April 5, 2019 11:06 am

Patient Story: Carol

Written by Caroline Appert

We’d like to introduce you to Carol, one of MEDLIFE’s follow-up patients in Lima, Peru. Her story is intense and complex, especially for being only 18 years old, but we would like to share it with you in hopes that it may inspire you to take action to support her situation.

At 15, Carol gave birth to her first child with a partner who was physically and emotionally abusive, secluded her from family and friends, and refused to get her medical attention. She remained out of touch with her family until about a year and a half later, when she showed up on her parent’s porch 5 months pregnant with another child. Her partner had not allowed her to go to any prenatal checkups. After much insisting, her mother Estela was able to take Carol to her first check-up at 7-8 months pregnant.

Carol

Carol and her partner then moved into her parents' home. Carol’s partner was constantly coughing but refused to seek medical treatment. Carol then began to suffer from headaches and a decline in her general health. With her condition worsening, her partner ran away with their oldest child, who was 3 years old at the time. The family had no way to track them down. They have filed a police report but there have been no updates.

Around this same time, Carol and her newborn were diagnosed with syphilis. Estela is worried that the 3-year-old might have it too, but doubt that Carol’s partner would seek medical attention for the child in any case.

Carol has since been diagnosed with tuberculosis and is now bedridden. Her primary caretaker is her mother. Estela and her husband Guzman, Carol's step-father, do everything they can to support Carol: buy her the supplies she needs, and make all the necessary doctor appointments, but the reality of their situation is grave and they need support.

MEDLIFE’s History with Carol

Carol came to a MEDLIFE Mobile Clinic in 2017 with gynecological concerns. After the clinic, we were able to deliver the medicine she needed based on her diagnosis, but two months later we went to check on Carol as a part of our patient follow-up protocol, and she had moved. None of the neighbors knew where she had gone, nor how to get in contact with her.

In December 2018, Carol’s mother came to another MEDLIFE Mobile Clinic. She asked for a doctor to visit her sick daughter in their home. Without knowing who the patient was, MEDLIFE staff, a doctor, and a few volunteers headed to the family’s home to visit the patient, and from this chance encounter, we became reconnected with Carol.

MEDLIFE immediately enrolled Carol into our patient follow-up program once again and has since learned the details of her story and medical condition. At this point, the tuberculosis has spread to her brain and caused permanent damage. Carol is currently bedridden, has almost no motor skills, and is barely verbal, but she is conscious and aware - improving ever so slightly.

When we first came to Carol’s home in late December 2018, she was nonverbal. When we visited again in early March 2019, she was able to hold her own feeding tube and nod her head. She can stick her tongue a little bit out of her mouth and sits up for short periods of time if properly supported. Estela tells us that a few weeks ago Carol was able to say “Mama” for the first time since becoming so ill. This gives Estela and their family hope, as it contrasts from the prognosis they were given in July when the doctor who evaluated Carol was told she had a week to live.

IMG 2781

Guzman works and has access to insurance, but since Carol became ill after she turned 18 she is ineligible to use that insurance. Carol is on Peru’s national safety-net health insurance network, Seguro Integral de Salud (SIS), and is getting treatment from Maria Auxiladora Hospital where they often have to wait up to two hours past their appointment time to be seen. This insurance also does not cover the cost of the other supplies needed for the treatment.

Though the family has received support from a local TV show, a local church, and Partners in Health (Socios en Salud), they still lack basic necessities to properly care for Carol in their home.


For now, we hope to support Carol by improving her and her family’s quality of life in any small scale way we can. You can contribute by donating to the MEDLIFE General Fund or signing up for a Service Learning Trip. Any donations fundraised for Carol will go toward purchasing items that will support her treatment and care.

Meet some of the amazing follow-up patients that visited one of our January Mobile Clinics in the communities surrounding Lima, Peru.

When 191 MEDLIFErs from the University of Puerto Rico Arecibo, the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras, the University of Puerto Rico Interarecibo, the University of Chicago, Rush College, Barry University, Dawson College, the University of California Berkeley, Rowan University, Cornell University, John Hopkins University, the College of St. Scholastica, the University of Nevada, the College of Dupage, the Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf, and the College Bois-de-Boulogne came together in January for a Service Learning Trip in Lima, Peru they never could have imagined that their clinic alone would provide quality medical care to 2,111 people.

