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Meet the Interns Year-long 2013-14
Meet our new MEDLIFE year-long interns!
Name: Jennifer Clay
Hometown: Syracuse, NY
School: George Washington University
Major: Public Health
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I grew up in Syracuse, NY, where I spent a lot of time playing soccer, skiing, and hiking in the Adirondack Mountains. I then moved to Washington D.C. and went to the George Washington University, where I graduated this past May with a degree in Public Health. My major, along with a semester studying abroad in Chile, helped me realize that after graduation I wanted to work with an organization like Medlife.
My favorite part so far: During my first full week in Lima I worked on a mobile clinic. One afternoon after working on the staircase project, Medlife Peru Director Carlos Benavides took myself and some of the other student volunteers to a community a short walk away. There Carlos was meeting the community for the very first time, to learn about their needs and possibly start working with them. As we were led around the extremely steep slopes that lacked any well-constructed stairs at all, we learned how very difficult daily life was for them. Nevertheless after Carlos explained about Medlife and set a date for us to return and hold a first meeting with them, the women giving us the tour offered us cups of Coke to mark the occasion. As I walked away with a knitted red hat one women had given to me as a gift, I could not believe how lucky I was to be there and see how this process starts.
Name: Frank Dawedeit
Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
School: Johns Hopkins University
Major: Behavioral Biology
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I was introduced to MEDLIFE at the chapter formation in Fall 2010. I was intrigued by MEDLIFE’s threefold approach to helping Latin Americans improve their quality of life. Working with Carlos and Alberto in Peru and Martha in Ecuador was incredibly meaningful, and the dedication of all the local doctors and volunteers made me want to come back. The enormous efforts the communities themselves invested in projects as well as the joy of the kiddies convinced me MEDLIFE was an organization I should work with for an extended period.
What was your first impression of Lima?: My first impression of Lima was startling. I had expected a little community in the hills, but instead encountered a thriving city with plenty of nightly raucous celebration and nightly soda consumption options. From the intimidating airport to the sprawling roads amidst first-rate architecture, I loved my Lima experience and I’m truly privileged to be back for a year. I hope to partner with MEDLIFE for many days ahead and learn as much from the people in the office and field as they doubtless glean from watching him stumble into doorways, walls, etc.
My favorite part so far: I’m a journalist at heart, but also a part-time actor and driver. I’m a Detroit Lions fan but officially hails from Jacksonville, FL. My favorite part of my internship so far is a close race between reuniting with Carlos and driving the Pacific Coast at night with Giancarlo on an empty highway, to the beats of Demi Lovato.
Name: Hannah Gillean
Hometown: Devon, Pennsylvania
School: Temple University
Major: Spanish Literature and Urban Studies
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Of the many values that I hold true, I strongly believe that travel is the best education. Not only can travel expose you to a new language, food, culture or custom, travel opens the mind to a new way of interpreting the world we all share. In the words of Pico Iyer, in Why We Travel, “…Travel spins us round in two ways at once: It shows us the sights and values and issues that we might ordinarily ignore; but it also, and more deeply, shows us all the parts of ourselves that might otherwise grow rusty.” For me, travel encourages my mind to manipulate the mundane into something spectacular. It allows me to break the boundary between perception and reality while I engage parts of my brain that I never even knew existed. I see travel as a vehicle to promote understanding, individuality and most of all a global perspective—all of which, I believe, are essential characteristics one must embrace in this ever-evolving world.
What was your first impression of Lima?: Before leaving, I had absolutely no idea of what it would be like to live in Lima, as I had never been to South American before. Now that I have been here for almost a month, I never want to leave. The city of Lima is chaotic, yet rhythmic, massive, and yet intimate. It’s a mix of every emotion possible crammed into a traffic-jammed metropolis along the coast of the Pacific Ocean—there is so much to do and also so many things to discover. On a side note—I am SO looking forward to exploring the gastronomic capital of South America one bite at a time!