MEDLIFE Role Models: Meet Meri


Seeing Meri’s devotion to her patients in the field, it’s hard to imagine her anywhere else. But before she became a nurse, her interests revolved around a very different field — sports journalism. As a child, she recalls, she always enjoyed reading and writing stories. At just fifteen she became one of the first female sports reporters in her area. While still in school, she spent her free time traveling all over the country to interview players and broadcast radio reports about various sports events.

Today she brings that same focused determination to her work as MEDLIFE’s field nurse. She began her nursing career working in an ambulance service. There, she says, “I saw up close people torn apart by pain, who were just scraping by in life, and sometimes I also saw the indifference of some professionals.”

As the years passed, new interests developed and Meri began to work for the Ministry of Health. In her position as a promotora, or health promoter, she provided education around public health issues to poor settlements far outside the urban center of Lima. She went from house to house to distribute information about preventive care and treatment.

That experience brought her to MEDLIFE, where today she manages follow-up care for our Mobile Clinic patients, often going far beyond just medical attention. Meri knows each patient and their family personally. She travels all over Lima to visit their homes and accompany them to doctors’ appointments.

“We bring each patient the warmth and love of a family who cares for them,” she says. One such patient is Eloy Britto, a seven-year old with a congenital heart defect that keeps him from participating in the normal activities of a child his age. For his birthday, Meri took him and his brothers on a rare outing to the park, and, she says, “he was like a bird with new wings.” The park lent them a wheelchair, and with it Eloy and Meri were able to “run” alongside his brothers, chase the birds and eat cotton candy. It was an unforgettable experience for Eloy, who sometimes can’t even go to school because walking makes him short of breath. When the day was over, says Meri, he cried because he didn’t want to leave, and she promised to come see him again.

For Meri, giving patients the hope of a brighter future is the most important part of her job. “MEDLIFE is like a guardian angel for every patient, helping them in their physical, emotional and social recovery, and letting them know that even if it rains today, tomorrow there will be sun.”



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.