These are a few of the amazing people we met. Thanks to your dedication to the Movement and specifically your participation in Service Learning Trips, they are getting quality healthcare and treatments. As we share their stories, we hope to inspire others to take action and join us as we continue working hand in hand with communities to create a world free from the constraints of poverty. We invite you to tell your friends and family about your experiences in Lima and encourage them to join a Service Learning Trip so they can have an impact too.

Let’s meet some of our Lima Mobile Clinic follow-up patients!


Meet Marco:

IMG 6349

Marco is a 12-year-old boy who is deaf. When he was three years old he fell from the second floor of his grandparent's house and suffered major cerebral trauma and seizures. He was in the hospital for over a month and when he was discharged he had lost the ability to hear, speak, and walk. He completed some physical therapy, regaining the ability to walk and talk. However, he never recuperated his hearing. 

He had to repeat two years of school because of behavioral problems and a lack of specialized assistance. However, he has now learned to read and he loves to draw. There are some anger and behavioral issues at home that stem from a lack of comprehension within the household. He can read lips and he is vocal, but nobody in the house knows sign language.

MEDLIFE is going to do an auditory exam and hopefully help his family buy hearing aids. The doctor also recommended that the parents speak with a psychologist to learn how to better emotionally support Marco at home.

Meet Maya: 

IMG 6344

Maya is Marco’s 8-year-old sister. She has been experiencing headaches and light sensitivity. She lives with her family very high up in the hills of Villa Maria, and when she comes home from school she experiences headaches and lightheadedness.

The doctor noticed that some of her eyelashes have fallen out and that she has white patches on her face and neck. She is going to get some blood panels to see if she could have an autoimmune disease.

Check out more stories about Lima Winter Clinic Follow-Up Patients!


A huge thank you to all of our Winter Mobile Clinic participants for their hard work and dedication to the MEDLIFE Movement!

You can impact the lives of people just like Marco and Maya when you sign up for a Service Learning Trip. For more information, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

MEDLIFE’s Winter Mobile Clinics provided quality healthcare to 4,217 people in the communities surrounding Lima. Beyond that, 51 of those people were enrolled in our patient follow-up program and we want to introduce you to a few of them so you can see the lasting impact Service Learning Trips have on individual lives.

Why Patient Follow-Up?

While our Mobile Clinics bring quality healthcare directly to the poor, we know that when patients are simply referred to local hospitals for treatments at the end of the week they often fail to receive the actual treatment they need. Our year-round patient follow-up program offers patient care to supplement and help navigate the complex systems across our sites - providing financial resources for treatments, emotional support, nutritional assistance for malnourished families, and educational resources to help individuals better understand their conditions.  

These are a few of the amazing women we met this winter. They are getting quality healthcare and treatments, all thanks to your dedication to the Movement and specifically your participation in Service Learning Trips. Join a trip today!

Let’s meet some of our Lima winter Mobile Clinic follow-up patients!


Nora

IMG 6336

Nora adores her two children, a 9-year-old and a 2-year-old.

But it has been hard for her since being diagnosed with Type II diabetes last February. During her most recent pregnancy, she was considered high risk because she had two previous miscarriages and she began to experience intense depression. Then her 2-year-old was born very prematurely, which caused a series of complications - including a heart problem. Nora continued to struggle with depression during this period, causing her to gain weight and heightened her risk for diabetes.

Nora has lost 30 kilograms (approximately 66 pounds) since her diabetes diagnosis. The next steps in her treatment will include a full kidney panel, a change in diet with increased exercise, and a referral to meet with a psychologist. Our team is here to support Nora in any way possible - and we’re hoping the results from her kidney panel are normal so she can return to her kids happier and healthier than ever!

 Mileydi Marlene 

IMG 6335

Mileydi Marlene has a tumor on her cheek that the doctor believes to be a growth of the bone, which she said she’s had since she was a little girl.

The Peruvian public health insurance company, Seguro Integral de Salud, offered to cover a small portion of an operation, but since it is a complicated surgery it would cost at least double what they’ve offered. Frustrated, she turned to a MEDLIFE Mobile Clinic for support.

Mileydi Marlene is going to have an exam of the tumor as well as an appointment with a plastic surgeon to see what next steps can be taken to remove it, and our team will be with her every step of the way!

 Kimberly

IMG 6340

Kimberly has rosacea - a condition that causes redness and often small, red, pus-filled bumps on the face. While she is taking precautionary measures to care for herself, we referred her to a dermatologist. Our MEDLIFE nurses joined her at the appointment, and the doctor prescribed her topical medications to ease her condition.

