From Thursday, July 20 to Friday, July 21, 2017, MEDLIFE hosted its very first mobile clinic with the Santa Monica Women's Penitentiary in Lima, Peru. The two-day clinic was focused on women's health. The first day consisted of multiple women's health-related education sessions, where a variety of topics were covered including safe sex, risks and warning signs for cervical cancer, how to perform regular self breast exams, and more! On day two of the clinic the women were offered Pap smear exams and gynecological consultations, where they were prescribed treatments for a wide range of ailments. MEDLIFE will be returning to the prison in August to deliver the Pap smear results as well as perform breast cancer screenings. 

14-12-0304MEDLIFE partered with local health professionals to host the recent mobile clinic.

14-12-0307Attendees take notes during the first educational session of the day.

14-12-0374One of the attendees expresses a concern regarding breast cancer.

14-12-0381During the clinic, brand new toothbrushes were also provided for the children of all patients.

14-12-0396MEDLIFE Nurse, Janet Ludeña demonstrates the process of a Pap smear exam.

14-12-0473The women discuss their previous knowledge of breast and cervical cancer and look for connections in what they already know.

14-12-0513Two of the educational session attendees practice performing a self breast exam.

14-12-0606MEDLIFE interns, Julia and Crystal, prepare one of the examination rooms.

14-12-0652Melissa, another MEDLIFE summer intern, mans the pharmacy station during clinic.

14-12-0664Janet and MEDLIFE intern, Brandy, take patient's background information before their consultations.


July 17, 2017 11:55 am


Written by Ximena Rodriguez
On several occasions, MEDLIFE has had the opportunity to host Mobile Clinics in the community of Pachamama Chico, located in the Alausí Canton, Tixan Parish, in the province of Chimborazo, Ecuador. In Pachamama Chico, MEDLIFE has attended to and helped with the treatment of multiple patients suffering from different heart problems.
During the recent summer Mobile Clinic season, MEDLIFE returned to Pachamama Chico once again, and this is where we met Jofre (9 years old).  Jofre and his parents visited all the way from the village of Guarinag, two hours from the town of Pachamama Chico. They came with the aim of attending our Mobile Clinic, since they had heard about MEDLIFE’s reputation of treating heart diseases in the community.
14 12 6078Jofre poses after his first eye appointment.
From a young age, Jofre had suffered from a peculiar condition; both eyes were always reddened, but one seemed to be more intensely affected than the other. 
Due to the family's limited financial resources, Jofre had never seen a doctor about his condition, and, with MEDLIFE holding a Mobile Clinic so close to their hometown, the family came with the hopes of finally being able to attend to Jofre's health problems. 
At the Mobile Clinic, Jofre was examined and diagnosed with cataracts. María Chavez, the Ecuador Patient Follow-Up Team Leader, later met with the parents to inform them about the Jofre's condition and to offer them, on behalf of MEDLIFE, the support that would be required from that moment on. The family, however, had arrived with the hopes of treating Jofre on-site and were wary of entering into the Patient Follow-Up Program. In the past, Jofre's mother had an operation on her gall bladder at the Alausí Hospital, where she had suffered from surgical complications. Consequently, they were worried that something similar might happen to Jofre. 
14 12 6080Jofre and his father outside of the eye clinic in Quito, Ecuador.
After some reassurance from MEDLIFE staff, Jofre's family finally agreed to enter our Patient Follow-Up program. We then accompanied them on a trip to the eye clinic in Quito where a specialist diagnosed Jofre with high astigmatism in both eyes. The doctor then requested to perform an internal examination of Jofre's left eye, since it was possible that a tumor could be causing some of his medical issues. 
Shortly after, results were received which ruled out a tumor as the source of the problem. Jofre was instead diagnosed with initial Keratoconus, a progressive thinning of the cornea. This condition, thankfully, can be treated with drops, which reduce inflamation, and corrective lenses, which will improve Jofre's vision. 
Jofre during his eye examination. Jofre during his first eye examination.
July 13, 2017 10:08 am


