Rosali Vela

Rosali Vela

Website URL: http://www.medlifemovement.org

September 29, 2015 8:08 am

A New Home for Ceverina

Ceverina, a 70-year-old woman in Lima, Peru, used to live alone in a deteriorating shack that could collapse inward at any moment. One of our MEDLIFE interns, Molly Trerotola, fundraised to remove Ceverina from the dangers of her deteriorating house and build her a new home. Check out the photos taken throughout the project! 

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September 10, 2015 11:06 am

RENOVATING THE COMEDOR "FE Y ESPERANZA"

We want to thank our Chapter at McGill University for their amazing support to the local comedor "Fe y Esperanza". If you want to read more about this comedor's story you can click here. Follow the timeline to see how this comedor was built!

1For many years Martha has worked in what are locally called the comedores populares or "Soup Kitchens". Sixteen years have passed since Martha, together with 70 other mothers, founded the 'Faith and Hope' cafeteria, located in the settlement of Cumbre. In daily shifts, four or five women voluntarily prepare food purchased with the help from PRONAA (National Food Assistance Program), this subsided food is delivered to the comedor approximately every three or four months.

2This cafeteria is run by women, mostly mothers, who coordinate shifts and responsibilities to prepare lunch at low and affordable prices thanks to government subsidies. The food delivered through the government program, called PRONAA, includes staples such as flour, rice, sugar, and beans.

4In spite of the quality and the love with which the work is done, it is undeniable that the facilities for this service are less than ideal. On arriving to the premises it is immediately obvious that there are many shortcomings. The floor is not properly paved, the walls and ceiling are a set of old, dirty timbers, and the cooking utensils are poor quality. In addition, some of the volunteer mothers have to bring their small children and, given the reduced space, children are put in contact with all areas of the kitchen, thus being exposed to potential health and safety dangers.

5MEDLIFE, through it's network of chapters and students, started seeking for support Martha and all the volunteer mothers. With the collaboration of McGill chapter, the dream of a better place began to come true.

6As soon as the funds were ready to be used, the community started to work on construction.

7During the construction, all comedor's activities had to be done out side...even the cooking!

8Winter could be really rainy in the hills of Pamplona. An improvised roof had to be made to keep all the kitchen materials dry and safe during the contstruction.

9Carlos and Martha sharing a hug. The walls are starting to dry.

10The roof is probably the hardest part of construction. The kitchen couldn't stop working through the construction! Many people benefit from the comedor's services and they will continue cooking no matter what.

12The roof is now ready to be filled with cement. Martha's husband is the one leading the whole construction.

13Martha next to the almost-ready comedor. She has been overseeing the process since the very beginning.

14Once the roof is ready Carlos and the interns are even able to walk over it!

15Thanks to the support of the volunteers during a mobile clinic, the comedor is now painted and ready for the inauguration!

16Our volunteers are the first to dine in the new comedor! There was even enough money to buy a large table and some kitchen materials.

17From the outside the comedor looks totally different than it did before. Now it is a clean, safe and comfortable for people to have quality meals.

19Our whole staff thanks McGill for their contribution! We know that Martha and the comedor's team will be always be grateful for their support!

2015 2 10 AnnaName: Anna Folz
Hometown: Stony Brook, NY
School: Franklin and Marshall College
Major: Public Health
 
