April 27, 2017 4:26 pm

Life after the Huaicos

Written by Sam Roberson

Tents provided by the municipal government line the streets, inside them varying levels of food, water and possessions. Some families have a car parked outside the tent, others have functioning kitchens with ovens and stoves powered by gas. Still many have little more than the clothes and belongings they managed to salvage from the flood.

Since after the huaicos that destroyed parts of the 27 de Junio community in Lima last month, there is no clear plan of recovery in place for those displaced from their homes. Those in the Encampments are in an inbetween state, living with the wake of the disaster.

IMG 8254Water is distributed from the truck contracted by MEDLIFE to 27 de Junio.

IMG 8281A stray dog interrupts the trip bringing buckets of water back to a tent.

When MEDLIFE arrived with a water truck, the residents flock to fill up any buckets and barrels they have. With no access to the water system of Lima the trucks filling up plastic tanks and barrels is the only way to get a large amount of potable water. Even then, the water trucks cost money and inconsistently visit the community.

The  Simeon Emiliano Ramirez Mendoza, who now lives in tent in 27 de Junio, says there has been little aid from the government and he expects little in the future.

Below the tents in the washed out river bed, the debris of homes swept away from the huaycos remains. Tempora Ventura Donato use to live close to the Huaycoloro River before her house was swept away during the huaicos. She now lives in a tent with her son, daughter in law and sisters up the hill from her old home.

IMG 8308Tempora Ventura Donato points to where her home once stood before it was swept away in the huaycos.

She stands where her home once stood with her family while some of them wash up with buckets in their bathing suits to bathe. Donato says her home was swept away in the middle of the night and they have lived in the tents since then. They are still able to use a well to get water for bathing, but the water is not potable.

In the camp, a comedor, a public kitchen serving discounted meals, operates off of food from the government as well as donations. Stocked with cans of tuna, dry pasta, chicken and potatoes, women living in the encampment prepare a large pot of atun con tallarine, tuna with noodles.

IMG 8344Women continue to cook for their community in the comedor, running off food from government and donated supplies.

The comedor functions like much of 27 de Junio now, where life attempts to carry on as usual through the inconsistent government aid and donations provided. After the Huaicos, many people are living as refugees in their own community.


MEDLIFE has been carrying out a special project to bring medical assistance, donations and water trucks to communities affected by the huaycos. You can DONATE to our efforts to aid the victims of the disaster.

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     MEDLIFE is proud to announce that the plans to construct a second floor to the Union De Santa Fe Wawa Wasi were finalized in April 2017 as community members and MEDLIFE CEO Nick Ellis signed agreements. 

     The first floor to the Wawa wasi was completed in 2015 , and serves as a space for the governments "Cuna Más" program. The government will provide trained childcare personel and nutritional meals for kids if the community provides the space and other materials. MEDLIFE provided those things and the Cuna Más program runs the daycare.

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However, Cuna Más is only available to kids age 6 months to 3 years old, and children cannot enter primary school until age 6. So kids who are between ages 3 and 6 cannot enjoy the facilities above. For this reason, MEDLIFE is providing the materials for a second floor to the wawawasi that can be used for a similar program "Pronoei", a preschool for children ages 3-6. The community will organize the construction.

The addition of a local "Pronoei" seeks to close the 3 year gap between when children age out of "Cuna Más" program and start primary school. This frees up time for parents that can be used to work a job during the day. With the second floor, kids with working parents will have a safe, constructive environment with nutritous food all the way up until primary school.     

IMG 8384A child who will be served by the new floor outside the night meeting that finalized the agreement.

 IMG 8392Carlos Benavides explains the agreement to the community.

 IMG 8401Nick Ellis signs the agreement.

 IMG 8410Community members sign on, commiting to help us work on the project. At MEDLIFE community investment is a priority.

 

 

 

 

 

April 20, 2017 3:02 pm

Huayco relief aid underway

Written by Rosali Vela

Last week, MEDLIFE staff visited Cajamarquilla in Lima, Peru to deliver water and supplies to a community affected by the huaycos. We were able to secure a water tank truck to deliver much needed water to the community of 27 de Junio.

IMG 816527 de Junio relies on water tanks filled by trucks, that have been seeing infrequent visits since the huaycos.

Tempora Ventura Donato, who lives in 27 de Junio, said they had not been able to refill their water supply for 4 days. Her experience is common for those living in makeshift camp set up for the people displaced by the huaycos. Thousands are still displaced by the huaycos.

IMG 8254Water trucks can be sporadic in the area. Residents gather all available containers because it is often not known when a truck will visit.