Written by Ximena Rodriguez
At the end of the Mobile Clinic season, MEDLIFE is able to start working with patients more closely and with a more in-depth approach. Mobile Clinics bring with them a series of patients who are later entered into the MEDLIFE follow up program.  Among these patients, there are many whose health complications would be easily treated in a medical center.  This was the case with two patients we met in the last winter Mobile Clinic season.
Adanel Isaac Lema Paguay (4 years old) lives with his parents and two sisters in the community of Sanja Pampa, Canton Guano, in the province of Chimborazo, Ecuador. In December of 2016, we held a mobile clinic in Sanja Pampa. That's when we met Adanel, who was attended to by one of our local professional doctors. After examining him, the doctor’s report stated that Adanel suffered from heart disease. Since this anomaly in Adanel’s health required treatment, he became part of our patient follow-up program.
14 12 6103A photo of Adanel taken during his first home visit.
Shortly after receiving this diagnosis, we visited Adanel and his family at home to explain his condition and let them know that MEDLIFE would support them with whatever medical care he needed. 
MEDLIFE then contacted the Fundación Metrofraternidad, a non-profit branch of the Hospital Metropolitano in Quito, to make an appointment with one of the physicians there. On May 24, 2017 we traveled to the appointment alongside Adanel and his family. Here, doctors confirmed that Adanel was suffering from a systolic murmur. Doctors also performed an echocardiogram on that same day, and the cardiologist later diagnosed Adanel with a mild functional deficiency of the tricuspid valve. The doctor explained to us that it is not a problem which requires surgery, and, with due treatment, Adanel could easily be cured and finally be able to run, play, and do all the activities a child his age should enjoy.
14 12 6100Adanel getting examined by one of the physicians at the Hospital Metropolitano in Quito, Ecuador.
Shortly after meeting Adanel, we met Felix Fernando Sagnama Chimbo (12 years old), this time at a mobile clinic in the community of Pull Grande, Canton Guamote, where Felix lives. During his consultation with one of the MEDLIFE physicians, Felix complained of major discomfort in the eye. There was no doubt that Felix was a person who needed to continue with medical care after the mobile clinic.
14 12 6085Felix and his father at their first follow-up appointment.
As we do with all of our follow-up patients, MEDLIFE visited Felix and his family after the clinic ended to let them know that, if they accepted the help, MEDLIFE would be assisting with Felix’s medical care from then on. 
We later made an appointment at an eye clinic in Quito, where the ophthalmologist informed us that Felix was suffering from severe allergies due to the wind and dust that exists in the area where his family lives. His sight was fine, and there were no major complications. The doctor then prescribed eyedrops to treat the allergies, and now Felix is feeling completely healthy. 
14 12 6086Felix has his eyes checked at the ophthalmologist.
Once again, MEDLIFE is proud because we have been able to help patients who are suffering from ill health find treatment thanks to our guidance. 
July 4, 2017 11:27 am

Inaugurating the Water Project in 15C

Written by Aidan Wells

On Monday, July 3rd, 2017 MEDLIFE Staff visited the communities of 15A1 and 15C in Villa María del Triunfo to innaugurate a brand-new water project. In June, several of the Lima mobile clinic participants were working on a  staircase project in 15C. Here, they listened to the community members discuss the need for a way to pump water from the bottom of the hill to the top. The volunteers asked that their participation fees go towards funding this particular project. Soon after, MEDLIFE created a community agreement with both 15A1 and 15C stating that MEDLIFE would provide materials for the pump-system. The communities then worked together set up the new system. This water project with hopefully improve the quality of life of people living in the area as they will no longer have to carry, by hand, heavy buckets of water up multiple flights of steep steps several times a week. 

IMG 0101Using a series of hoses, the new pump system will carry water from the bottom of the hill to the very top.

IMG 0091The system consists of multiple smaller pumps like the one pictured above.

IMG 0082Community members check the system at the halfway point to make sure everything is functioning properly.

IMG 0124MEDLIFE Interns and community members of 15C work to connect the new pump system to the water tanks at the top of the hill.

IMG 0137From the storage tanks at the top of the hill, the water then relies on gravity in order to be distributed to the houses below.

IMG 0133 1Each tank holds 1100L of water, and they will need to be refilled every 3 or 4 days.

IMG 0184Aidan Wells, one of the 2017 MEDLIFE Interns, checks the water tanks to make sure they work.

IMG 0197Finally, with the traditional bottle smash, the project is officially inaugurated!


I first met Deli on the final day of a MEDLIFE Service Learning Trip; I had been sent to photograph the inauguration of a staircase in the community. The 9 year-old's shyness had apparently worn off as, almost immediately, Deli was giving me a tour of her newly constructed home. All it took was some encouragement from a couple of fellow MEDLIFE staff members, Kristine and Lina, who had been working in her community all week.  

IMG 1454Deli, along with MEDLIFE staff members Lina and Kristine, in front of the newly constructed home.

