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Through a Different Lens: Intern Journal by Aidan Wells
By Aidan Wells
Iâ€™m a biology major. My classes involve a lot of walking through the woods, measuring the circumference of trees, and counting bugs. So, youâ€™d be correct to assume that my friends had quite a few questions when I decided to pick up and move 3,199 miles (5148 km for anyone whoâ€™s wondering) away for three months to do an internship that consists mostly of taking pictures, writing blogs, and posting on the MEDLIFE facebook page. The answer is pretty simple; I am trying to see the world through a different lens.
There is something about being behind the camera which gives you a sort of all-access pass. There is hardly a thing that happens in MEDLIFE that I donâ€™t know about because itâ€™s my job to be there. Iâ€™m documenting and capturing MEDLIFEâ€™s day-to-day happenings and spreading the word about what we do. Along the way, Iâ€™m learning what itâ€™s like to see the world from another perspective.
Because of MEDLIFE, I was able to accompany Mercedes, a mother of six living in Villa Maria Triunfo, and comfort her during her very first trip to the doctorâ€™s office in Lima. I had the opportunity within the walls of Santa Monica Womenâ€™s Penitentiary to document the first in a series of mobile clinics that will be held there. I got to interview Carmen Narvaez, one of the MEDLIFE nurses, and learned that she has been a champion of womenâ€™s rights for basically her entire professional career. I was given the personal honor of inaugurating MEDLIFEâ€™s first water pump project in the community of 15C, which will prevent community members from having to carry heavy buckets up incredibly steep hills just to have fresh water. In just three months, Iâ€™ve done all this, shot multiple service learning trips, conducted multiple interviews in both Spanish and English, and even been to the desert twice to snap a few photos of the volunteers sandboarding. Yet somehow, there is still more to be done!
In MEDLIFE, there are so many stories that need to be heard, and Iâ€™ve spent this summer trying to be the one to tell them. In doing so, my eyes have been opened to the realities of poverty, structural violence, and so much more. Iâ€™m leaving Lima as not only a better photographer, but a better person, global citizen, and future health professional.
I canâ€™t write paragraph upon paragraph about photography and not include any pictures, so Iâ€™ll end this with some of my favorite moments from the summer.
Two volunteers pose in front of a newly painted MEDLIFE sign in Bella Vista. Taken during my first mobile clinic of the summer.
Catalina, a follow-up patient originally from Cusco, poses with one of two brand-new pairs of glasses delivered during a follow-up visit.
One of the high school volunteers climbs sand dunes during the day trip to Ica.
A group of friends chat during clinic while their parents are attended to by MEDLIFE doctors.
A little boy gives his full attention during a community education session on women’s health.
Community members from 15C work on decorating the newly completed staircase before inauguration.
Aidan Wells is the co-president of MEDLIFE at the University of Georgia and the 2017 summer communications intern.