However, the medications have to be prepared by a lab - they can’t just be bought over the counter. So MEDLIFE Lima Nurse Carmen brought the prescription to a pharmacy to have it prepared, and then gave Kimberly the medication and instructions on how to apply it at a follow-up appointment. Kimberly will have a check-up in a month with the dermatologist where we hope to hear positive results!


 Thanks to all our Winter Service Learning Trip participants for their hard work on Mobile Clinics!

Are you interested in joining the Movement and supporting patients like Nora, Mileydi Marlene, and Kimberly on a Mobile Clinic? There is still time to sign-up for a spring or summer Service Learning Trip!

We have some exciting news - the Wawa Wasi has grown so much that it has officially become our MED Center for Primary Education! Though this is only the first branch of what will eventually be a much larger scale project, this is a key step in progressing toward our ultimate goal of the MED Center and we are thrilled to tell you about it.

The Roots of the Project: The Wawa Wasi

IMG 9562

MEDLIFE worked with our longtime partner community of Union Santa Fe on the outskirts of Lima, Peru to build a physical structure to meet their self-identified needs: the Wawa Wasi. An effort in sustainable development, the idea for the building came from concerns expressed by community members that there was no safe place to leave their children while they went to work.

Rather than building a parallel educational system, we worked hand in hand with government programs already in place. In Lima, the government has a designated education program called CUNAMAS for children from 1 to 2 years. This program provides food, childcare, and education to children in low-income communities. Unfortunately, to qualify for the program the community must have a physical structure in place that offers a suitable and safe environment for the children. That is where MEDLIFE came in.

We constructed a building that could serve as a childcare center on the first floor. For a period of time, we operated hand in hand with CUNAMAS to offer childcare to families in the area. But as the community has grown and changed, their needs have also grown and changed. And to properly meet those needs, the Wawa Wasi has transitioned into to what is now the MED Center for Primary Education.

Becoming the MED Center for Primary Education

IMG 9891 

The building has grown from a 1-floor day care center to a 3-floor multi-purpose center with workshops, professional services, and more. Through this growing process, it has become the first physical step in the development of our MED Center in the area. The full-scale MED Center will be a community center focused on particular development issues that the communities face. For example, some of our goals for the MED Center include offering a trade school for children and adults, basic medical and dental services, and providing a safe space for community meetings.

Between its physical growth and expansion of educational offerings, the former Wawa Wasi building and its services have truly embodied our first major step towards the MED Center, via the MED Center for Primary Education. So we thought it was time to officially change the name.

Currently, the MED Center for Primary Education is operating in a variety of ways, all rooted from listening to communities share with us about their needs and priorities. Though CUNAMAS is not currently running a childcare center, we are using the first floor to offer law consultations and psychology appointments from local professionals. We are hopeful that the partnership with CUNAMAS will resume in the coming months. On the second floor, we are offering unique and immersive workshops for children in the area. After school or during summer months, they can come to the MED Center for Primary Education to learn new skills and hobbies like karate, painting, and dance. Additionally, on weekends we have partnered with a local university so that students can volunteer their time to teach supplemental workshops.

 IMG 9614 1

Finally, we are in the process of constructing a third floor for the MED Center for Primary Education and plan to work hand in hand with the community to decide what to offer in the space. It may be a computer area for teenagers to do their school work, a small business workshop for locals, or potentially an area for fun activities like movie nights!

Thanks for all of your support as we continue progressing this project. More updates to come soon!

Time is running out to raise $30,000 in support of Union Santa Fe as they build a retention wall in effort to get Land Title - which would provide the community with government resources to help build roads, schools, sanitation systems, and more. With a limited time frame, MEDLIFE is working day in and day out to reach our goal - but we can’t do it without you.

With your support, the MEDLIFE Movement can continue the fight to free Union Santa Fe from the constraints of poverty. All donations and funds raised to help Union Santa Fe get Land Title can be made to the MEDLIFE Project Fund. Please add a note to your donation that the money is for the Union Santa Fe Land Title.

union santa fe 11

The Issue

MEDLIFE has worked side by side with the community of Union Santa Fe for years. Building staircases, working with the municipality to provide electricity, supporting childhood education in the area, providing free quality healthcare at Mobile Clinics, and more - all in support of the ultimate goal to obtain Land Title. And right now the community is closer than ever to gaining their Land Titles, as the government has given them the opportunity if they complete certain community development projects in the next 2 months.