The simple structure sat just at the top of the newly built staircase, and a path through the rock had been cleared, leading up to a small white gate. After we looked at the space where the kitchen would be, her parent's room, and a living space, we reached what would eventually become Deli's room. Unfortunately, this brought our tour to an end, since Deli had realized that volunteers from the trip were opening some paint outside. She hastily joined as they decorated a rock that had been left protruding from the hills side in front of her home. A few brightly colored butterflies seemed to be just what the rock needed to be transformed into a makeshift plaque for Deli's new home. Two butterflies later, Deli's mother, Yajaira, called for her to attend the mobile clinic that MEDLIFE was holding elsewhere in the community.

IMG 1476Deli as she joined volunteers to decorate the rock in front of her home.

It was in the neighboring community of 15C where Carlos Benavides, director of MED Programs Peru, along with MEDLIFE staff members, Kristine and Lina, were introduced to Yajaira Muray Ary Tolentino. They were first introduced to Yajaira's story by a neighbor who came to ask for help on Yajaira's behalf. Then, they finally met her in person while working on a staircase project close by. Yajaira found MEDLIFE herself to seek out relief. 

18836602 1396510280410070 4251579475766490626 oYajaira's family in the space where her old shack used to be, getting ready to lay down the new structure. Also featured is Yajaira's husband, Felix, who has recently been entered into MEDLIFE's follow up program.

Yajaira and her family moved to Lima from the small Amazon town of Requena when Deli was just one year old. Originally settling with her parents lower down the hill, Yajaira later sought help from the community of 15A1, who were able to give her a small section of land. "I started to by using plastic to cover us, I made a small shack," says Yajaira. By the time she was 6 months pregnant with her second daughter she had created a two square meter structure which served as their home, "I lived there with my kids; it was small but we finally had our own place." It was obvious that the family was in need of more comfortable living conditions, and Carlos quickly coordinated the supplying of materials to improve the home.

18891456 1396518603742571 7972060645639709863 oLina and Kristine carrying up Supplies to construct the new home.

While working to improve her home, Deli, who, naturally, had already befriended everyone she'd met, expressed to the MEDLIFE team that she was worried about her mother's health. The team was sure to inform the family that MEDLIFE would be bringing a mobile clinic to the community the following week. I later learned the extent of Yajaira's health issues when on a home visit with one of the MEDLIFE nurses as part of the patient follow up program. 

IMG 2124Yajaira and her family on the day of inauguration.

A little over a week later, I sat down with Yajaira as she explained why Deli had shown so much concern during the last visit by MEDLIFE staff. Since the age of 14, following the loss of her first child, Yajaira had been fainting up to two times a week. Obviously these fainting spells have been disruptive and dangerous to Yajaira's everyday life, but she has not yet recieved any kind of diagnosis. As of right now, the cause of Yajaira's illness remains unclear, but, with MEDLIFE's assistance, I hope that we can improve Yajaira's quality of life even further. From here, the next step is to fully enroll her into MEDLIFE's patient follow up program. Then, the MEDLIFE nurses will be able to assist Yajaira in discovering the root cause of her condition and, hopefully, find a solution. 

 IMG 1725The bottle smash, a Peruvian tradition to inauguratea finished construction project.

IMG 2318Yajaira and her youngest daughter in front of their new home.

MEDLIFE Patient story: Yajaira Muray Ary Tolentino from MEDLIFE on Vimeo.

"The sky is the limit if you have a roof over your head."- Sol Hurok
There are many moving parts that go into the creation of a safe building, but in Peruvian construction, the roof is considered the most important. A completed roof symbolizes a completed project. The walls may need spackling and a fresh coat of paint, and the floor may need cleaning, but these are just aesthetic changes. No matter what, with a finished roof, a project is ready to be used. 
2Carlos Benavides, director of MED Programs Peru, stands with the materials required to fill in the roof.
On Sunday, June 25, 2017, just two months after the plans were finalized and the community agreement was signed, MEDLIFE Staff headed out to Union de Santa Fe to see the completed roof on the second floor of the wawa wasi.  Union de Santa Fe community members, along with a few of the MEDLIFE interns, hauled countless buckets of rocks and sand to the cement mixer until the roof was finished and ready to be inaugurated. 
3With the addition of a cement mixer, a machine not readily available on project days, we were able to finish the roof in just one day!
5MEDLIFE Summer interns, Brandy and Jana, pass a bucket of rocks down the cement assembly line.
4Project days might be tough work, but they are definitely fun, too!
The first floor to the Wawa Wasi was completed in 2015 , and serves as a space for the Cuna Más program. Cuna Mas is a government program which provides trained childcare personnel and nutritional meals for kids. However, it is only available to kids between 6 months and 3 years old. In Peru, children don't start primary school until age 6, so kids who are between ages 3 and 6 can't enjoy the facilities. The new second floor of the Wawa Wasi will be used for a program called PRONOEI, a preschool for children ages 3-6. This addition aims to close the 3 year gap between when children age out of Cuna Más and start primary school, as well as provide a safe childcare facility for the children of working parents.  