How I got involved with: My school did not have a chapter, I heard about MEDLIFE through a friend who was also a yearlong intern. He spoke so highly of the work that MEDLIFE did. After I spent time on the website I soon fell in love with it and everything MEDLIFE did.
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself: During college I played Rugby, played viola in the orchestra and ran a social justice organization. I also continued to build on an organization that I started during my gap year, called Impuslo. The goal of The Impulso Project is to provide fuel efficient stoves to families in order to reduce the negative health effects caused by open fires and inefficient stoves for cooking and heating. With Impulso, I have spent a large amount of time organizing various trips to Guatemala and fundraising for the stoves. Aside from all of this, I love traveling and experiencing new cultures, especially through food (mainly cheese)
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?: Having spent time working with various organizations throughout Central and South America, I knew I wanted to continue working abroad and wanted to work in positions that had a public health lense. MEDLIFE was like the perfect fit. It is so important to me that public health organizations work directly with the local community, assisting community members and leaders in implementing programs designed to improve the health of families. MEDLIFE does exactly that. It is so awesome being able to work with an organization that works cooperatively with local communities in addressing public health issues.
What was your first impression of Lima?: I was very lost and confused at first. The city seemed so huge and I only knew how to get to the grocery store (not a bad place to know). I quickly learned that drivers are reckless and to never J-walk (for a New Yokrer, its hard not to do). The city is filled with so much color, which seems to contribute to its vibrant and exciting culture.
What are your goals for this internship?: I would love to continue developing projects that address the health issues confronting people negatively effected by the inhalation of smoke from inefficient stoves and open fires used in cooking. I hope to be able to assist in securing fuel-efficient stoves that will help in alleviating these health issues in Cusco and other areas in which MEDLIFE is working. Perhaps most importantly, during my time with MEDLIFE, I want to learn how to teach safer and cleaner ways to live without imposing on the local cultural traditions.
 

2015 jordan
Name: Jordan McHugh
Hometown: Setauket, NY
School: University of Michigan
Major: Cellular, Molecular Biology & Geochemi
How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I had pre-med friends who were looking for something meaningful to do during spring break. Since my friend was the University of Michigan chapter's president, we decided to accompany her on a trip.  MEDLIFE turned out to be so much more than a spring break trip for me, and I am so excited to be continuing on with this program.
Tell us a little about yourself:  I love backpacking and conquering mountains! I also love coming a new place and just walking around, discovering and learning new things.
Why did you decide to become an intern?: After my first clinic, I was inspired by MEDLIFE's unique mission to collaborate with like-minded individuals around the country towards an idealistic goal. This internship offers me the rare opportunity to work in an inspired environment to congregate people and bring them into the heart of a growing city and repair it even more.
What was your first impression of Lima?: Crowded! I'm from New York, and I thought I understood busy. Lima has taken this understanding to a whole other level. Here we see houses gridding the mountainside as far as the eyes can see, and traffic rushing around more furiously than I ever observed in Manhattan.. 
What are your goals for this internship?: Although having a short-term impact is satisfying in itself, I want to create something lasting on a personal level. I look forward to accomplishing physical feats such as the construction of a “wa wa wasi” (daycare center); but I really hope to come back to a community where people recognize my face or know my name. That would be truly meaningful.

The last season of MEDLIFE Mobile Clinics in Ecuador was amazing. Many students raised funds for their trip through a 50:50 campaign, here is one of their stories. For more information about the 50:50 campaign click here: 50:50 Campaign

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Name: Patrick Loudermilk

School: Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College MEDLIFE chapter
Trip: Tena, Ecuador, from Aug. 15- 23rd 2015.

What Medlife chapter are you a part of? I am part of Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College MEDLIFE chapter.

How did you hear about the MEDLIFE 50:50 Campaign? I heard about it from an email actually, from our chapter. That told us about it; that told us about all the cool things that it does.

Why did you decide to organize a 50:50 campaign? I wanted to find a way to raise money for the trip but it also seemed to be a good idea to get money for the organization.

How long did it take you to run your campaign? It was about three and a half months.

How much money did you raise? I raised $1870.

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What did you do to be successful with your campaigning? I asked a family, friends, local church leaders - my grandfather's bible study helped a lot.

Did you encounter any obstacles in the process, if so how did you overcome them? No real obstacles, it slowed down about halfway through and I had to ask some more people, but it all worked out.

Was using a 50:50 campaign a positive experience? It was a positive experience to see who was donating. They could leave little messages for me and it was really cool for me to see that and have a cool impact on people who care what I was doing and what I could do.

What did you think of your volunteer trip? It was an amazing experience, everyone that wants to go or is thinking about going should definitely go on one because you got to work in the clinics and you got to see a bunch of patients, if you're a Pre-med kind of person. Or if you just want to help- people could always use help and this is a great place to come and serve.