While in many parts of the world securing land rights is not a major issue, it is a luxury for much of the world’s poor population. In rural areas like the southern communities of Lima, land is an essential means to sustain the community’s livelihood. Access to land is important for household welfare, economic growth, and reduction of poverty.

To eventually leave the constraints of poverty, communities like Union Santa Fe need access to basic resources mentioned previously (sanitation systems, water, roads, etc), which are accessible through the government when they obtain Land Title. But, there is a major contradiction. In order to obtain Land Title, they must already have those basic resources. In other words, Union Santa Fe lacks the basic resources to build things like roads, schools, sanitation systems, and retention walls, that are needed to obtain Land Title. But in order to tap into government resources that would provide them these things, they already need to have those Land Titles.

union santa fe 1

The Solution: $30,000

One of the largest obstacles facing the community is building a $30,000 retention wall in the next 2 months. This retention wall, and the granting of Land Title, would also be big steps in the approval of construction of our MED Center. Unfortunately, if the retention wall isn’t complete, the offer will be rescinded and the community will be forced to start their Land Title process from scratch, and we will be stepping backward with work on the MED Center as well.

What does starting from scratch really mean? We are not 100% sure but we do know we must push ahead NOW. The Peruvian government can be challenging to gain commitment from for ‘what happens if’ scenarios, however the Union Santa Fe community and MEDLIFE have worked diligently over the years to foster positive interactions and collaboration. Again, our focus is we need to work as hard as possible as the MEDLIFE Movement, to fundraise $30,000 in the next few months to make sure we are doing everything in our power to support Union Santa Fe.

48367634 2101870913185273 7143454155770691584 n

How You Can Help

While this task may seem daunting, if everyone works together it is certainly attainable. But we need you. We’re calling on each Chapter to fundraise at least $200 or organize a group of 50 students on a Lima Service Learning Trip this Spring in support of our efforts.

Additionally, we encourage you to support our efforts by sharing on social media and asking friends and family to donate. Every contribution helps. Join the MEDLIFE Movement to create a world free from the constraints of poverty - starting with the community of Union Santa Fe!

To donate in support of Union Santa Fe, visit our website donation page.

December 20, 2018 2:32 pm

Experiences for your 2019 Bucket List

Written by Lindsay Mahaney

When planning your 2019 bucket list, consider joining a worldwide Movement to fight for a world free from the constraints of poverty. Make a pact with yourself to give back through your experiences this year, and support MEDLIFE in our mission to empower the poor in their fight for equal access to healthcare, education, and a safe home.

Don’t know where to start? Let us help.

Keep reading for life-changing experiences for your 2019 Bucket List!

Development Corps

Work hand in hand with local professionals and community members on the creation, planning, and execution of a development project. Development Corps is a week-long Service Learning Trip that allows students interested in architecture, engineering, and community planning to gain first-hand experience executing a development project in Peru. 

Create a lasting impact in communities through the creations of public green spaces or sanitation projects by building ecological bathrooms for local families. Public green spaces are an avenue to connect people to their communities. More than a beautiful landscape, public spaces bring people together. Ecological bathrooms create an eco-friendly waste treatment system that recycles nutrients and organic matter for soil enrichment and prevent the spread of diseases - creating a clean and healthy home environment. Both projects are essential components of the Development Corps experience and align with our Movement to provide a safe home. Register for a trip here or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it our team to schedule a new date today!

DevCorps resized for blog 

Dental Clinic

The Dental Clinic is a week-long Service Learning Trip where students will support local dentists while providing dental screening and treatment to communities in Lima’s urban settlements and in the MEDVIDA Dental Clinic. During MEDLIFE Mobile Clinics, we always offer a dental station. It’s consistently one of the most-requested services, but the dentists are only able to treat 15 patients a day. With a specialty Dental Clinic, we can expand our reach and provide quality dental care to more people.

On the Dental Clinic, students will have the chance to work interactively with patients and dentists by performing a variety of roles including patient registration, station set-up, instrument preparation, and shadowing dentists throughout procedures like extractions, fillings, and cleanings. Students will also have the opportunity to lead adolescent dental education workshops. Register for Dental Clinic today!

