Intern Journal: Daniela Carbajal

Peru has the most diverse natural habitats, striking panoramas and lively cultural productions that I have ever seen in my life! Never in my wildest dreams, did I imagine l could get to experience a glimpse of the vast immensity of the Atacama Desert. In this arid non-polar desert, I thrillingly rode a buggy on sand dunes that stand several hundred feet high enabling the view of a breathtaking sunset over the oasis of Huacachina. I feel overwhelmingly grateful to MEDLIFE for the opportunity to live in Lima,Peru for the last month because I have created amazing memories with the other interns.  In Peru, I have captured in surreal photographs an incredible juxtaposition of ecosystems that depict moments I will cherish for a lifetime. Even in the poorest communities of Lima like Pamplona you can see the vibrant colors of Peruvian culture in the tiny houses barely standing in steep dirt hills. Definitely working with MEDLIFE as a MEDprograms intern has bestowed me with the discovery of  the beauty found in the Peruvian sceneries.


However, MEDLIFE opened my eyes to see not only the aesthetics of the Peruvian landscape. The never-ending beauty of a philanthropy managed by devoted individuals that reduce healthcare disparities surpasses the beauty of apparent views. There is more than meets the eye with MEDLIFE. The medical relief that  MEDLIFE provides does not stop after the last patient in the mobile clinic is checked out. MEDLIFE makes sure the patients that need follow-up acquire the necessary medical attention necessary to heal. Basically, nurses go house by house in the most distant districts that only MEDLIFE dares to reach, in order to become profoundly involved in the life of each of the patients that need extended care. As a MEDprograms intern I had the chance to go with the nurses and doctors to many patient follow-up visits. During the nurse home visits I have seen many people that suffer considerably due to the inability to promptly access healthcare. There are many patients in the follow-up visits that have waited many months for appointments in the local hospitals and then when MEDLIFE finally reaches out to them their conditions have worsen. Because of the complications that arise from the long waits to access health care in the insufficient local medical facilities many individuals have to endure pain daily.  MEDLIFE, through MEDprograms, reaches out to people that the local health care system will not care for because they  lack the economic means top ay for healthcare, and because the public hospitals are extremely overcrowded.  MEDLIFE makes an evaluation on the initial follow-up visit that will determine if the patient has needs beyond the medical that could promote their welfare. I have witnessed such initial holistic checkups and how much they completely change the lives of the patients.  If there are infrastructural obstacles that hinder the patient’s health recuperation MEDLIFE will render to the necessities specific to that individual. For instance, if a MEDLIFE patient must obtain food after a surgery the staff will make sure that they have nutritious food up to the very end of their recovery process. I love the fact that MEDLIFE is at the disposition of the people that do not have anyone else to help them.


Recently, during one follow-up visit we went deep into the landfill of the slums, where the smell was putrid and there was no water or any form of sanitation. In there we were searching for a follow-up patient that needed immediate surgery for a hernia.  The elder man that needs surgery was ther living in inhumane conditions, abandoned by his kids and working really hard in the landfill from 3 a.m. in the morning until the afternoon. His house was a couple of walls with a foam mattress on a dirt floor where a his protective dog will lay with him. His work was respectable yet his profit was synonymous of modern exploitation because he only gets pay 50 centimos per every kilogram of recycled junk that he finds in the landfill.   I wanted to start crying during that visit because it was heartbreaking to see how someone could live in such sickening conditions. Thankfully MEDLIFE is there for that patient and other patients in similar positions that need immediate medical attention and have no one else to rely on.  MEDLIFE brings hope to people that otherwise will be resigned to live in agonizing pain.

Furthermore, MEDLIFE covers up to 90% of all of the costs any medical procedure. The follow-up visits from MEDLIFE staff are granted based on the prognosis of the diagnosis. Therefore, nurse home visits are maintained until MEDLIFE verifies by the time patients are discharged from our follow-up system can have salubrious lives.

Similarly, with the follow-up visits, the development projects start with a vision that is carried out until completion. I have seen how the MEDprograms staff starts  by envisioning ways in which the persons lives will drastically improve. I know the impact of the development projects benefits the present of the community plus the upcoming generations.  In the slums, where I always see kids roaming the streets without their parents MEDLIFE creates a safe environments for them to grow, play and learn. Projects such as staircases, nurseries (like ¨wawa wasi¨) and comedores to name just a few, are simple solutions that facilitate the progress of communities deterred by poverty. Moreover, the projects enable the children to have a sheltered childhood giving them the opportunity of dreaming and the potential of soaring to a better future. Everything that MEDLIFE accomplishes would not be possible without the collaborative effort of the community, volunteers and staff that wholeheartedly works for the benefit of helping others living in poverty. That is why if you are serendipitously reading my intern journal I would like to encourage you to join MEDLIFE in any possible way.This past month in Peru with MEDLIFE has been the most fulfilling adventure of my life. The  reward of knowing you helped changed the life of one person is absolutely beautiful. Working with MEDLIFE has motivated me to keep on heartily devoting the rest of my life to the service of others and I can’t wait to see where all the inspiration from my internship takes me.



Hear it From MEDLIFErs

Testimonial Quote

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.

Testimonial Quote

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.

Testimonial Quote

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.

Testimonial Quote

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.

Testimonial Quote

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.

Testimonial Quote

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.

Testimonial Quote

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.

Testimonial Quote

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

Testimonial Quote

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.

Testimonial Quote

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.

Testimonial Quote

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.

Testimonial Quote

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.