Intern Journal: William Arce

 442 Will 3

Mi experiencia con MEDLIFE en Lima, Perú comenzó aproximadamente tres meses atrás. Jamás imaginé que llegaría a estar donde me encuentro hoy, entusiasmado y con infinitas ganas de seguir trabajando por las personas que verdaderamente lo necesitan. Esta oportunidad me ha brindado muchas herramientas que me han permitido modificar mi perspectiva hacia la vida.

Recuerdo mi primera vez en el campo. Era una tarde soleada, donde el verano no había comenzado oficialmente y aún quedaba un poco del frio desértico. Desde el principio me mantuve con una perspectiva de ser objetivo ante las posibilidades que allí me podía enfrentar. Una vez que llegamos al lugar y presencié lo que allí había, no pude dejar de pensar en las veces que fui poco agradecido. Conocí a muchas familias, escuché sus historias, les brindé mi tiempo, y por un momento me olvidé de todo. Fue ahí, en ese momento, donde me dije a mi mismo que jamás volvería a ser igual.

 Desde entonces comencé a visitar pacientes para conocer sus historias y necesidades, como también entrevisté a algunos para investigar a fondo la raíz de la problemática social que nos encontramos al visitar muchas comunidades. Por otra parte tuve la dicha de viajar a Cusco, Perú y a Riobamba, Ecuador, donde también trabajé con voluntarios de diferentes países, llevando así servicios gratuitos de medicina y dental, así como talleres de educación a las comunidades que tienen menos acceso a la ciudad. De igual forma aportamos con la construcción de guarderías para niños, escaleras y baterías sanitarias.

Dentro de todas esas oportunidades que se me presentaron, siempre recuerdo una visita que hicimos a una paciente, Ida Lampas. En la visita estuve por dos horas consecutivas hablando con la paciente acerca de sus condiciones y las cosas que le habían sucedido. Pero eso no fue todo, a mitad de conversación comenzó a mencionar las cosas positivas que sobrepasaban todo lo negativo que había pasado. Entendí que no son las cosas que pasamos sino con la actitud con que las afrontamos. No les puedo explicar con palabras la emoción que sentí al escuchar su historia y ver que de alguna manera el simple hecho de haberla escuchado era suficiente para ella.

Estar en otro país, lejos de tus costumbres y tu familia siempre es difícil, pero cuando te das cuenta de todo el cambio que has logrado solo puedes pensar en lo feliz que te sientes de haber logrado tu meta. Es por ello que me siento extremadamente agradecido de la oportunidad que MEDLIFE me ha dado para poder aportar a esta causa. A veces las personas no entienden porque hacemos este tipo de labor, pero la realidad es que forma parte de nuestro llamado. Tenemos que ayudar a las personas sin mirar su raza, su color, su partido político o situación económica. Todos tenemos la oportunidad de impactar vidas, ya sea en nuestros hogares, a nuestros vecinos, en comunidades locales, en el trabajo o en cualquier lugar. Soy un fiel creyente de que tenemos que vivir para servir. 

442 Will 2

My experience with MEDLIFE in Lima, Peru, began about three months ago. I never imagined I would be where I am today, excited and with an endless desire to continue working for people who truly need it. This opportunity has given me many tools that have allowed me to change my outlook towards life.

I remember my first time in the field. It was a sunny afternoon, summer had not yet officially begun and there was still a little bit of the desert cold. When I first came to Lima I tried to keep an open mind about what I would find there. Once we got to the Pueblos Jovenes and witnessed what was there, I could not stop thinking about the times I was thankless. I met many families, I heard their stories, I offered them my time, and for a moment I forgot everything. It was there, at that point where I said to myself, I will never be the same.

Since then I started visiting patients to learn their stories and needs. I interviewed them and tried to thoroughly investigate the root of the social problems we found while visiting many communities. Moreover I had the good fortune to travel to Cusco, Peru and Riobamba, Ecuador, where I also worked with volunteers from different countries, bringing free medical and dental services, and educational workshops to communities that have less access to the city . Likewise we contribute to building nurseries, staircases and hygiene projects.

Among those opportunities that came my way, I will always remember a visit we made to a patient, Ida Lampas. During the visit I talked with the patient for two hours about her condition and the things that had happened to her. But that was not all, she started to mention the positive things that surpassed anything negative that happened to her. I understood that it is not about the things that happen to us but the attitude with which we face them. I can not explain in words the emotion I felt when I heard her story and saw that somehow the simple fact of having heard her was enough for her.

Being in another country far from your habits and your family is always difficult, but when you realize everything you’ve accomplished you can only think about how happy you feel having achieved your goal. That is why I am extremely grateful for the opportunity MEDLIFE gave me to contribute to this cause. Sometimes people do not understand why we do this kind of work, but the reality is that is part of our calling. We have to help people without regard for race, color, political party or economic status. We all have the opportunity to impact lives, whether in our homes, to our neighbors, local communities, at work or anywhere. I am a firm believer that we must live to serve.


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.