How do you feel about the impact you have made raising money to support people like the ones you're working with during your trip? Oh it felt great to see the end of the community project!

2015-2-2- NickName: Nick Bettencourt
Hometown: Topsfield, MA
School: Boston College
Major: Psychology
 
How I got involved with: I found MEDLIFE pretty much by complete luck. I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a video about MEDLIFE that one of my friends had put up. After watching it I was immediately interested and decided to look into how I could get involved.
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am a 2015 graduate of Boston College, where I spent most of my time either consumed in pre-med coursework or surrounding myself with my friends. While there, I was lucky enough to get to travel to Madrid, Spain and Morelos, Mexico, where I developed a love for global travel and service. I am pursuing a career in healthcare, and am passionate about working to help others.
Why did you decide to become an intern?: I have always been interested in healthcare and medicine, but have never explored the field of global or public health. I thought this would be a good way to get an introduction to the field and see if it is something I am interested in.
What was your first impression of Lima?: Although I experienced Lima for the first time during an hour long cab ride with a driver who had no idea where he was going, I still thought Lima was a very interesting and beautiful, but sometimes confusing, city.
What are your goals for this internship?: My goal is to explore the field of global health, as well as witness and be a part of the good that MEDLIFE is doing for people in need.
 

2015-2-4-Leigh
Name: Leigh Ann Cohen
Hometown: Oceanside, New York
School: University of Michigan
Major: Anthropology and Medical Anthropology
How I got involved with MEDLIFE: During my sophomore year at Michigan, a close friend introduced me to MEDLIFE.  Right off the bat, I truly valued everything MEDLIFE stands for, and so, I attended MEDLIFE's first ever mobile clinic to Moshi, Tanzania.  The work being done and the friendships I formed, not only with my co-volunteers but also with the people of Moshi, left me with an immense love and respect for the MEDLIFE family.
Tell us a little about yourself: Though I have a seemingly untreatable case of wanderlust, one of my favorite things is returning home after a long trip away.  Some of my most cherished memories are of being picked up at the airport by loved ones holding a sign with my name on it.
Why did you decide to become an intern?: Throughout college, I attended two mobile clinic trips and served as my university's mobile clinic chair.  These experiences solidified my interest in pursuing a career in Public Health and a year-long internship with MEDLIFE seemed like the best way to be a part of something greater than I could have ever imagined.  I was right!
What was your first impression of Lima?: Lima is a large and busy city.  Though there are many areas that are mind-blowingly beautiful, there are also many areas that are heartbreakingly impoverished.  The reality of disparities in health and socioeconomic status are ubiquitous throughout the city's districts, which makes my time in Lima even more motivating and worthwhile. 
What are your goals for this internship?: I hope to take full advantage of everything Lima and MEDLIFE have to offer.  I want to be fully immersed in Peruvian culture, to learn more about sustainable development, and to be inspired and challenged by new people and experiences.

2015-2-5-SnehaName: Sneha Kolla
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
School: Rowan University
Major: Biology with a Spanish and Chemistry Minor
How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I started the MEDLIFE chapter at my university.
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Besides being a huge Steelers fan, I enjoy traveling and everything Latin American, especially the music. I am also a very service-oriented individual with a keen interest in healthcare and social work.
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?: I decided to be an intern because I strongly agree with MEDLIFE's mission. It is an great opportunity to serve those in need and gain a better understanding about the issues of healthcare at a more social and communal level.
 
What was your first impression of Lima?: I found Lima's warm and cozy climate ideal as compared to the freezing winters back home. I can smell the food every time I step out and it is always mouthwatering. For someone who has lived in the suburbs all their life, living in a city environment has always been a dream and Lima most definitely fulfills it.
 
What are your goals for this internship?: I hope to gain a better understanding about healthcare's role in improving the life of an individual as well as the community. Mainly I hope to do something positive for the low-income communities that MEDLIFE serves and help spread their mission to more places abroad as well as here in Lima.