 6Members of Union de Santa Fe spread the concrete mixture on the Wawa Wasi's roof.

7Ricardo Ccasani, Union de Santa Fe community leader and MEDLIFE staff member, fixes a leak in the pipe carrying cement to the roof. 

8Thanks to the immense support of the Union de Santa Fe community, the Wawa Wasi roof was completed in just four hours!

9The summer interns take a break from all the hard work to pose for a quick picture!

10MEDLIFE Staff members, Martha, Rosali, Raúl, Edinson, Angie, and Dr. Nick Ellis, pose in front of the Wawa Wasi after the inauguration.

June 27, 2017 10:30 am


Written by Aidan Wells

The gang is finally all here! With the last of the interns having just arrived, the office is alive and buzzing as the MEDLIFE family continues to grow. Keep reading to learn more about our 2017 MEDLIFE Summer Interns and their stories! 

Crystal Rubalcava: MEDPrograms Intern

crystal 1Hometown: San Fernando Valley, CA
School: UC  Berkeley
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology & Integrative Biology with a Minor in Global Poverty and Practice
How did you get involved with MEDLIFE?
At Berkeley, in order be a part of the MEDLIFE chapter, you have to take a class. Given the size of our school and the allotted spaces in the class being capped around 40 students, we had to apply to get in. I applied, got in, and raised enough money to go on a service learning trip this past winter. After the trip wanted to continue my work with MEDLIFE, so I applied to be an officer in my chapter and have been involved ever since. 
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I will be starting my 4th year of undergrad in the fall. I am the oldest of 4 girls and am the first in my family to move away and go to school. I am Mexican, and I live by the major three F's: Family, Food, and Fútbol. I aspire to be a physician and would like to work with the under-served people of Los Angeles because it has one of the largest Spanish speaking populations in the country but lacks medical professionals who can actually communicate with the people they work with. I would like to bridge that gap and make it easier, for people like my grandparents, to receive quality medical care.
Why did you decide to become an intern?
After coming back from my service learning trip this summer I realized I wanted to continue working with MEDLIFE. I am skeptical of global poverty work because "dufflebag medicine" attract many voluntourists who go on medical missions to boost their resumes.  However, I find MEDLIFE to be different because it emphasizes community involvement for coordinating and planning mobile clinics and development projects. I really like the immediate medical relief with the mobile clinics AND sustainable relief with the development projects, such as building staircases with the communities of Lima. I also really just enjoyed the environment. The community members here are super friendly, and Peru is such a beautiful country. I needed to come back and explore more.
What was your first impression of Lima?
It is such a diverse city. I found it similar to Los Angeles where you have the extremely rich (Westwood in LA vs. Miraflores in Lima) living with malls, cell phones, Starbucks, casinos etc., and just a 30 min drive away you will find communities (Watts in LA vs. Shantytowns in Lima) that have minimal to no infrastructure. 
What are your goals for this internship?
I hope to gain a better understanding of what global poverty means and what the type of work in this field entails so that I can go back and share the knowledge with my chapter and anyone else who would be willing to listen.

Jana Abdul-Samad: Volunteer Affairs Intern

janaHometown: Burr Ridge, IL
School: Miami University of Oxford, Ohio
Major: Biochemistry with minors in Physics and Music Performance
How did you get involved with MEDLIFE?
I learned about MEDLIFE while trying to find an organization related to my interest in medicine. I joined my chapter at Miami, and went on a mobile clinic to Moshi, Tanzania soon after. I was attracted by the deeper understanding of the social aspects of healthcare that we are not exposed to in the typical classroom. It's completely different when you're faced with it in person.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'll be a senior at Miami this coming year. I'm from Chicago, IL, but both my parents are from Homs, Syria. I hope to attend medical school and pursue a career as a physician, continuing to care for people in a new way. I enjoy playing violin, trying new foods, cooking, traveling, and meeting new people. 
Why did you decide to become an intern?
Before joining MEDLIFE, I had been on two brigades with Global Medical Brigades to Panama and Honduras. I decided to try a trip with MEDLIFE to Tanzania, and I really loved the way the mobile clinics are set up with a reality tour prior to actually attempting to help the community in the area. MEDLIFE exposes the truth of the situation, and provides not only the aid needed, but also the education needed to care for oneself. I knew I wanted to do something for an organization that does so much more than just send money and materials, and I wanted to help spread their message. This was the best way to do that.
What was your first impression of Lima?
I was kind of surprised at how cloudy it always is here during the winter. However, I've still really enjoyed the city and how different every part and neighborhood of Lima is from the next. You can choose to be anywhere based on what kind of feel you are looking for. 
What are your goals for this internship?
I hope that through this internship I can learn more about the sociological aspect of healthcare, and what factors are important for a community to sustain itself. I'd like to learn how to get a society on its feet and how to offer healthcare in a way that promotes development. This could help down the road, as I intend to return to Syria to help rebuild the country after the revolution. I hope I also learn a little bit more about myself and how I work with others, helping me become a more efficient individual.

