August 10, 2012 2:44 pm

Meet the Interns: Liz

Written by Lindsay Bigda

Elizabeth Haro is a MEDLIFE summer intern working out of both Riobamba and Tena, Ecuador. Learn more about Liz below!

liz ecuador portraitTell us an anecdote from your experience with MEDLIFE thus far:

MEDLIFE's global health participation in Riobamba, Ecuador is unmatched. Today, for example, I went with Maria -- part of MEDLIFE Ecuador's patient follow-up team -- to Chambo in the Chimborazo province for follow-up care with three patients. Only one of the three patients was able to make the appointment. Therefore, Maria and I, with the help of local women, walked across cornfields, down muddy hillsides, and past cows to the homes of the two women that needed to be seen for follow-up care. The lengths MEDLIFE goes to to ensure the necessary medical care for the community of Chimborazo is incredible. Many of MEDLIFE's patients have the odds working against them, yet continue to live their lives with perseverance and joy. MEDLIFE's commitment to follow-up care has heightened my enthusiasm for community medicine and encouraged me to develop lasting relationships with the people of Ecuador.

Where are you from?

I am from San Diego, California. I studied archaeology and biology at Stanford University.

How did you get involved with MEDLIFE?

I became involved with MEDLIFE through the Riobamba summer internship where we have been hosting week-long Mobile Clinics in Tena and the surrounding communities of Riobamba, Ecuador.

Why did you decide to become an intern?

I decided to become an intern with MEDLIFE because of the organization's unique combination of medicine, education, and community development. I was also inspired by MEDLIFE's goal to bring sustainable healthcare that will bridge health disparities across rural communities in Ecuador. Additionally, the MEDLIFE internship offers a platform to explore my personal interest in women's health, especially by looking at disparities in Ecuador's cervical cancer mortality rates.

What was your first impression of Ecuador?

Ecuador is incredibly beautiful -- from the coast to the Andes to the Amazon. It is surreal to wake up each morning with the Chimborazo volcano as our backdrop, to take bus rides through the clouds, and to see the most magnificent waterfalls.

What do you look forward to most this summer?

What I am looking forward to most this summer is taking part in MEDLIFE's patient follow-up care. After Mobile Clinic weeks, as interns, we accompany the MEDLIFE staff members who make sure our patients receive the post-clinic care that they need. This includes everything from transportation to clinics and hospitals, to laboratory testing, to obtaining necessary medications or surgeries.

August 1, 2012 3:28 pm

Meet the Interns: Amrita

Written by Administrator

Amrita Athwal is one of MEDLIFE's interns in Ecuador this summer. She is currently staying in the sierra of Riobamba and has traveled to the Amazonian Jungle of Tena for a Mobile Clinic earlier this month. Find out more about this MEDLIFE student leader in her interview:

Where are you from?MeetAmrita1

San Diego, California

How did you get involved with MEDLIFE?

I founded the chapter at UCSD back in 2010 and quickly rose up the ladder to SAB and now West Coast SAB chair.

Why did you decide to become an intern?

Because I love everything about MEDLIFE! I've been involved with the North American side of MEDLIFE for so long that I felt like I needed to finally just come out here and live the Latin American side of it.

What has surprised you about Ecuador?

Ecuador is absolutely gorgeous! Every time I look up I feel like I'm looking at a backdrop in hollywood except it's the real thing.

What do you look forward to most this summer?

Actually doing hands-on global health care; everything from the patient follow-up to helping with the community projects, to aiding the people of rural Ecuador.

Tell us an anecdote from your experience with MEDLIFE thus far:

My most memorable experience with MEDLIFE thus far has been on my first mobile clinic in Lima, Peru back in 2010 when I worked on the staircase project. After all the strenuous labor of making the stairs that week, we had the option of purchasing a plant for less than a dollar to decorate our stairs. I remember planting my plant and loving how much hard work I put into constructing those set of stairs, and actually feeling like I made a difference. 

July 2, 2012 3:18 pm

Meet the Interns: Carolyn

Written by Lindsay Bigda

85-1-CarolynHow did you get involved with MEDLIFE?

Towards the end of my freshman year, two of my friends started the process of starting a chapter at UGA. I applied to be on our chapter's executive board at the beginning of my sophomore year and served as the local service chair, a position we created, for the past two years. As the service chair, I planned MEDLIFE awareness events on campus and coordinated local service projects for our chapter. Last spring, I went on a Mobile Clinic and officially fell in love with MEDLIFE and all the amazing people I met through my trip.

Where are you from?

I'm from Alpharetta, Georgia, north of Atlanta. I go to UGA in Athens, GA.

Why did you decide to become an intern?

I decided to apply to become an intern because I wanted the chance to come back to Lima for a longer period of time. I knew a lot about what it means to help run a MEDLIFE chapter, but I didn't know anything about how MEDLIFE worked outside of the student Mobile Clinic experience, so I am excited to get more insight this summer!

What was your first impression of Lima?

The first time I visited Lima was last spring break, for a Mobile Clinic. When I came, the weather was beautiful, the people were amazing, and I loved getting to eat potatoes everyday -- so I was obviously really sad to leave. Now, the people are still great, the potatoes are plentiful as ever, but the weather is surprisingly cold sometimes. I knew it would be chillier during the winter, but I guess it was a shock for me to go from the sunny, upper 80's weather we had towards the end of the semester in Georgia to Lima's winter.

