Intern Journal: Inaugurating a New Staircase in Jesus Obrero

inaugurationjesusobrero-7671From left: interns Cristina Salvador, Ashlan Bishop, Hailey Bossio and Eleanor Dickens, with community leader Soledad breaking the champagne bottle.

As a summer intern for MEDLIFE, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in development projects on each of the 3 clinics I have worked on: two staircase projects in the Buena Vista community of Pamplona Alta in Lima, and MEDLIFE’s 100th project in Ecuador, a daycare center bathroom. Coming into this internship as a student interested in studying medicine, I did not anticipate that I would enjoy the development work as much as I do. However, at each project I was struck by the positive attitudes of the community members we worked with and how welcoming they were to all our volunteers. Even though we usually proved to be much less competent builders than they were -Mixing cement by hand? Not as easy as it looks!- the community members treated us like family and were so grateful for our help. Project days have become one of my favorite parts of the clinic week, so I was very excited for our intern development work.

As Lara discussed in her latest post, last week all of us interns started work on a project in the community of Jesus Obrero. We carried sand up to the worksite, packed the staircase frame with rocks, passed buckets filled with cement along the steep terrain, planted trees along the finished project and painted alongside the community members. All together, two much-needed staircases were completed in the community. On Thursday we completed the finishing touches, painted the risers in MEDLIFE’s signature red, and held our inauguration ceremony.

Inauguration ceremonies are some of the most fun and enjoyable parts of a clinic week, and this one proved to be no different. We blasted music, danced around, listened to some community members serenade us, talked and played with the little kids, and, as always, ate loads of food. They served us all kinds of cakes, cookies, tequenos, sandwiches, and everything in between as we listened to speeches and broke a bottle of champagne over the finished staircases. Afterwards we followed the local baker up to his house where he showed us how he makes bread in their small home. We all enjoyed some of the warm rolls on such a cold day, and the community members proclaimed our fellow intern, Cristina, and our architect, Tim, as godparents of the bread oven. Of course, more celebration and dancing ensued. When we left for home hours later we were stuffed and exhausted as usual, a sign of a successful inauguration.

As I prepare to leave my internship and head back home, I’m so grateful to have been able to work with and learn from these community members. The development projects have taught me much more than I would have thought. Working alongside the community members has shown me that a positive attitude can really change a situation, how to appreciate your neighbors, how much a thank you can really mean to those who help you, and to remember to take time to celebrate your work.



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.