Lisa Krecké: Volunteer Affairs Intern

lisaHometown: Colmar-Berg, Luxemburg
School: Leiden University College The Hague
Major: Global Public Health
How did you get involved with MEDLIFE?
During the last academic year, we started a MEDLIFE Chapter at my University, and I was involved in this process as a member of the Executive Board. 
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Luxemburg, which is a really small country in Europe. Currently, I am studying at a Liberal Arts & Sciences College in The Hague in the Netherlands, and I will graduate during the upcoming academic year. I really enjoy getting involved in different groups and committees at my University and have very diverse interests. I love books and movies and I really enjoy sharing this excitment with people that are also passionate about these things. 
Why did you decide to become an intern?
I really enjoyed my time on the Executive Board of our MEDLIFE Chapter and I wanted to learn more about the set-up and functioning of the organization on a global scale. I love traveling and experiencing new environments, so getting the opportunity to live in Lima for a couple of months is something that I am very excited to do. This internship will be a very valuable work experience and I hope it will help me with any future academic or professional plans. 
What was your first impression of Lima?
Lima is a very busy and huge city. I will have to learn how to get around and navigate within it. However, everyone has been very nice and welcoming, so I am sure that I will figure it out over time. I am very excited to explore this city and visit its many beautiful sites and areas.
What are your goals for this internship?
I want to learn more about community-based development work and thus have a clearer idea about careers I could see myself doing in the future. I hope to leave feeling comfortable in this city and feeling that I made many new friends. 

Melissa Montes: MEDPrograms Intern

melissaHometown: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
School: Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, IN
Major: Biology 
How did you get involved with MEDLIFE?
I became involved with MEDLIFE because a friend of mine went on a mobile clinic trip and invited me to go with her to a second trip to Tanzania this past winter break. I have also been a part of the team trying to start a MEDLIFE chapter at my school.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am laid back, easy going, and hard working person! I am from southern California and am a rising senior at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame! I love to be outside and to have fun with friends and family! 
Why did you decide to become an intern?
I decided to become an intern because I loved my mobile clinic experience and wanted to continue to learn about and work towards MEDLIFE's mission. I think that MEDLIFE is doing so much good for so many people around the world, and I really wanted to be a part of it.
What was your first impression of Lima?
So far Lima reminds me a lot of Mexico! There is so much to see and do, and I'm looking forward to exploring the city! The busy city life has been very exciting and an overall awesome experience so far.
What are your goals for this internship?
My goals for this internship are to continue to learn about global health issues, and what we can do to help as well as improve my Spanish skills. Oh and, most importantly, to have fun! 