Dental Clinic Jan 2

High School Trip

Just because you aren’t a university students doesn’t mean you can’t join the Movement. Modeled after our traditional Service Learning Trips, the exclusive MEDLIFE High School Trip offers the opportunity for students age 15-18 to support developing communities outside Lima, Peru. With additional staff and chaperones to support the project, students are offered the opportunity to experience a Mobile Clinic and Development Project in Lima.

Students will shadow local medical professionals and work alongside community members. In addition to their work in the field, volunteers will participate in educational discussions on social issues, community development, and more. Additionally, you’ll have time to explore the vibrant capital of Peru and explore the rich culture of the country through additional activities outside of clinic hours. Sign up for our High School Trip here

High School Trip 2

Leadership Corps

If you’re a leader in your community, this experience may be for you. Spend two weeks learning about immigration and poverty in the rural Andes, as well as the origin of MEDLIFE, in this field course led by our founder, Dr. Nick Ellis. 

Venture to a remote community located four hours outside of Riobamba, Ecuador where you will get first-hand experience working side by side with community members to provide comprehensive care. In addition to the traditional Mobile Clinic we have during our regular Service Learning Trips, participants will get comprehensive discussions lead by our staff and local community members. To learn more, check out our video from last year's Leadership Corps!

 Leadership Corps

Charity Challenge

Travel to give back when you participate in a Charity Challenge to Peru or Tanzania. Simply put, a Charity Challenge is a trek you take part in while fundraising for a worthy cause. In this case, you are supporting the MEDLIFE Project Fund. 100% of the money you raise will provide much-needed funds to support the MEDLIFE Movement. All donations are used in the construction of community development projects like staircases, schools, and safe homes. These projects promote access to basic necessities and skills, enabling low-income families to free themselves from the constraints of poverty - promoting better health, education, and personal development.  

Once you’ve raised the required amount of money, your only job is to complete the challenge. MEDLIFE’s partner travel agency Good Life Expeditions will organize a trek on one of our two exotic routes: the Mount Kilimanjaro 6 day / 5 night trek or the Salkantay 5 day / 4 night trek. Spend time discovering these beautiful locations while supporting a good cause in 2019. Sign up today! 

 Abra Salkantay

What else should we add to our list? Let us know! Contact our MEDLIFE at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it today with suggestions, or to start planning your life-changing experience.

Learn more about the MEDLIFE Movement here.   

November 7, 2018 3:27 pm

#GiveMED

Written by Lindsay Mahaney

This giving season, choose to support #GiveMED — MEDLIFE’s fundraising campaign in conjunction with Giving Tuesday. By supporting MEDLIFE, you’re supporting hundreds of thousands of people in their fight for equal access to healthcare, education, and a safe home.

To donate to #GiveMED, visit our website donation page, or text the code GIVEMED to 44-321. With your generous contribution, you will be joining the Movement to create a world free from the constraints of poverty this holiday season.

Supporting the MEDLIFE Movement #GiveMED

GiveMED

Giving Tuesday occurs the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and is a day of global giving. Fueled by the power of social media, the campaign raises millions of dollars each year for non-profit organizations and charities worldwide. This year, MEDLIFE is participating in this incredible initiative to spread our Movement and raise money to empower patients and projects like these:

Give Medicine

Felix was working a labor intensive construction job to provide for his family when he fell and injured his head three years ago. Instead of treating the injury, the hospital gave him basic painkillers and sent him on his way. When the MEDLIFE team met him in Tena, Ecuador, he suffered from convulsions, fainting, and near immobility on his left side due to a cranial fracture. Unable to afford treatment, he had been forced to live with the side effects of his injury. Fortunately, he is now enrolled in our patient follow-up program where he receives physical therapy. With support from Chapters like the University of Southern California, who donated $1000 to his surgery, we are collecting funds to sponsor a surgery for him to receive titanium mesh to replace the broken piece of skull.

MEDLIFE’s team of local professionals work with patients from impoverished communities where we serve. Through our Mobile Clinics and follow-up care program, we are able to provide thousands of patients with high quality health care they would not receive otherwise. #GiveMedicine

Felix

Give Education

The district of Ventanilla just north of Lima is home to thousands of people spread throughout several communities. When we work with communities like this, we work hand in hand on community identified issues. One of the primary items identified: the need for quality health care — especially women’s health. Educational workshops within communities like Ventanilla cover topics ranging from breast and cervical cancer to sexual health. MEDLIFE’s professional staff discusses the risks and warning signs of breast cancer and the importance of performing regular self breast exams, as well as the importance of Pap smear exams and preventing cervical cancer. Community members also receive a hands-on workshop demonstrating how to perform a self exam.