2015-2-9-JessicaName: Jessica Danker
Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
School: The Ohio State University
Major: Nutrition and Community Health
 
How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I became involved with MEDLIFE through Ohio State's chapter. Shortly after learning about MEDLIFE I attended a mobile clinic in Riobamba, Ecuador. The mobile clinic experience was what really made me want to become more involved in the program.  
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio but have always loved to travel. I spent last year in Spain teaching English where I found out that I really enjoy living abroad and everything that comes with it.  I love trying all of the new foods, exploring new cities and especially making new friends from all over the world.  When I'm not traveling you can most likely find me binge watching Netflix and/or eating chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. 
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?: I decided to become an intern because this internship combined both of my interests into one! I love traveling to new places with different cultures and I also studied community health.  I really enjoy and have seen first hand what the MEDLIFE program does for the community. I couldn't turn down such an amazing opportunity to make such an impact on the community!
 
What was your first impression of Lima?: SO MUCH TRAFFIC. In Limas defense, my flight landed just before the peak of rush hour so this only made getting to the apartment that much more difficult. Living in a city this large has taken some getting used to, however, from what I have seen Lima has a ton of exciting things to offer. At first glance Lima seems too large to ever get to know but each neighborhood has something different to offer. 
 
What are your goals for this internship?: This internship has endless opportunities to learn about all aspects of Public Health. Working specifically with MEDprograms, I hope to gain a lot experience creating and implementing projects into the community.  While working with the community I hope to better my Spanish speaking skills as well!
2015-2-3-KristineName: Kristine Paiste
Hometown: Lodi, CA
School: University of California, San Diego
Major: Pharmacological Chemistry
 
How I got involved with MEDLIFE: In December of 2013 I decided to join a MEDLIFE mobile clinic to experience a new culture and to gain an understanding of healthcare in a developing country. However my expectations were far exceeded, and in that short amount of time I was completely immersed in all that MEDLIFE encompasses. From its inspiring efforts to help each community thrive, to the incredible stories and moments shared with the locals and volunteers, I came home with a new perspective and appreciation for life. Now two years later, I find myself again in this beautiful country ready to continue the movement and take on what's next!
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I graduated from UC San Diego in 2014 and am currently taking some time off before continuing my education in the medical field. I love to travel, hike, and experience new cultures, especially the food! When adventures aren't calling my name, you can usually find me reading, writing in my journal or watching YouTube/Netflix (who doesn't?). I also love to do arts and crafts, play board/video games, and go indoor rock-climbing!
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?: As an undergrad I was heavily involved in Alternative Breaks @ UCSD, a student-run organization that sends individuals on service-learning trips both nationally and internationally to address a diverse range of social justice issues. Through those years my eyes were opened to new ideas, perspectives and endless possibilities of creating real positive changes to our world. I had found my passion for life-long service and becoming an advocate for change and with MEDLIFE I found middle ground. Through medicine, education, and community development it drives all my passions in one amazing organization, taking the time to really understand the communities we work with and their needs to help build a foundation to thrive. So when the opportunity came and how could I not take it?
 
What was your first impression of Lima?: The first time I was in Lima was in 2013, and although I am currently here for Lima's winter instead of summer, both seasons have not failed to show the liveliness of this great city. Full of culture, food, history and life, Lima has a lot to offer. Though it is Peru's capital, there are areas that are still developing and it is hard not to notice some of the effects of poverty, but I hope throughout my time here I continue to fully immerse myself in all the good and the bad, and to take every opportunity to make the most out of it.
 
What are your goals for this internship?: Throughout my time here I hope to broaden my perspective on global health and the culture of Peru, all while strengthening my leadership roles on a larger scale. I also hope to gain a better understanding of how a non-profit works and attain hands-on experience from healthcare professionals to create a substantial positive impact on the communities we will be working with. By engaging in MEDLIFE's unique experience, I hope to continue my passion of serving others while traveling the world, taking on new challenges and immersing myself in a place far from home.
 

