Lacey Marie Smith - “Meeting the road”


Lacey Marie Smith

Lacey Marie Smith is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University (LMU) where she majored Health and Human Sciences. A native of the Los Angeles area, Lacey is currently pursuing her Masters in Immunology and Global Health at Maynooth University. During college, she volunteered as a clinic assistant at the Venice Family Clinic, a clinic for low-income residents, and served as an emergency medical technician for LMU. She conducted research on waterborne illness in Thailand, work she continued on a year-long Global Health fellowship at St. Joseph’s Clinic in Thomassique, Haiti. Lacey is an alto/mezzo soprano and performed throughout college as part of the LMU Theater Program.

I used to run in Haiti under a sun made of fire. As I would pass along the road, a flurry of bare feet, brown eyes, and small arms would emerge from the frames of palm-thatched houses. Although their legs made two strides for every one of mine, they would keep pace with me past mango trees and cow-dotted hillsides until we reached the unspoken borders of their villages. And every day I would be asked, “Poukisa w ap kouri?” “Why are you running?”

I now run in Ireland under a sun I’m not completely convinced exists. As I pass along the canal that connects Maynooth to Dublin, I make eye contact with wary herons and greet older Irish women attached to matching, canine companions.

I weave and curve with the water, the road, and the train tracks through fields of sheep and cabbage. And every time I step out into the seemingly unforgiving wind and often horizontally-approaching rain, I ask myself with a bit of grin, “Why are you running?”

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I have juxtaposed climates and lifestyles. I no longer own a goat, eat rice and beans every day, or am required to treat my drinking water. Unbelievably, I now have a heated shower, a turtleneck, and a fantastically operational toilet. And yet, I am still finding similar answers to a singular question: “Why are you running?”