A fresh start for Lisaura and Mariela

Building a house in the hills of Villa Maria del Triunfo in Lima is a very difficult task. It’s finding the spot of land, breaking the stones to flatten the area, and later constructing a house so that it fits economic guidelines. This is all so that someone else will not occupy the land first. It’s the most powerful and basic law: the one who finds the land first is the one who stays.

But what happens to those who aren’t as strong? Those who have limitations or who have no one to support them? 

In other blogs, we have talked about the migration phenomenon in Peru: thousands of people from the interior of the country move to Lima in search of better opportunities. Where they end up, however, is on the dusty and rocky hills that sit on the outskirts of Lima, a far view from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis city that everyone imagines Lima to be. The people who live on the outskirts have interesting, distinct stories on how they came to reside in Lima. 

Of Lisaura, we don’t know much, nor do we need to know, because her eyes say everything. What we do know about her story is that it is one of pain and survival, and it has touched all of our hearts.

While inaugurating staircases in the community of 15A-1, the terrain we found was black, an opaque stain over the ground that caught our eye. A new war on land had just begun, and caught in the middle were Lisaura and her 10-year-old daughter, Mariela. 


Lisaura is deaf, according to Mariela, due to a sharp fall she suffered as a child at the hands of a relative. She never studied sign language, nor how to read lips.Her daughter has created an incredible code language that only she and her mother can understand. They created their own universe — their own language and rules. A universe that has been reducedto ashes, just like their house. 

About a month ago, Lisaura’s house destroyed by a fire. The burning down of Lisaura’s house leaves us with many questions. Who burned their house? Why did they burn the house? For a house that small and humble, it is probable that someone burned down the house to scare the family so that they could leave behind a vacant lot to be occupied by someone else. Unfortunately that basic and powerful law applies, whoever finds the empty land first is the one who stays. 


A distant sister has been providing housing and shelter for Lisaura and Mariela, but they have numbered days in the household. Their salaries are not enough to reconstruct a house destroyed by a fire: Lisaura as a clothes washer and Mariela as a helper in an internet cafe. No materials in the house survived the fire, neither the clothes nor the bed. 

Now, Lisaura and Mariela need support from all of us: through MEDLIFE we have the possibility to give her the home that she deserves. 

Though she cannot speak, from the emotional weight of her gaze, Lisaura tells many stories, and building a new home would be the best thing for her and her daughter. 

If your chapter is interested in fundraising for Lisaura’s house, please send an email to [email protected] where one of our representatives can communicate with you to explain all of the necessary steps.


Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

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Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

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David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

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Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

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Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

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Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

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Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

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Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

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Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

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Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

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Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.