Meet Lorena, a psychologist from Solidaridad Sin Límites
Thank you very much for keep supporting the foundation Solidaridad sin Limites from Colombia! As a return to your valuable support, we would like to share with you this month’s Newsletter from the program, that we hope you’d enjoy!
Meet Lorena, a psychologist from Solidaridad Sin Limites
Anisia: Hi Lorena! Thanks for giving us the opportunity to interview you. Not so long ago was Mental Health Awareness Day and we wanted to talk with you to commemorate it. Could you please introduce yourself?
Lorena: My name is Lorena. I am a psychologist and I have accompanied Solidaridad Sin Limites on many missions. Going on a mission is priceless. Just the smile they give to us for helping them makes me plenty of happiness.
Anisia: Have you participated so many times?
Lorena: Yes I have. It is sometimes hard to approach people because of the stigma that people have. They think that just people that are crazy should go to the psychologist. But psychology is more than mental disorders. It is also about expressing emotions, to express the things that we have inside. Many people don’t know how to recognize their feelings. For example, once I was working with a community of homeless people, I made a game and I ask them where they felt the emotions. They only were able to identify the anger and the happiness and they didn’t know where they felt these emotions.
Anisia: Could you explain a bit more about that?
Lorena: Sure! Emotions also have an answer with a body reaction. All the emotions have one.
Anisia: I am not sure I can identify all the body reactions of the emotions I feel. That’s interesting. Could you tell us more about other activities?
Lorena: One time I was in Sito and I explained to them that sometimes people focus so much on their work, their routine that they forget to ask themselves every day how are they feeling. Then I asked them if they knew how they were feeling. After I asked them that, many people felt the necessity to express things and a lot of people started to talk.
Anisia: Do you give therapy to these people?
Lorena: No. Therapy requires time and our time is limited. I offer sessions and I listen to what they need to share and I offer them tools to make them feel better. What I try to do is to give them the tools to improve their personal relationships. For example, in our mission in the Amazonas, I talked with a transexual woman called Vitali. She was having problems because the communities still don’t accept transexuals. I talked with her and I made her think of solutions to improve her relationship with the community. Then I organized a dance where we danced together so she could express herself using the music.
Anisia: That is interesting. Lorena, May I ask if people in Colombia have access to therapy?
Lorena: Yes, sometimes people need therapy but when they ask for an appointment they have to wait for several weeks, sometimes even months. And then, every time they go they have a different therapist, so they can’t connect with them.
Anisia: Do you think in Colombia the government should invest more in Mental Health?
Lorena: Definitely, but you need to take into consideration that is hard to approach people, to make people want to share their problems with you. My approach is different. I always try to use art to create emotions in people, and with the art, they start to feel better. If you ask me, governments should invest in free cultural or artistic activities for the people.
Anisia: Do you think that drawing or dancing can improve mental health conditions?
Lorena: Yes. Sometimes people are so stressed and focus on their careers that they don’t have space for expressing themselves or for entertainment. In order to be healthy mentally, people need to entertain themselves and express themselves.
Anisia: Do you think art could then be a cure for mental disorders?
Lorena: There are still disorders that need therapy and medicines, but definitely art and entertainment could support the medication to make the patients heal faster. And for people that don’t really need medicine, I would say that art entertainment is definitely the cure for sadness and stress. If your life is only based on your work, your problems and you don’t have time to spend with your loved ones, to express yourself or to have a hobby it is normal that you will start to feel bad internally. To be healthy, you also need time for those activities, to disconnect from the routine, the problems, and the work.
Anisia: Thanks for the time of the interview Lorena, it has been very interesting and I am sure this information will be useful for all the supporters of Solidaridad Sin Límites to have a good mental health.
Most famous drinks in Colombia
Champús is a traditional Colombian cold beverage that is also popular in Peru and Ecuador. It is made with dried maize, pineapple, mashed lulo (also known as naranjilla), panela, cloves, quince or guanábana, cinnamon, and orange tree leaves. Refreshing and sweet, champús are typically served with a lot of ice and are considered a perfect summer drink. However, Peruvians traditionally consume it warm as a dessert, and in this version, lulu is replaced with apples. In Colombia, this beverage is consumed at any time of the day, but it is especially popular during the Christmas festivities, while in Ecuador, it is traditionally prepared for funerals.
Bittersweet and refreshing, Refajo is a Colombian cocktail made with a combination of Colombian soda, pale lager, and sometimes aguardiente as well. All ingredients are typically mixed together in a chilled pitcher without stirring. The cocktail is served over ice and it is often garnished with lime and orange wedges.
Guarapo is a Colombian drink made from raw, pressed sugarcane juice mixed with water, ice, and lots of fresh limes. Most often, the vendors that sell it will extract the sugar cane juice right on the spot using a metal sugar cane press. The juice drips into a bucket below the press where it’s sieved before serving. It has a slightly sweet flavor, and it’s most popular in the summer as a cold refreshment.
Lulada is a cold, refreshing drink originating from El Valle region of Colombia, made with mashed lulos, lime juice, water, sugar, and ice. It has a light, citrusy flavor and it’s very common in Colombian cuisine. Lulada is the perfect combination of sweet and tart, has a thick consistency and can be served with a shot of vodka.
Canelazo is a spiced beverage that is enjoyed in various parts of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Argentina. Although there are different versions of the drink, it is usually made with a combination of cinnamon water (hot water infused with cinnamon sticks) and sugar or unrefined cane sugar (panela). The combination is then usually improved with a splash of South American aguardiente—a clear and potent spirit usually made from sugar cane. Common additions include fruit juices, other spices, while aguardiente is occasionally swapped with rum or the alcohol can be completely omitted.
Avena Colombiana is a creamy summer drink originating from Colombia. It is made from oats that have been soaked overnight before being simmered in milk and water, which are flavored with cinnamon, cloves, and a little sugar. The mixture is chilled for a minimum of three hours before it is blended and develops a smooth, creamy consistency. It is typically served cold with a light sprinkling of cinnamon on top.
Colombia is a patriotic cocktail made with a combination of vodka, grenadine syrup, lemon juice, orange juice, and blue curaçao. In order to prepare it, vodka and fruit juices should first be mixed, then strained into a cocktail glass.