These workshops are an important part of the MEDLIFE Movement because they provide a safe and open environment where community members can express concerns. Afterwards, requests for check ups at Mobile Clinics skyrocket! #GiveEducation

Ventanilla

Give Development

Señora Susana lives in one of the rural communities surrounding Cusco that were part of our Healthy Homes initiative. Through Healthy Homes we work to provide better living conditions by building fuel efficient, well ventilated stoves, promoting hygiene and nutrition, and improve access to furniture. For most families, open flame stoves are their main method for cooking. Firewood is cheap and easily accessible, unlike gas. However, cooking over an open flame is dangerous and can cause serious health problems, most commonly respiratory diseases. Due to the thick smoke, family members — especially children — often suffer from cataracts, blindness, increased risk of infections, chronic pulmonary obstruction, anemia, and lung cancer.

When MEDLIFE renovates a Healthy Home, not only are we providing an easier way to prepare food, but also providing a healthier environment for families. With a new stove, people like Señora Susana can lead a healthy, happy life. #GiveDevelopment

GiveMED2

Giving Back at Home

While the ultimate goal of #GiveMED is to celebrate and encourage giving globally, a parallel goal is that this initiative brings our Movement, Chapters, and fundraising together. We’re calling on all of our Chapters to hold a fundraiser on Giving Tuesday to support the Movement as a collective, worldwide group. Chapter members will hold any fundraising event that they want, big or small, on Tuesday November 27, 2018 to encourage their friends, family, and even kind strangers to #GiveMED.

Similarly, we encourage you to support the Movement throughout the entire giving season by not only donating but also sharing projects from MEDLIFE’s Headquarters and the incredible work you do at home on social media using the hashtags #GiveMED and #MEDLIFEMovement.   

To donate to #GiveMED, visit our website donation page, or text the code GIVEMED to 44-321.

November 1, 2018 2:03 pm

Meet the Patient: Zaida

Written by Lindsay Mahaney

Meet Zaida — she’s a super mom.

Zaida is a 27 year old, hard-working single mother from the community of Las Colinas outside of Lima, Peru. From the moment you meet her, you can see the determination in her eyes. She is the first to tell you that everything she does is for her 2 daughters who are 9 and 4 years old.

IMG 9488 1Zaida is a devoted mother who works hard everyday to support her children.

About 4 years ago, her partner left her without financial support to take care of her two daughters. After months of not receiving child support, Zaida began working with a recycling program in which she collected papers and bottles for companies that will pay a small amount for each thing you collect.

Unfortunately, she had nowhere to leave her daughters and wasn’t making enough money to support them. She would not sacrifice paying for the education of her children, so she took matters into her own hands.

Zaida took out a small loan from the bank, bought a moto-taxi, and recruited a neighbor to teach her to drive. It worked! Though she is still living in conditions of extreme poverty, she has enough money to sustain her life with her daughters. That is until there is an unexpected expense.

IMG 9499 1
This is the home Zaida and her children share together.

We met Zaida at a MEDLIFE Mobile Clinic, where she brought her two daughters through the stations at the free, high-quality clinic we offered near her home. She had preventative exams such as general medicine check-up, a Pap smear, and a breast exam. During these tests, the local professional doctors working at the MEDLIFE clinic discovered a lump in her breast. Our nurses enrolled Zaida into our follow-up patient program and took her to the clinic to get it examined, where the doctor recommended immediate surgery as he suspected it was mastitis. But, in the public hospital system, surgeries are scheduled months in advance so her scheduled date would not be immediate.

IMG 9495 2Zaida weaves through the tiny paths of her community to get to her house.

MEDLIFE, hoping to accelerate the process, has been paying for private clinic appointments for Zaida. After a few more appointments, the doctor discovered her ex-partner had TB, and it was very likely that her issue was TB of the breast. The situation became even more urgent. In order to accelerate the operation date, we were looking for donations to supplement the higher cost of surgery at a private clinic.

IMG 9508 1Las Colinas, the community where Zaida and her daughters live, can be found in the foothills surrounding Lima.

Thanks to clients who traveled with our partner travel agency Good Life Expeditions, Zaida’s operation at a private clinic is fully funded! Good Life Expeditions evolved out of MEDLIFE when volunteers kept asking to extend their trips to explore the beautiful countries they were volunteering in. Rather than outsourcing to other companies that didn’t align with our values – we spotted an opportunity – establishing an inhouse travel agency to create authentic, meaningful travel experiences, AND generate much-needed income for MEDLIFE.

