MEDLIFE Chapter Raising Funds For Juan Jose's House - MEDLIFE

MEDLIFE Chapter Raising Funds For Juan Jose’s House


MEDLIFE Cusco Team Brings Hope to Juan José and His Family

On Thursday, April 5th, 2018, the MEDLIFE Cusco team and volunteers from four U.S. universities conducted a mobile medical clinic in Ccasacancha. This community is about an hour and a half outside of Cusco, in Ancahuasi. Despite being the first clinic in Ancahuasi in 2018, MEDLIFE has worked in nearby communities for over a year. During the day, Carmen, a MEDprograms nurse, asked a volunteer and me to visit a patient: Juan José. The Juan José house MEDLIFE story begins here.

Meeting Juan José

Juan José, a thirteen-year-old boy, lives in Ccasacancha with his parents and five siblings. Born healthy, he suffered severe burns on his face, neck, and chest at age four. When MEDLIFE met him in 2017, his scar caused partial disfigurement and restricted neck mobility. A MEDLIFE doctor recommended Z-plasty scar revision surgery. However, Carmen’s home visit revealed deeper challenges.

Carmen’s Persistence

Initially, Juan José’s father refused Carmen entry to their house and enrollment into the follow-up program. Carmen persisted with periodic visits, offering help. After her fourth visit, she was invited inside and discovered their destitute conditions. Chronic malnutrition afflicted nearly all family members. Juan José’s father was an unemployed alcoholic, leaving his mother as the sole breadwinner. Their situation worsened when Ana Beatriz, his 17-year-old sister, became pregnant. MEDLIFE realized they needed to address the entire family’s situation.

Assessing Living Conditions

Carmen and Lis, MEDLIFE’s Cusco nurses, began visiting the family regularly. They provided basic medications and ensured Ana Beatriz received prenatal care. On the clinic day, Carmen wanted volunteers to witness the family’s hardships firsthand and seek help. As we approached Juan José’s house, a typical adobe brick home, Ana Beatriz welcomed us. She explained their parents were away, but she and Juan José were home. We saw Juan José standing in the yard, smiling shyly at Carmen.

Inside the House

Inside the dark kitchen, pots and pans were scattered on the dirt floor and a small adobe stove. Smoke had blackened the ceiling from years of use without proper ventilation. We then visited the storeroom/bedroom, where the entire family slept. The room had two large beds, made of foam on wood pallets, surrounded by scattered clothes. The ceiling was covered with a plastic tarp to prevent leaks. We began to grasp the full scope of the family’s challenges.

Plans for Improvement

Back in the yard, Carmen discussed the urgent need for renovations: shelves, paved floors, waterproof roofing, and a new stove. These changes would ensure Juan José’s safe recovery post-surgery and improve the family’s quality of life. Carmen and Cynthia, a volunteer, shared a tearful moment discussing the possibilities.

Ongoing Support and Future Plans

Since that visit, Vermont Tech’s MEDLIFE chapter has been fundraising for Juan José’s family. Carmen and Lis continue supporting the family through regular visits and prenatal appointments for Ana Beatriz. They are also considering installing a family greenhouse to combat malnutrition. The Juan José house MEDLIFE initiative has already raised over $500, with hopes to raise more. This collaboration aims to secure Juan José’s surgery and support his family with a safe home, turning their dream into reality.

The Juan José house MEDLIFE story is a testament to the power of persistence, community support, and the transformative impact of MEDLIFE’s work. Through continuous effort and collaboration, MEDLIFE and Vermont Tech are making a significant difference in Juan José’s life and his family’s future.

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