Peru Intern Journal: Carolyn


Summer Intern Carolyn Adam writes about her experience planning and delivering a presentation on nutrition in Lima, Peru:

I can’t believe I have already been here in Peru for almost two months. The beginning of my trip was such a blur as I went straight from my last final of the semester to the airport the next day, and then the participants for the first Mobile Clinic of the summer arrived in Peru two days later. After seven weeks and four Mobile Clinics I can say I am pretty comfortable in my role as a MEDLIFE intern. Then there are those times when I am not so confident, like on June 27, when some of the other interns (Savannah and Maureen) and I presented on general nutrition tips in a health workshop in Pamplona.

We had put together the presentation after interviewing women on their family’s eating habits during the previous week’s Mobile Clinic. The presentation focused on feasible changes families could make in their diets to become healthier. These recommendations included trying to only eat one carbohydrate source with each meal (instead of eating both rice and potatoes, which is the norm in Peru); increasing the amount of lean proteins, such as fish and lentils, in their diets; and trying to cut down on the amount of unhealthy snacks they buy during the day (something I am definitely guilty of).

The girls and I had worked hard on our presentation, but I was still nervous about making diet recommendations to a group of people I didn’t know, especially in Spanish! Out of all the interns, I can definitively say I have the least experience speaking Spanish, having only taken one semester of Spanish over a year ago. I was afraid no one would understand what I was saying, or worse, I would freeze up in front of the 30 people that attended our presentation if I could not think of the word for something.

87-2-Carolyn-JournalI could not have been more wrong. The community members were so welcoming and gracious and actively participated in our presentation. At the end, the girls and I passed around a healthy “bocadito” we made that was a fresh vegetable mix, and everyone really enjoyed that. My favorite part of the experience was after the presentation, when everyone wanted to find their BMI. We had brought scales and measuring tape, along with BMI charts, and explained how BMI can help gauge whether or not you are at a healthy weight. The community members who attended the workshop were so proactive about weighing and measuring themselves, and then learning how to read the BMI chart so they could be more informed about the state of their health.

For me, the most rewarding part of being a MEDLIFE intern is interacting with the members of the communities we work with. I love that I keep getting opportunities to grow and do things that I would never have done before, like giving a health presentation in a (very) foreign language. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer has in store!



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.