Noor Chadha: MEDPrograms Intern

noor 1Hometown: San Jose, California 
School: UC Berkeley
Major: I'm majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology, with an emphasis in Immunology. I'm also minoring in Global Poverty and Practice!
How did you get involved in MEDLIFE? 
I first heard about MEDLIFE as a freshman looking for organizations to join at our university's club fair. After taking UC Berkeley's student-led preparatory course for MEDLIFE mobile clinics, I came to Lima in January 2015. Prior to my trip, I questioned how I could really make a difference in two weeks. However, once in Lima, it was clear to see the impact MEDLIFE makes in the communities we work in. While an individual volunteer may only visit a given community once, MEDLIFE consistently returns and follows up with patients. Inspired by MEDLIFE's focus on community needs and sustainability, I became involved in Berkeley's MEDLIFE chapter as an officer. I started out as Spanish Director of our preparatory course, and now I'm our chapter's co-president! 
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a rising senior at UC Berkeley. Besides MEDLIFE, I work to connect patients with community resources at a hospital in Oakland, study the molecular underpinnings of Chlamydia trachomatis at a research lab, and dance on a Bhangra team! (Cal Bhangra - check us out!)
Why did you decide to become an intern?
Whenever I recruit members for our UC Berkeley MEDLIFE chapter, I consistently find myself emphasizing MEDLIFE's focus on follow up care and sustainability. I love MEDLIFE's holistic mission of comprehensively helping patients live healthier lives, and I'm excited to actually be a part of MEDLIFE's long term work as an intern. 
What was your first impression of Lima?
My first impression of Lima was two and a half years ago when I came on a mobile clinic here. I remember loving to explore the gorgeous, fun, and metropolitan city. However, I also remember being struck by how close yet how different the lifestyles were between where we lived in Miraflores and where we worked in Pueblos Jovenes. Going back and forth between both locations every day was an extremely thought provoking experience. 
What are your goals for this internship?
I am excited to connect theories and paradigms from my Global Poverty coursework to real life poverty action. I have studied the historical and cultural contexts of MEDLIFE's work in an academic setting, but I hope to learn a lot about what it actually means to sustainably combat health inequities on the ground. I am also excited to build relationships with both my fellow interns and with community members. I hope to have a meaningful impact while I am here, and also to take perspectives and memories with me that I can continue to apply once I leave!

