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.