My name is Luis Fernandez. I was born to a Christian home, and surrounded by animals. My parents dedicated their lives to a small farm outside of Tactic and I´ve loved animals ever since I remember, especially dogs. Growing up was very tough, challenging and different from what my friends lived at the same age. I had to wake up early every morning to pick up eggs, help my dad milk the cows and get ready for school before 7 am. I was known to be a very shy kid but my dad managed to teach me many abilities. I was able to tie all kinds of knots, ride horses and bulls, and herd cattle. On the other hand, my mom dedicated her time and effort to educate me and my sister on Christian values and chores at home.
The beginning of school was a big challenge. I went to a small public school, close to my house. I remember those days; I only wanted to play soccer all day long but, somewhere inside my innocent heart, I wanted to be a “professional” farmer because being around cows, chickens, dogs and horses was my greatest joy. Finally, I realized, the same way I worked hard alongside my dad, that I had to start working hard in school. That made a huge change in my mindset and the route I finally took.
Now, I´m about to obtain a degree in Medicine and Surgery at Universidad Rafael Landívar in Guatemala. It’s been ten years since I came back from The United States of America, where I was studying through a scholarship from GSSG (in the beginning years of GSSG, students were brought to the US to study and live with host families). I graduated from high school in St. Paul, Minnesota and my passion for medicine started there, in St. Paul Preparatory School. I had the opportunity to meet a well-known neurosurgeon, Dr. Mawk, and he woke up something inside me. I´ve always liked physics, biology, anatomy and the way the body works, and Dr. Mawk taught all those courses at school. When I came back in my country, I found out that statistically, we only have one medical doctor for every thousand citizens, and many regions don’t even have even close to the amount of needed doctors. So, I decided I could help to change some of those statistics and become one of them.
In the future, I envision myself as a specialist. I´ve found out I like surgery and I want to become a Surgical Oncologist so I can take care of and treat oncologic cases. In Guatemala, there are few of those specialists and many untreated cases. Unfortunately, Alta Verapaz, where I am from, has the least amount of health care coverage and I would love to have my own hospital and bring the medical treatment to my own community.