Meet the Patient: Daniel Saldaña

Something that defines the children and adolescents from the current generation is a passion for being connected. They like to be in constant contact with those around them, especially their friends. Daniel is no different, at 13 he has his own opinions and ideas, and a strong desire to participate in the world around him, typical of boys of this age. This is very apparent from the way he interacts with new activities, particularly if these are with family or community members.


But Daniel has not always had this confidence; he was very ill as a baby, with fevers and terrible headaches, the medication his parents gave him stopped helping, and by his second birthday his mother was very worried about his health. He was eventually diagnosed with Meningitis, this illness permanently destroyed his hearing, and as a result he now finds speaking very difficult.

Given how sociable Daniel is, the shock of losing his hearing and being unable to speak at first greatly affected his confidence and happiness. He was depressed and confused, as any child whose health and happiness are damaged so severely by sickness, would be.

Daniel’s family have never had very much money, so buying him a special headset was impossible, as these are very expensive, the same applied to speech therapists. But they never stopped looking and thanks to his mother’s efforts they eventually found a school in Barranco, Lima called La Inmaculada which children with hearing problems can attend, here Daniel was taught sign language and lip reading which allowed him to interact with the world again.

The whole family fully supports Daniel: all of them have learnt sign language too so he can be involved with everything going on around him. And today with much love and patience they have managed to teach him how to pronounce some words too.


But the advancements he has made have not quenched Daniel’s thirst for life and knowledge, he has learned to read and write and has acquired a new hobby: surfing the internet. The vast reaches of the world wide web have provided him with an endless amount of new information and ideas.

However the school he attends only admits students for primary education; Daniel is now 13 years old and can not advance his studies any further in this school. But he dreams of going on to secondary school and maybe even univeristy: he wants to complete his education so he can become a professional and look after himself as an adult.

When one of Daniel’s uncles found out about MEDLIFE and the work we do, he encouraged Daniel to write and explain his situation, and with the help of his sister Flor, Daniel contacted MEDLIFE and told us his story; the difficulties he has faced and the problems he has overcome, and what he wants to achieve with his life.

Daniel is now one of MEDLIFE’s official follow up patients. Janet Ludeña is one of our field nurses, she has a brother with a hearing problem similar to Daniel, and as a result she knows sign language. She has been talking with Daniel using sign language and is looking into the best options for his future education.

We cannot fail Daniel: he has the hopes and dreams of any other 13 year old boy, he is charismatic and charming and has the drive and ambition to go far- he just needs the tools of education to help him. MEDLIFE is going to help him achieve this goal and support him in every way we can.


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.