85-2-CarolynWhat do you look forward to most this summer?

This summer, I'm really excited to see the progress on the Wawa-Wasi (a UNICEF daycare program) MEDLIFE is currently constructing. We went to see the first stone laid a few weekends ago, and I'm excited to see MEDLIFE take on a development project of this scale.

Tell us an anecdote from your experience with MEDLIFE thus far:

A couple of weeks ago, a few of the interns and I accompanied MEDVIDA Director of Peru, Carlos Benavides, to a night community assembly in Pamplona (one of the communities MEDLIFE works with often). Pamplona is basically set in dirt hillsides, so mobility can be an issue even when stairs are in place, and especially when it's dark and there's a foggy mist all around you. I remember reaching the top of a huge hill and feeling pretty proud of myself as a looked around the hillside and all I could see was fog and a few specks of light in the distance, when Carlos asked us to try to pick up a full water jug sitting on the steps next to us. I could barely pick up the jug, let alone carry it up a flight of stairs, or worse, a muddy hillside. I knew that people in some of the communities we work in in this area have to carry water from where trucks drop it off (there is no running water) to their houses, leading to many lost labor hours as well as opportunities for water contamination. Yet, I hadn't considered how physically exhausting this can be, especially when families need to carry water to their homes multiple times a day! I have enormous respect for the members of the communities we're involved with, and can't wait to see what we accomplish together this summer.

June 11, 2012 9:33 am

Meet the Interns: Savannah

Written by Administrator

 Last week, Savannah King journaled about being a Summer Intern in Lima, Peru. Now, here's some background info on the Georgia native:

78-1Where are you from?

Down south (of the states, that is). Marietta, GA -- a big city with a smalltown feel. My grandparents, parents and I all went to the same high school! Now, I'm in school at the University of Georgia. Go Dawgs!

How did you get involved with MEDLIFE?

I came on a Mobile Clinic in March of 2011, spring of my freshman year at UGA. I had been to a few meetings previously, but lacked a passion for the organization. Those eight days in Peru gave me a heart for MEDLIFE and the people we serve. I joined MEDLIFE at UGA's leadership team as Membership Coordinator and then became the Mobile Clinics Chair in April of 2012. Being on the executive board, I've made some great friendships and deepened my dedication to MEDLIFE's mission.

Why did you decide to become a MEDLIFE intern?

I applied for the MEDLIFE internship because I wanted to do and see more than I could achieve in a week-long clinic. I desired to learn more about MEDLIFE's internal operations, our patient care and follow-up process, and what we're doing to address the root causes of the poverty and heath issues in the communities we serve. And while serving the communities as best as possible, I wanted my main goal to be pouring out love and kindness and attention on these people, because they deserve to know that they are cared for, and that they matter.

What was your first impression of Lima?

Lima is incredible. I love that I get to live in what I consider a big, urban city, but still on a residential street with adorable houses and apartments. I love being able to walk to the grocery store, or jump on the bus and get across town in a few minutes. The historical sights and the landscapes here are beautiful, but of course, the most shocking aspect of Lima is the juxtaposition of wealth and poverty.

What do you look forward to most this summer?

I am looking forward to seeing patients from beginning to end and getting to talk with our doctors and staff to learn more about not only medicine, but also how MEDLIFE is run. Honestly, I'm thrilled just with living in this city, making all these new friends and having the experience of living abroad, something some people will never get the opportunity to do in their entire life. I feel so blessed!

Tell us an anecdote from your experience with MEDLIFE thus far:

My favorite moments thus far have been the occasions when patients have made a point to come, kiss my cheek, shake my hand, smile at me and tell me thanks. It reminds me why I'm here and why it's worth it!

July 14, 2011 10:27 am

Meet the Interns: Meredith

Written by Tommy Flint

Meredith McKay is MEDLIFE's Media Intern in Ecuador. She has spent nearly 6 weeks in Riobamba so far and has a lot of great material from two Mobile Clinics. Currently, Meredith is in Lima, Peru, capturing footage from our stair construction project for a MEDLIFE Engineering Brigade video. Find out more about Meredith's work in her interview:

12-1Where are you from?

I grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta and now attend the University of Georgia in Athens, GA. I study International Affairs and Mass Media Arts with a focus in filmmaking.

How did you hear about MEDLIFE?

A couple of me good friends started the UGA MEDLIFE Chapter this past year. After hearing about the amazing time that UGA students had on their first Mobile Clinic in Lima, Peru, I knew I had to get involved somehow. The Media Internship has provided me with an invaluable experience to work with MEDLIFE and appreciate Latin culture.

What's your focus this summer?

In the media field, I'm primarily focused on filmmaking. We're creating new promotional videos to show how awesome the Mobile Clinics are, as well as videos on the other aspects of MEDLIFE's operation that many students are unaware of, such as patient follow-up care. I'm particularly excited about a nutrition education video that JP, Rachel, and I are working on -- it will teach better dietary and nutritional practices to the families of Cebadas, Ecuador, where malnutrition is rampant.

What's the biggest difference between Athens, Georgia and Riobamba, Ecuador?

The biggest difference between the two cities is definitely the food! In Riobamba you can get fresh fruit juices and ceviche, but I still miss barbecue and cobbler!

Thanks, Meredith! We're looking forward to seeing the Engineering Brigades and Mobile Clinics videos soon!

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