Open sewage ran beside homes made of handmade brick in Pau da Lima. My path to this favela, like my journey in medicine, felt unconventional. I realized microbes may have coincidentally been the root of my decision to pursue a career in medicine.
On the first day of anatomy, we were reminded that this course was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and that we were privileged to be experiencing it. For those of us first-year medical students who might not pursue surgery nor experience physically interacting with and entering the human body again outside of surgical clerkships, the professors said this would be an intense time. We would peer into the spaces and structures that — on some level — make up every human being.