Peru Intern Journal: Maureen



It seems like only yesterday my plane landed at the Jorge Chavez Airport here in Lima but time has been flying by — I can’t believe it’s been five weeks already!

Returning to Lima after a year of being away at college was more cathartic than anything. I never thought I would miss the hectic traffic jams or the smell of car exhaust. Yet, driving down the highway from Callao with the flashing lights of the casinos surrounded by the colorfully painted combis, I felt like I was back home.


Although Lima wasn’t new to me, working with MEDLIFE was. After a few days of getting acquainted with the office and the staff we started in on three straight weeks of Mobile Clinics — a tiring, yet very rewarding experience. The Mobile Clinics here in Lima consist of three parts: the clinic itself staffed by local doctors; the stair project; and the tour.

My favorite part of the Mobile Clinic experience has been the tour —  a three- to four-hour hike through Pamplona Alta, an urban slum in Lima where MEDLIFE started its work in Peru. On the tour we visit a police station, schools, and patient homes. Students not only interact with the local community but also get a chance to talk with the patients about their experiences with MEDLIFE. They are also exposed to the challenges residents’ face every day just because of where they live. They see what it’s like to live in communities that lack water, electricity, sewage, and proper infrastructure and really begin to grasp the severity and depth of the poverty in Lima.


After the Mobile Clinics came time for office work and patient follow-up. I was really excited about the patient follow-up process because being able to see a patient from the diagnosis through the end of the treatment is what I feel really sets apart the intern experience from the volunteer experience. Like the tour, the follow-up visits are an eye opening experience to the obstacles facing these impoverished communities. Although dealing with the Peruvian public health system was less glamorous than I had thought (and I hadn’t thought it would be all that glamorous to begin with), it is very interesting to see what a patient is up against. However chaotic and frustrating, I do really enjoy the patient follow-up visits. Getting to know the patients and their stories is, in the end, what I want to take away from this internship.

I’m also excited to start work on our nutrition project, but more about that in the weeks to come…. 


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.