Sean White came to intern with us at MEDLIFE Peru fresh out of MIchigan State University as a result of his unforgettable experience serving as part of a Mobile Clinic in Lima last year. Here’s what he told us about his motivation to help out with our mission:
How did you get involved with MEDLIFE?
I became involved with MEDLIFE over two years ago. I enjoyed my courses at Michigan State about contemporary issues in the global political economy which covered topics including: the critical shortage in health care worldwide; social forces and competing ideologies in a world context; global resource distribution; international development strategies; and first and third world dichotomies. I saw on Facebook that an old friend was involved with MEDLIFE and began researching the organization to find out more about it. MEDLIFE’s commitment to listening to the poor, providing culturally sensitive care, attacking the root cause of disease and suffering, and finding sustainable development solutions was different than most other aid organizations, and meshed perfectly with the theoretical knowledge that I had just gained in the classroom. That winter, I attended a Mobile Clinic in Lima, Peru and when I returned, started the Michigan State University MEDLIFE Chapter.
Where are you from?
I was born in Flint, Michigan and grew up in Flint and Grand Blanc, Michigan. I studied business management at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan and graduated in May 2012.
Tell us an anecdote from your experience with MEDLIFE thus far:
A few nights ago, I had the chance to go to a community meeting in Union Santa FÃ© in Pamplona with Carlos, our Director of Peru. The meeting lasted over two hours and it was both heart-warming and inspiring to see firsthand how the community organizes with Carlos to raise health, hygiene, and living standards, and how grateful they are for MEDLIFE’s presence in their community. The next day, Carlos told me that the community continued their meeting for another two hours, staying until 1:00 A.M., sorting out which members of the community would be responsible for working on each of the projects and on which days.
What was your first impression of Peru? What has surprised you about Peru?
My first impression of Peru was just simply how different it is from Michigan. When friends and family at home ask me, “What is Peru like?” I tell them to imagine Michigan, but the exact opposite.
For me, the people of Peru are the best part. Everyone I have met here has been so kind, welcoming, and genuine. This holds especially true in the communities in which we work. The people there form amazing communities that they take great pride in claiming as their own, and rightly so because they’ve put considerable effort into building and maintaining these communities. It is refreshing to see the pride Peruvians have in their community and fellow man.
Why did you decide to become an intern?
I decided to become an intern with MEDLIFE because the internship provides a unique blend of a number of my interests regarding health care education and awareness, community development through infrastructure projects that advance health and hygiene, and economic progress. Each day is fast-paced, interesting, and different. I’m constantly learning while also having the opportunity to experience another culture.
What do you look forward to most this year?
What I am looking forward to most this year is joining Nick, Carlos, Meri, and the rest of the staff in the field and being able to experience MEDLIFE’s patient follow-up care, as well as the preparation and designation of community development projects. Also, being a part of all the hard work and effort that goes into these year-round projects. Prior to becoming an intern, I went on two MEDLIFE Mobile Clinics, which are very well organized and carefully orchestrated, so most students (myself included) don’t see or realize how much hard work and effort goes into making sure the clinics go smoothly or how many other things MEDLIFE is doing simultaneously and throughout the year.