Venezuela native, Eduardo Solorzano, is a two-time Mobile Clinic participant in Peru and Ecuador. Now in Lima working as a Summer Intern, he shares with us a little of his newfound perspective from the operational side of things:
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Maracaibo, Venezuela. After finishing high school at 17, I moved to Miami, Florida and have lived there ever since.
During my first week in Lima, Carlos Benavides — the Director of MEDLIFE Peru — invited the interns to join one of the late night meetings with the leader and neighbors of Virgen de Cocharcas, a small slum in the district of Villa Maria del Triunfo. However, we had to take a bus to Pamplona to get there. It was late at night and families were coming back home from the day’s work. All of the buses were packed, and even people were hanging out of the doors. Five of us needed to take the same bus to Pamplona, but there was only space for one. I sat in the bus, and with a few directions from Carlos, I embarked on my adventure. I am not going to lie, I was panicking the entire ride. However, the bus driver and a few of the passengers knew where I needed to get off. I was really surprised to know that they were willing to help someone that was clearly not from Pamplona, or even from Lima. Thankfully, when I arrived to the location safe and sound, Carlos and the rest of the interns were already waiting for me.
I was in a fraternity at Florida International University where I met members who were already involved with MEDLIFE and they invited me to a meeting. There, I learned what MEDLIFE was all about and didn’t think twice about signing up. Before I knew it, I was flying to Lima for my first Mobile Clinic on May 1st, 2011.
Now that I’m working as intern, I get to see a different side of MEDLIFE that I wasn’t able to as a student volunteer. Organizing a Mobile Clinic takes a lot of coordination with the community weeks before the clinic starts. Projects do not happen overnight — they also require frequent visits to the community. Meetings with community leaders and their neighbors are crucial for the building of projects.
What I look forward to most this summer is learning what happens after a week of clinics end. I am excited to start following patient histories and to work with the community to organize more projects for the following clinics. I also learned that projects do not only happen during clinics, but rather, are always occuring throughout the year. Finally, I am looking forward to working on MEDLIFE’s newest project, the building of their first Wawa Wasi (day care center).