Intern Journal: Jordan McHugh

Turn on the news, listen to NPR, skim through ‘The Vice,’ catch up on an uplifting documentary such as “Blackfish” and you may easily become overwhelmed with problems around the world that immediately need to be addressed. I sit in a room of ten other interns with eclectic educations and backgrounds. Not one of us sharing the same major, but each of us sharing a key identity-the compulsive need to help.

Because of this principal characteristic, I have perpetually struggled to find a path that allows me to assuage this need to help. With the insurmountable problems around the world, it is difficult to choose just one, for you are then consciously choosing to ignore numerous others. Although the lot of us are just individuals, we all have this tiny goal of curing the world. However, regardless of our history we all saw a common opportunity to make some sort of a difference using MEDLIFE as our beacon.

MEDLIFE gives you the opportunity to attack goals that appear insurmountable. Working in Lima, you can become easily overwhelmed by the extraordinary need to address every problem around you. When there are so many issues in the world, MEDLIFE gives you the chance to successfully address a specific sector, thus making the achievement of significant tasks not so unobtainable.

Although an idealistic (and true) mantra, this preceding statement is something that has been very difficult to keep in mind and to take to heart. Walking through the hills of Pamplona I feel as if I am being pulled in every direction. This community needs a staircase, this community needs electricity, everybody needs water sanitation, why is this 6-year-old selling candy on the street, shouldn’t she be in school? Our field visits are eye opening to say the least, and I continuously combi (Peruvian taxi) home with knots in my stomach and lists in my head.

When 5 O’clock hits, our workdays are far from over. Living with these 10 other like-minded interns, it is impossible to escape the reoccurring conversation: I encountered a problem that needs immediate attention today, what is the most effective and efficient way to fix it? This matter is hard to solve working for an NGO that has been in place for many years and has already created quite a hefty list of areas that require the same immediate attention. It becomes an issue of stress over which project we attend to first. In fact, nighttime pillow talk with my roommates consists of potential projects, heartbreaking family health issues, and foreseeable roadblocks in our planning. These weighted bedtime stories inevitably leave us with an extra 45 minutes of wide-eyed planning, which then inescapably carries into our dreams.

Each one of the interns I work with is inspirational. It is extraordinary to see the amount of passion that accompanies our roundtable discussions or our yearlong intern project planning sessions. As a team not only do we collaborate and learn from each other, but we are able accomplish these insuperable tasks, step-by-crazy-discussion-filled-step. I am honored to be a member of this lofty-goaled team. I am just one piece of the large picture this NGO aims to accomplish. I have to understand that this internship requires me to be okay with not fixing every problem. But, I hope that any small step I can make in the grand scheme will be invaluable.

419 image00Day in the field (Photo Cred. Ed)

419 image01A home for Ceverina


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.