Latina Giant: Paulina Sosa

The Journey

What is it to be alive? Alive and ready. Ready to give, believe, hope, and inspire. To have the passion and ability to make positive change in this world we call home. You see, to be alive is much more than just living, it’s about creating, giving, and loving.

It is common belief that you are supposed to have “it all figured out” by a certain age, preferably by the time you hit college. But the truth of the matter is, life is a journey– and along the way you slowly figure out your calling in this world.

I started figuring out my calling when I was 13 years old on a mission trip to a landfill in Matamoros, Mexico. Innocent children lived life day by day, wondering if they would eat, have clean water, or sleep warmly. We came bearing small gifts—merely a toy and candy. I doubted this would have any sort of meaningful impact on the child I gave my gift to. But to my surprise — he jumped up, bear hugged me, and sincerely thanked me! From that moment forward, I not only wanted to do something to help get him out of that poverty, I wanted to help children get out of poverty. He might not know it, but he radically changed my life.

Fast forward twelve years, and here I stand. After working with The ONE Campaign, Texas State Capitol, and the Irish House of Parliament, I found my path not in law, as anticipated, but in fighting poverty through Global Health Policy. With the loving support of my family, friends, and mentors, I am now obtaining my Masters of Public Health in Washington DC. I have been blessed with the opportunity to begin my global health career through interning at the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and now at the World Health Organization (WHO).

Working at WHO here in Geneva has been refreshingly exhilarating, as well as completely unique to my past experience. I am ever so grateful for the opportunity to be here and contribute what I can to the Global Influenza Programme.

So yes, I am discovering my calling, but I haven’t been doing it alone. As a Latina and a woman, my family and my faith have been a constant rock. My grandmother was one of the most compassionate people I’ve ever known and her compassion for others has inspired me to live a life of compassion. My mother is my best friend, my inspiration, my biggest supporter. But, she is also a fighter and a survivor. She has inspired me to fight for what I believe in. My family’s loving support for me and my endeavours has brought me through some difficult times. But overall, my faith has kept me whole, peaked my passion, and ignited my will to do all I can to fight poverty.

I had always believed that we had to figure out who we were meant to be early in life. But the truth is I don’t. Life is a beautiful, confusing, and exciting thing. Life is a journey that leads us to our calling. So live life doing what you love, staying passionate, and being an inspiration. This is your only chance to create your legacy, so what kind of legacy will you leave behind?