2015-2-1-April
Name: April Gulotti
Hometown: Oceanside New York
School: University of Delaware
Major: Exercise Science
 
How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I went on my first trip sophomore year of college and when I cam back I ran for the position of President. I was elected and held that position for two years planning and coordinating more trips for University of Delaware students.
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am an active person who likes to make a difference. I find my greatest fulfillment by making others smile especially those suffering. Although we live in a massive world it doesn't mean each and every act of kindness goes dismissed because that one act of kindness can give a single individual the hope that they so desperately needed. Spreading kindness, helping others, and changing the world little by little is contagious. I am a diligent, hard working, and perseverant individual that likes to see the good in everyone. One of my best friends passed away this past October who I came on my first medlife trip with. His name was Enoch and he was the brightest soul I knew in every way imaginable. Although I thought he had taught me a lot about morals and life and the world we live in while he was here with me physically; his lessons, spirit, and glow became even more profound since he has passed. I owe much of who I am to the person he has helped me become.
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?: I wanted to become a MEDLIFE intern after going on previous trips and getting to know the past year long interns. I saw myself in many of them when I got to know the type of people they were. I felt instantly connected and I wanted to do something big. Something big to contribute to the world while still learning a lot about the foundation and logistics of what makes a successful and influential non- profit organization.
 
What was your first impression of Lima?: My first impression of Lima was how beautiful and modern it was. But, when i saw the reality of Lima I was disappointed and sad. I saw the wall that was being built to divide the wealthy communities from the poor and it made me feel as if I was living in a past life where I read in my textbook growing up as a student of all the cast systems and inequality and injustice in the world. It was at that moment when I learned about the wall and witnessed it myself that I knew I had to get involved in a bigger way and that way manifested its way into the medlife internship.
 
What are your goals for this internship?: My goals for this internship is to grow relationships with patients who have stories to tell. I want to learn Spanish so I can communicate with poor families and children so I can tell them all the things I have wanted to and have felt for so long. I want to tell them that they are important to us and that they matter in the world and that life is a beautiful gift and although there is bad in the world there is also a lot of good with a lot of wonderful people and to never give up hope as hard as it may be.
 

2015-2-8-CristinaName: Cristina Negrón Busquets
Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico
School: Clark University
Major: Biological Sciences/Pre-Med
 
How I got involved with MEDLIFE: There wasn't a MEDLIFE chapter at my school so I recently found out about the organization through one of my close friends from home. She absolutely loved her mobile clinic trips and when I heard what MEDLIFE was about I applied for the internship.
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am an adventurous eater who takes naps on a daily basis. I love my family and friends, as well as my dog Kaya. This is probably the hardest part about being here, but they are also my inspiration to do it.
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?: I decided to become an intern at MEDLIFE because my goal is to pursue a medical career and to hopefully be able to help people that don't have medical resources and services readily available. I have worked with people in the United States that have intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) in the past and although the United States has great resources sometimes these still can not be easily accessed. I aspire to help this demographic as well as improving global health.
 
What was your first impression of Lima?: My first impression of Lima was that it was HUGE. I'm from a tiny island so every place is huge to me. Hopefully, I get to experience everything that this big city has to offer by the end of the internship.
 
What are your goals for this internship?: My main goal for this internship is to learn as much as I can from MEDLIFE and about how this great non-profit helps the people most in need. My goal in life is to join an organization like Doctors without Borders so having an internship in MEDLIFE will definitely teach me about improving global health and how to best do my part in giving back to the world.
 

2015-2-7-RoxanneName: Roxanne-A. Garibay
Hometown: Greenfield, CA
School: University of California, Los Angeles
Major: Biology & Spanish Minor
 
How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I applied for our school's leadership board my junior year of college as our chapter was started. Senior year I wished to become more involved and joined the executive team. While I never went on a clinic trip during college, I enjoyed being on the team that expanded our club's knowledge of global health and sent volunteers on trips.
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I love food, pastries are my favorite. I also love traveling (naturally with moving to Peru) and being in new places; Cassis, France and Granada, Spain are my favorite cities.
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?: As I mentioned above, I was part of my school's executive board and was never able to go on a clinic trip. I applied for the internship for two reasons, the first to continue my involvement in MEDLIFE and my perspective to see the functioning of the organization as a while. Secondly, I also am planning to attend PA school and I felt that this internship would solidify my interest in healthcare.
 