Sydney Tang: Volunteer Affairs Intern

sydneyHometown: Danville, CA 
School: University of California, Los Angeles
Major: Undeclared in Life Sciences
How did you get involved with MEDLIFE? 
I went on my first mobile clinic last year in Riobamba, Ecuador! I actually didn't know about the trip until after the registration deadline passed, but I reached out to MEDLIFE asking if there was any way I could join. Next thing I knew, I had my bags packed and was on a plane to Quito! My experience in Riobamba opened my eyes up to a new perspective in health, and fueled me to learn more about the social, cultural, and political determinants that affect health. It was one thing to learn about these issues in school, but a whole different experience to actually see them in person.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I am an upcoming junior at UCLA! I love being in LA because there is always something to do, or somewhere to go. Hiking, playing soccer, crafting, and trying new foods are some of my favorite things to do. I also love finding new music (Ed Sheeran and The Beatles are some of my all-time favorites), and I would love to start a vinyl record collection sometime soon. Although I haven't decided on a career path yet, I know that I am passionate about helping underserved communities and I want to work in healthcare in the future.
Why did you decide to become an intern?
After my trip to Riobamba, I went home feeling like my trip was cut short. I had an amazing experience, but I wanted to do something more.  I decided to become an intern because it was an incredible opportunity to work toward sustainable change alongside other passionate individuals. MEDLIFE's mission resonates with me, and I truly believe in the work that we do.
What was your first impression of Lima?
Lima is way bigger than I imagined. I was overwhelmed at first, but I have loved everything about it so far. I took Spanish for a few years in high school, but I want to challenge myself and practice it whenever I can. I can't wait to just walk around and explore everything that Lima has to offer.
What are your goals for this internship?
My goals for this internship are to keep an open mind, try anything and everything, and be mindful of everything I do. Whether its struggling to improve my Spanish, or going the extra mile with a project, I want to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone and make an active effort to learn as much as I can. I am so grateful to be here in Lima, and I want to make the best of this experience.
14 12 2568MEDLIFE Summer Interns and staff at a night meeting to discuss a future clean water project in the community of 15C
This blog is part of a series showcasing chapters that won awards in this year's MEDLIFE Awards. Each week we will be talking to a chapter to hear about their keys to success. Find out how to start a MEDLIFE chapter at your school HERE.
The Ohio State University MEDLIFE chapter is committed to service and building relationships with other groups on campus and in the surrounding community. They hold monthly meetings which are not only educational but are hands-on and practical. They invite guests to speak to members about topics like suicide prevention or the heroin epidemic in Ohio, and have held countless educational seminars including CPR training, yoga classes, and pillow making workshops. These seminars allow their members to develop professionally and use these new skills to give back!
We recently reached out to MEDLIFE-OSU Chapter President, Elizabeth Adams, to learn about her chapter's success. 
16179228 1306203619439162 3978770277363816195 oIn January 2017, MEDLIFE OSU sent over 30 students on a Service Learning trip to Cusco, Peru.
How did you start to work with MEDLIFE? Why did you choose MEDLIFE?
I joined MEDLIFE the first week of my freshman year when I accidentally stumbled upon the MEDLIFE booth at our involvement fair! Joining our university's chapter was the best decision of my college career. After the first meeting, where I learned about MEDLIFE's mission and the ways we were able to help lower income families both locally and abroad, I was absolutely hooked. What really made me dedicate myself to MEDLIFE was their commitment to serving communities longterm by providing year-round followup care, education on preventative medicine, and sustainable development projects that allow a community to thrive from within, rather than rely on constant outside assistance. 
What new strategies have you used as President of your Chapter to gather support and inspire students to work with MEDLIFE?
I think that our Chapter has been able to gain the support of and to inspire students to work with MEDLIFE by sharing our individual stories. Whether it is at an involvement fair, through our chapter's social media, or even just in casual conversation before lecture, the first thing I, executive board, and general body members mention about MEDLIFE is their own, personal experience and why it means so much to them. I think our chapter has had great success in this because we also provide opportunities for members to get involved with local outreach to the Columbus community. Whether it's for a local food drive, a fundraiser that consists of petting puppies, learning about health disparities in the LGBTQ community of Columbus, or volunteering at an elementary school, we give our members something to talk about, even if it is done locally! Of course, mentioning that you got to climb Machu Picchu while assisting in serving thousands of patients abroad through triaging them, teaching children how to brush their teeth, and filling their prescriptions is also pretty cool 
14 12 2 The Ohio State chapter keeps meetings engaging! Here, they are making pillows and cards for Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus.
In your opinion, what is your chapter’s greatest achievement?
I believe our chapter's greatest achievement is having the ability for our members to feel involved in whatever way they are able to and would like to. Many students feel financial constraints on being able to attend brigades, especially regularly, leaving bulks of time with a potentially foggy idea on what to do with MEDLIFE. Our chapter provides members with local opportunities for fundraising, volunteering, and learning. Additionally, we try our best to vary the times of day and day of the week when activities occur, in case of scheduling conflicts for a particular time/day. Further, sometimes schedules simply do not have room for a longterm involvement with the chapter and we understand that! It is totally ay-okay to simply go on a brigade through our chapter, and we work to ensure such members get the needed info for them to have a wonderful time on brigade! It's really all about making MEDLIFE whatever you want it to be, and our chapter works to spread this message! 
What did you do to get people engaged?
We do our best to switch up meeting topics/ideas/styles to keep everything fresh! For example, we may have a meeting based on educating ourselves about a particular health disparity in our community led by a guest speaker. Then the following meeting may be a little more hands-on, such as making stress balls for children in a local orphanage. We also keep communication open between executive board and our general body members through surveys! This ensures that we are providing the content and the opportunities that our members are looking for MEDLIFE to provide them.
14 12 3Members at a Kaplan Suture Clinic.
What is your most memorable experience working with MEDLIFE?
My most memorable experience working with MEDLIFE has to be my trip to Lima, Peru in January of 2016. One particular  memory is from our last day working in the community, during the reveal of our completed staircase development project. I had been playing with a little girl, about 6 years old, then it was time to go. As we packed up, I noticed that the girl's father was kneeling down so she could speak into his ear. He listened intently, as if he was trying to learn. He and his daughter went back and forth a couple of times, repeating the same thing back and forth. He then approached me, extended his hand, smiled, and said, "Thank you." The language of love knows no barriers. 
What plans do you have for the future of your chapter?
One of our chapter's goals is to independently raise the funds for a development project! We also plan to continue to expand our local volunteer opportunities focusing on medicine, education, and development. 
Do you have any advice for other chapters?
Always remember why you joined MEDLIFE. Remember the fire that started within you to inspire you to be involved with leadership within your chapter, and always work towards spreading that feeling to others. Specifically, keep communication open within the chapter and remember it starts with you! Always ask questions, collaborate with other chapters, and reach out to national! 
Remember,"Individually we are one drop, but together we are an ocean."-Ryunosuke Satoro
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June 22, 2017 10:30 am


