MEET THE PATIENT: Kassandra Muyolema

On monday March 27th, during our Spring 2017 season, MEDLIFE held a Mobile Clinic in the Chipsa community, located in Guano City, an hour and a half away from the city of Riobamba, Province of Chimborazo, Ecuador. As soon as the Mobile Clinic started, a woman appeared with a child who couldn’t walk, and the two of them directly approached the doctor. The little girl was complaining about pain that was caused by a “‘ball” putting pressure on her stomach. When the doctor was attending the girl, she could recognize that the girl wasn’t in fact very well, and that she needed to get to the hospital. Martha Chicaiza, director of MEDPROGRAMS Latinamerica and Ecuador, was present and determined to help the patient. She hired an SUV, and that same day Miria Rosero, and her daughter, 14-year-old Kassandra Muyolema, were taken to the Hospital Docente de Riobamba. Once they arrived and were attended to, doctors confirmed Kassandra needed an emergency surgery. 


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In May of 2017, many weeks after meeting Kassandra and knowing that she was finally being treated, we visited her and her mother, Miria, to see how they have been.


The weekend before the Mobile Clinic which Kassandra attended, Miria heard that there would be a medical mission happening in their community soon. Today, Kassandra’s mother informed us that she decided to wait for MEDLIFE to get to her community to seek the healthcare her daughter needed, because even though they have a health post close to them, she felt that the post could not provide the proper care that the little girl needed. That same day that we met Miria and Kassandra in the clinic, around 8pm, Kassandra went into surgery. The doctor previously said that her stomach was getting stiff, stating that it was about to burst and that it was best for Miria to mentally prepare for what was going to happen. The girl stayed in the hospital for eight days, unable to eat anything during that time period. She received an injection to stop the pain and shortly after that, she could walk and eat again. Now, Kassandra wants to jump and run, but her mother must always remind her to stay calm during the recovery process. 


Kassandra is part of a family of 6. She lives with her mother, father, and sister, while her two older brothers live in Quito, Ecuador. The family is originally from the Cahuají Alto community. Kassandra’s dad had suffered from apendicitis years before, which is what would eventually happen to Kassandra. Thanks to the healthcare she received, Kassandra is now healthy and completely cured.


Miria works in the fields of Chipsa. She is very thankful that MEDLIFE was able to provide the support she needed to treat her daughter. The hostility which Miria had previously encountered in the hospital was what she was most afraid of. Miria felt that her daughter was getting worse by the minute, but no one was really taking care of them or treating Kassandra’s illness. To this day, she is still thankful for Martha Chicaiza’s patience and company during Kassandra’s time at the hospital. 


“To all the patients who might suffer from the same illness, I encourage you to take the opportunity to get checked when doctors come with the Mobile Clinics. We might not all have the means or resources to go to the city (Riobamba) for healthcare, so we should appreciate all of the effort and time that the people of MEDLIFE put in just to come here just to heal people,” Miria says. 


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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.