What was your first impression of Lima?: It is enormous! It is also full of culture and different people, and slowly I am learning the different niches that are in the city. The ocean is also so beautiful with the extremely long and peaceful waves that crash on the cliff shores. Lastly, it is always cloudy, always.
 
What are your goals for this internship?: I hope to be able to expand my understanding of community health, culture and myself. I believe that this MEDLIFE internship will be a great highway to complete this, as well as learning the functions of an NGO. But overall, I hope to be able to help the communities here in a way that positively impacts them, whether this results in expanding on an individual project or with making connections with the patients. I also wish to both bring back the knowledge of community health abroad with me and allow the volunteers to have a sliver of the same experience.
 

2015-2-6-ChelseaName: Chelsea Barth
Hometown: Newport Beach, CA
School: Boston University
Major: Health Science
 
How I got involved with MEDLIFE:  I wanted to take a year off after college to get more experience in the field of global public health. I wasn't involved with MEDLIFE prior to my internship, but I found out about MEDLIFE after looking at different global health organizations online. I have always wanted to travel to South America and after reading about the work they have done, I knew I wanted to get involved right way.
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I love to travel and explore new places as well as meet new people. My favorite thing to do in a new city is go for a run to help me learn my way around. I also really enjoy just chilling at the beach or hanging out watching movies with friends. 
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?: I want to continue pursuing a public health career and felt I needed to get some hands on experience before I did so. I think that this internship gives me the opportunity to look at the multiple sides of public health and will hopefully help me figure out my next steps. I also loved that I will be able to gain some hands on experience by being out in the fields or helping out in the clinics
 
What was your first impression of Lima?: Lima is such a big and lively city. There is so much to see and do just in this one city. I am excited to be able to spend more time here and really experience all that it has to offer.
 
What are your goals for this internship?: I hope to be able learn more about how a global health non-profit runs. I also want to be able to learn more about the different aspects of global health so that I can figure out what I want to do next with my public health career. Another goal of mine is to be able to contribute to the MEDLIFE team and help make a difference in the communities we help.
August 11, 2015 4:51 pm

Meet the Patient: Rosadia Huayhua

IMG 4902Rosadia lives alone with her green pet parakeet whose cage sits near the door, surrounded by cluttered bits of clothing, garbage bags, buckets. Even her mattress is covered. The house smells of damp dust and dirt since it is almost always misting outside at this time of year. Her house dimly lit by a single light bulb. There is no kitchen, no sink, not even a stove to be found; just a small television set with two massive antennas sticking out. Rosadia smiles as we come inside and greet her.

The piles of clutter spread around the room look like vague lumps; individual objects are hard to distinguish. Just like it is hard to distinguish home from home, community from community in the hills during the perpetual greyness of a Limenean winter. She smiles as we come inside, the state and disorder of her home seem just fine with her. She is over 70 years old.

She moves slowly with a stooped posture. She wears a red baseball cap whenever she goes out. As she grabs the brim to remove it the mood in her eyes changes- like when someone is unexpectedly delivered bad news and you can see their positive energy keeping their spirit afloat get sucked out of their face, shrink, shrivel and fall away like a deflating balloon.

The reason for the abrupt change in Rosadia´s mood is bulging out of the left side of her head, her skin is taught, a lump the size of a tennis ball that looks like it would not just bleed but burst if cut into. She has a massive tumor. She has had it for 3 years.

Andres, a MEDLIFE medical intern, and Ruth gather around her and inspect the tumor on the dirt path the leads to the shack. The dirt is wet and slick underfoot. The mixed scent of smoke, mud and dog feces is a constant prescence, adding a kind of texture to the air. Behind us the hills stretch into the distance and eventually melt away into a grey daze. A visually indistinguishable cloud of homes and people like Rosadia.

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Her motor function is impaired in the walk test. She complains that she cannot sleep well because of the pain, and because it is hard for her to properly rest her head with such a large tumor. The pain is obvious in her eyes and Andres inspects the tumor.