Written by Aidan Wells
Carmen Narvaez is a nurse technician, and a part of the MEDPrograms team. The nurses on the MEDLIFE team work directly in the communities to ensure patient follow-up care. The patient follow-up team conducts individual patient visits, checks in on patients who present serious symptoms, and delivers exam results. When a Mobile Clinic participant receives abnormal test results, this is the team that accompanies him/her in each step along the way to recovery. Carmen loves working directly with patients to look after their needs, support them, and make them happy.
18839222 1450080975030940 6631311400114263089 nMembers of the MEDPrograms team are constantly in the field working on mobile clinics, providing patient follow-up, and working with community members to ensure successful MEDLIFE initiatives.
Where are you from? 
I'm from Lima, and I live in San Juan de Lurigancho.
How did you get involved with MEDLIFE? 
I saw an announcement that they were looking for nurses to work here in MEDLIFE. So, I applied, and I was accepted and had the opportunity to become a part of the MEDLIFE team. 
What is it that you like most about working with MEDLIFE? 
I love visiting the patients. I like working directly in the clinics, and leading the educational workshops.
14 12 7331Here, Carmen demonstrates the steps of a Pap smear exam at a night-time educational workshop in Villa El Salvador.
Can you name a particular patient that has had a strong impact on you? 
Yes, there are many patients that have an impact on us because you get to see, first-hand, the help that you can give. The help you're providing the patients is sometimes much more emotional than simply medical. You want to treat them well because sometimes all that the patients want is someone to listen to their problems. Many times, their ailments aren't just of the body. There are times when you're speaking to a patient, and they have so many things stored in them that the moment they start telling you all their problems, their illnesses, it makes you sad because you see everything they have gone through. 
Before MEDLIFE, what were your experiences with non-profit/humanitarian organizations?
Before MEDLIFE, I worked with another NGO called Manuela Ramoswhose work focuses on women's sexual and reproductive rights. The organization aims to empower women to make their own decisions about using methods of contraception, to report when there is any kind of violence towards them, and to make the decision to have regular Pap smear exams.
14 12 1Carmen makes a follow-up visit with Maura Morales, a MEDLIFE patient who was in a moto-taxi accident and required major reconstructive surgery.
Why is this work important to you? 
I think that sometimes the work we do is to try and help women understand that their health is a priority. Women are often caretakers. They care for the health of their families, the husband, the children, but they do not care about their health. Most of the time patients who have cancer or other severe illnesses are women. They are often made to understand that, as women, we are the healthcare providers of the family, but our health becomes a part of the background.
What do you do in your free time?
I do a lot of work at home. I like to go dancing or go for a walk, but mostly I like to spend the weekends relaxing in my house.
15776874 1292474324124940 1535702963453788041 oOn clinic weeks, one of Carmen's many responsibilities includes working with volunteers to fill patients' perscriptions.
Thirty-six year old Dr. Carolina Wong has been working with MEDLIFE as a dentist in Lima for almost two years. She was first motivated to pursue medicine because of her desire and drive to connect with patients and help people with their problems. With her passion for serving others, Dr. Carolina was a natural fit for the MEDLIFE team. 
We sat down with Dr. Carolina to learn more about her story. 
14 12 6359Dr. Carolina Wong is one of several dentists who work regularly with MEDLIFE in Lima.
What inspired you to work in MEDLIFE's Mobile Clinics?
I really like working with MEDLIFE because I get to have direct contact with the people volunteering, trying to resolve the patients' questions and ailments. 
 Where do you work when you are not on a Mobile Clinic?
I work in a dental practice. I also work in schools with small children as a part of the Qali Warma project, in which I attend to children 11 years old and younger. 
 How would you describe Lima?
 Beautiful, with a lot of people. The people are very good, friendly, caring, and kind. 
18814624 1454676647904706 3265541971776728848 oHere, Dr. Carolina works to fill a cavity on a Mobile Clinic patient.
What experience has impacted you the most since working on Mobile Clinics? Is there a particular case or patient? 
Yes, with this work, a lot of the cases have a huge impact on us. There are so many families and places here in Lima... There's no way to know all of the communities. There are far away communities that we don't even know exist, where there are people with diverse problems. They always try to get ahead with what little they have, but it's always with a smile. I remember I once met a mother who had four small children and her only work was selling vegetables. So through selling vegetables, she was able to earn enough money to send her kids to public school. All that being said she still always had her children well cared for and protected. I'll always remember the care and protection that mother showed her children. 
What do you enjoy the most about Mobile Clinics? 
I enjoy being able to help people. I enjoy when the students come. I love getting to know them, being able to interact with them, and being able to respond to their expectations and answer their questions... I like that we are able to all be one family.  
What would you tell future volunteers who come on a Mobile Clinic?  
I would tell them that they are going to have a really great experience with the patients here in Peru, the adults as much as the kids. They are going to learn a lot with us at every station: dental, OBGYN, general medicine, pharmacy...and they're going to experience that Lima heat! 


14 12 6366Dr. Carolina Wong is an invaluable member of the MEDLIFE team. She always works very closely with volunteers to ensure they get the most of their Mobile Clinic experience.

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