medicine, and find the human body truly fascinating!!! I’m currently pursuing a career as a Physician Assistant.

There are many reasons why I chose this path versus others.  One of those reasons being PA school is typically only two or three years long, with no required residency afterwards. Normally before you can apply to PA school, it’s required to have an undergraduate degree with a certain set of prerequisites and 1-2 years worth of patient care experience.

GSW:  Tell us how your recent experience in Paraguay affirmed your desire to serve women and children.

Mica: Oh, I love this question so much!

Paraguay confirmed my belief that a healthy mom equals a healthy family, healthy community, and so much more. This trip heightened my awareness of what I already knew to be true – that many aspects of poverty and restrictive social norms disproportionately affect women and young girls.

From educational opportunities to health outcomes. During our time shadowing in the local hospital, Precious and I humbly witnessed the everyday hardships of healthcare in a low resource setting.

Our time was heavily focused on maternal and women’s health, as we had the valuable opportunity to witness a vaginal birth and hysterectomy, plus ask countless questions regarding the availability of women’s health resources and barriers to access.

After leaving the hospital, I felt a fiery resurgence of my passion to serve women, especially among communities where women typically do not have a strong voice over their own health.

Mica with a young girl on the GSW Las Pionera’s soccer team in Paraguay.

As for the children…

The kids we had the pleasure to work with showed resilience and sweet kindness, even when faced with countless odds.

The more time I spend around children, the more I realized  they have a natural tendency to be this way, wherever they are in the world.  It’s inspiring. The kids of Coronel Bogado made my heart smile and filled me with hope.

Through this experience I fully realized the power of investing time, love, and energy into children. They are our future and have the power to break any negative cycle if we lead them. So, what better population to serve?

GSW:  After your experience working in the local hospital in Paraguay, did you return looking at your role as a healthcare worker in the US any differently? 

Mica: Yes, indeed.

My experience at the local Paraguayan hospital left a profound impression on me. I will carry that experience with me throughout my future as a healthcare worker.  It made me realize  how many aspects of medicine we take for granted in this highly developed and wealthy nation, both as healthcare workers and as patients.

We are extremely privileged in so many ways.  From our plethora of innovative technologies, state-of-the-art medical facilities (with unblemished upholstery, heat and air climate control systems, leak free ceilings and mold free walls), well staffed hospitals, relatively easy access to medications and emergency transportation.

Mica and Precious working alongside a local doctor in a Paraguayan Hospital.

After observing conditions in Paraguay, I realize there are many advantages we have as healthcare workers in the US and I set intentions to always remind myself of this discovery.  I am grateful and stay knowing there are others who are currently facing the same exact scenario as myself with much less resources and support.

I am realizing, now that I’m writing this, I’ve also come away with a newfound respect and passion for patient advocacy. My time in the hospital brought on a feeling that this community had been forgotten, left behind, and these people deserve so much more.

The healthcare workers in the hospital work their absolute hardest, but they have little hope conditions will change despite their calls for help. Patients are left powerless and voiceless in many situations, as there is no one else to fight for them.

I have always seen that healthcare workers have the opportunity, and honor, to work as patient advocates.  Since returning from Paraguay I have further realized the dignifying power behind patient advocacy.

I returned with a stronger desire to help patients overcome obstacles…

to health by listening to their needs and maneuvering through whatever barriers present.

Mica drinking a tereré, a Paraguayan traditional drink tea.

GSW: How have you kept your positivity as a healthcare worker during COVID 19 and has this pandemic changed any goals you have in the future?

Mica: I think what has been most helpful in supporting my positivity through this pandemic is remembering whatever I’m feeling, I’m not alone.

My coworkers, other healthcare workers in our community, across the nation and around the globe, are all feeling very similar anxieties, fears, and frustrations. We are all in this together. I have been trying to focus on all the things we can control.

From the COVID19 success stories and the healthy impact compassionate healthcare visits can have on people’s lives during this highly anxious time.

I have realized every positive interaction counts during a time like COVID.

Also, I can’t leave out the importance of self care! I have been trying my best to be gentle with myself, rest when I need to rest, take time for stillness and reflection, take lots of baths, go on lots of walks and spend extra time in the kitchen making healthy meals.

This pandemic hasn’t necessarily changed any goals of mine, but it has definitely further inspired my goal of working with marginalized and vulnerable communities.

Words will never express clearly our love and appreciation for Mica.  She pours her heart into all she touches!  We are only stronger with her on our team. Thank you Mica and we are looking forward to what’s ahead with YOU!

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CLICK HERE if you missed Part 1 of Mica’s interview with Girls Soccer Worldwide™ as she dives into her experience as a soccer player, her travels to Paraguay, and her discoveries in between.

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