Some fled their homes do to flood damage, but many had their entire homes swept away by the overflowing Huaycoloro River. The displaced have been living in tents provided by the municipal government of Lima.

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Water tank trucks are private businesses that sell potable water straight from their tank to homes not connected to the water system of Lima. We were able to cover the cost of the delivery for this visit, taking the truck back into the camp to refill plastic water tanks and residents buckets and barrels.

IMG 8362Supplies vary on how much people were able to save or salvage from the flood. Some have close to full kitchens run on gas tanks in tents while others lost nearly everything.

We also delivered, toothbrushes, basic first aid kits and clothes collected from a donation drive in Lima. There is no steady supply of aid in many of the communities we have visited affected by huaycos, relying on a sporadic mix of government aid as well as other NGOs.


MEDLIFE is funding the huayco relief efforts through our project fund. This is an emergency fund to help aid the communities we serve in a time of dire need. Please consider donating today as 100% of the funds for this project will be put to direct aid to communities around Lima.

In April of 2017 MEDLIFE completed one of our long-term projects, building a house for Soledad and her son. MEDLIFE met Soledad in 2014 (full story here), and upon see her living conditions, we knew we needed to get her a new home. The home she was in was unsafe, and appeared to be on the verge of collapse. The fundraising process and construction process was long, but we succeeded. A group of students from Cornell University, who helped fundraise for the house, got to be there to help put on the finishing touches, see the finished project and meet Soledad themselves.

blog soledadThe back of the old, structurally insecure house. 

blog soledad3Soledad and her son, inside their old home in 2014.

IMG 7947The completed house.

Volunteers helped us add the finishing touches on their volunteer trip!

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 IMG 8041Soledad, on the day her new home was completed.

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 IMG 8107Thank you to this group of volunteers for your help fundraising and finishing the house!

 2017 04 13Thank you to our year long interns for all of your help on this project!

MEDLIFE Future Project: A New Home for Soledad from MEDLIFE on Vimeo.

April 5, 2017 1:47 pm

A Slide for the Kiura School

Written by Rosali Vela

DSC 0097 2The old slide.

     When Grant Schmidt visited this school in Kiura on a MEDLIFE volunteer trip with Miami University, he knew they could do more than just help complete the bathroom project they worked on during the week long trip. After seeing a child climb to the top of this slid and then decide not to slide down, as the wood was old, rotting, and splintery, he decided he would organize his group to fundraise for the slide. We interviewed Grant about his experience with MEDLIFE and how they fundraised for the slide.

IMG 8735 2The volunteer group that helped fundraise after their MEDLIFE volunteer trip.

How did the group react to the idea of buying a slide for the school in Kiura:

 It was such a blessing to have gone to Tanzania with such a wonderful group of individuals. After the dinner on our third night of volunteering in the clinic, I stood and asked our group if anyone would be willing to donate to the cause of raising enough funds to buy the children a new plastic slide, which Neema worked out would be around $400. As soon as I had finished asking the question I was met with an overwhelming amount of positive support and encouragement for the idea. Every single member wanted to donate regardless of the amount, and they did; we raised over $200 within the first hour after dinner.

How is this slide project different than the project you fundraised before coming to Tanzania?

I wasn't a direct part of the fundraising project that MEDLIFE conducted before coming to Tanzania, but I think I can compare the two. The previous fundraised was calculated, planned, and carried out. However this was a spur of the moment project. It was the members of our group realizing that they had the opportunity to help just a little bit more, to brighten the lives of a few more people, and then doing everything in their power to make sure that happened. 

Why did you think it was important for the children to have a slide?

We all came to Tanzania thinking about the medical illnesses we could help treat or provide medication for to help improve the lives of some people there. We wanted to help give them some of the opportunities we experience on a regular basis. But after seeing the slide we realized something almost all of us take for granted growing up isn't available here. We wanted to help give the children the same experiences, and joy we had growing up, as happiness is an integral part of health. 

While volunteering in Kirua we couldn't help but notice the old wooden slide that sat on the grounds. We would see children climb to the top of the slide and then just sit there for a while before climbing back down, not wanting to slide down the two old splintery wooden planks to the bottom. We all thought "something like this would never be allowed to exist on a playground in America".

20170328 114333 2Kids using the new slide in Kiura.

How do you hope this slide impacts this school in Kirua?

 We hope the slide will give the kids another way to play and have fun, and that their happiness will translate into a better schooling experience. 

How can quick, group fundraising efforts like this have an impact?

 Quick fundraising efforts like this show that mission trips itineraries don't have to be set in stone, they can change based on the needs of the people you find. We hope that this slide may set a precedent to other groups that, if they find an extra need, they can fix it, whether it be the need of a new clean water system or even just another slide. 

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