Meet the patient: Miguel Tanguila

Miguel Tanguila

Miguel Tanguila worked hard on his platano finca near Tena in the Ecuadorian jungle to support his wife and 8 children. “We are peasants,” Tanguila said. “We don’t have much to feed ourselves with, but thank god, with platano, we can live.” Miguel can grow enough to feed his family, but he still needs more to pay for the costs of sending his kids to school. “Sometimes we plant some Naranjilla too. Which we sell to pay for the costs of our kids education.”

            One day, Miguel began to experience intense stomach pain. After several days, it still hadn’t gone away, days became months and it only got worse. He wasn’t able to make the journey out to his finca anymore, two hours of walking and a river crossing. His thirteen-year-old son stopped going to school and began working in the finca full time to help make ends meet.

            His family had another stroke of bad luck when his 5 year-old daughter fell and hurt her hip. She couldn’t walk anymore. “Sometimes she cries in the afternoons,” Miguel said. “It makes me feel terrible as a father.”  They went to local medical centres, but they could not get adequate treatment, just temporary relief. Their problems persisted.

            In 2016 MEDLIFE met Miguel in a Mobile Clinic and brought him and his daughter to see the proper medical specialists. MEDLIFE will continue to work with them until they get the proper treatment.  “Thank God the foundation came to our community,” Miguel said. “We are really thankful for the support.”


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.