Through their support, Zaida will be able to return to her daughters healthy - sooner than ever!

"I cannot put into words how thankful we are. I like my new house. It's really pretty," said Nicol, Rosa Morocho's nine-year-old daughter at the house inauguration.

Inauguration in LimaIt is a tradition for MEDLIFE volunteers to break a bottle of champagne during the inauguration ceremony to commemorate a project they have worked on during their week of service.

In July 2018, MEDLIFE inaugurated the Morocho family’s house in AA.HH. Laderas de Nueva Esperanza, a community located in the outskirts of Villa Maria del Triunfo, Lima, Peru. There were smiles, laughter, and tears as we remembered the process we went through and all the people involved in building the house and creating relationships that will last forever. But, how did it all start?

A new house for the Morocho Family

In 2017, the MEDLIFE team was building a water reservoir in Laderas de Nueva Esperanza when we met Nicol, the young girl who lived next to the water reservoir we were building. Little by little, she won everyone's heart, and we learned her story.

 NicolNicol always has a smile on her face.

Nicol was a nine-year-old girl at the time, who would wake up very early every day to take care of her mom Rosa. She had never been able to walk and could barely use her right arm — an undiagnosed handicap she has had since she was a child. Nicol assumed a lot of responsibility caring for Rosa. With MEDLIFE’s support, Rosa was able to visit a doctor and receive a diagnosis: she was a victim of Polio, a virus that can spread to the nervous system causing irreparable damage and paralysis. While her disease is incurable, MEDLIFE worked to support Rosa in other ways.

In her home, Rosa would be forced to crawl on the floor with her one useable arm. Nothing was designed for someone who could not stand up. With that in mind, MEDLIFE elected to renovate the house into a Health Home for Rosa and Nicol. We added light switches close to the ground, a handicapped bathroom with a sink close to the ground, and ramps instead of stairs. With a renovated home, Rosa could now be on her own while Nicol is studying at school.

The day finally came when we inaugurated the much-needed house. We blew up balloons, and decorated everything to make the ceremony extra special. Then, with Nicol by our side, we broke a bottle of champagne and celebrated.

inauguration ceremonyNicol helping prepare for the inauguration ceremony.

Continuing to Thrive

A week after the inauguration, we called Nicol to let her know we were visiting with some volunteers and staff. When we arrived, she was waiting for us with a BIG smile on her face. It was inspiring to see all the decorations that they had in every room, making the house their own. Before we left, they let us know how grateful they were to all the volunteers, staff, and donors for making a dream come true. Nicol even showed us how much her grades had improved, and we were so proud!

Get to know Nicol and Rosa better by reading more of their story here.

 

A new houseNicol and Rosa in their new house.  

As a medical student going on a MEDLIFE internship, I most looked forward to the chance to see the mobile medical clinics in action and help to provide medical care to families in need. We were encouraged to read about the issues surrounding aid provision and health inequalities, and in doing so we encountered quotes such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s:

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhumane.”

1

With these famous words still resounding, I arrived in the communities ready to help in whatever way I could. I was humbled to find that my help could only make a difference thanks to the communities themselves who came out in full force to help us build a staircase in the hills.

Despite having 20 students from the UK working together to pass cement, paint the walls, and clear debris – the community members outnumbered us. Some helped with the manual labor while others fetched drinks to reinvigorate us under the Peruvian sun. 

The trust that these people had in MEDLIFE was clear as they brought out their children to meet us, let us play with their dogs, and joined in and laughed as we sang a range of well-known songs from the UK to keep spirits up while we worked.

2

Vital to this is the role played by local community leaders who are employed by MEDLIFE. They understand the communities and help to foster trust. This really struck me after an educational meeting about women’s health, when a crowd of 30 or so people stayed late to speak to one of these local leaders and explain their different needs.

It is through these discussions that we begin to recognize the different problems that each community faces, and allows us to personalize the help we provide. It was through these discussions that the idea to build staircases first arose - a simple idea that would never have occurred to me living in the UK, but clearly made a huge difference to the lives of the people we met and helped to create a safer place to live. I am very grateful to have been a part of MEDLIFE’s work, and look forward to being involved again in the future, and continuing to put the community at the heart of it all. 

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>
Page 1 of 42