Her neighbor Nilda, a 23 year old mother, tells us she feels as if Rosadia is her own mother, and she cares for her as if she is.

Thank god, because Rosadia's own kids do not care for her. They don't visit her either. “They don't have time,” said Nilda.

Nilda's own children shrieked with delight as they played on a wooden beam that supports Nilda's house across the way as Andres gave Rosadia the exams and Ruth talked with Nilda.

Rosadia isn't the only one who is sick here- Nilda has a massive tumor on her chest.

Nilda's children took turns swinging back and forth on the wooden beam, hanging off of each other, lighting up the hillside with the sound of their laughter. It is no wonder people love children so much. They looked like little islands of joy, an oasis, perhaps blissfully ignorant or perhaps immersed in their play just momentarily rising above the grave problems facing their mother and neighbor    Rosadia rarely leaves her home. Neither does Nilda, for fear that something would happen to Rosadia, that she might need something. She is totally devoted to caring for Rosadia and her children.

Ruth and Andres conclude they need to get Rosadia an MRI to see what can be done about the tumor. We take Nilda's information – she is our only way of contacting Rosadia. She will need to help Rosadia get to the appointment. It would be hard for her to make it there on her own in her phsyical condition, and she only speaks Quechua. Who knows how long it would take her to find medical personel that could communicate with her.

 


 

Several weeks later Nilda waited all day with Rosadia at the hospital. They couldn't get anything.  Going through the public health system is simply too slow so we meet them on a corner on a chaotic street in the valley below the hills where they live. Rosadia is wearing the same red baseball cap, blue plaid skirt, and sweater she was wearing when we visited her home several weeks ago.

Cars are constantly honking. The median in the street is full of garbage. The air is thick with car exhaust and when the wind blows you can smell both. We are on a street full of businesses offering private medical testing. We couldn't make an appointment in advance though. We push through the sea of honking cars, rushing pedestrians and shouting street vendors from one lab to the next, asking for the exam. We are turned away time after time. The doctor isn't here right now. We only do them at night. We are full, they tell us.

Janet finally finds a desk inside of a café. Inside people are sitting drinking coffee, eating pastries. Salsa music is blaring in the distance. The desk organizes and makes appointments for medical testing in nearby labs from inside the bakery. They can finally help us here.

 Rosadia feels bad that Nilda has had to leave her children all day and apologizes. Nilda tells her not to worry. They will be ok she says. They are young. The lab can't do the MRI right now. Nilda will have to return with Rosadia at night. At least her husband will be there to look after the kids then.

This is why we send out the nurses into the field to not only pay for exams and appointments, but to accompany our patients to them and help them navigate the complicated and chaotic medical system. Everything is slow. They explain to the patietns what the doctors tell them. They make sure they find the appointment, get one, and don't just end up waiting around all day, getting nothing and never returning.

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MEDLIFE is currently waiting to get the results of the MRI that Rosadia has been waiting three years for. We worked with Nilda and her public insurance to get her testing. Her tumor is not cancerous and we are following the process of treatment. Our fingers are crossed for both of them.

When we met the students and teachers from the Galte, Yagachi school in Riobamba, Ecuador, their classrooms were deteriorating. Thanks to successful fundraising campaigns led by MEDLIFE at Wayne State University, MEDLIFE-Ohio State Chapter and MEDLIFE at UGA, we worked with parents, teachers and community leaders to build new classrooms for the school. The new classrooms will provide a safe and comfortable learning environment to ensure that the kids at the Galte Yagachi school receive an education with dignity! Watch the video here.

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Congratulations to MEDLIFE chapter at the University of Kansas for winning Best New MEDLIFE Chapter Award 2015! MEDLIFE at KU has made incredible strides within this past semester. Through successful campaigning and hard work, they sent 23 students on a mobile clinic, raised $520 and elected 8 new executive board members. We´re proud to have their president Aly Lange interning with us in Lima this summer. Read the following interview to find out more about this amazing chapter!

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When and how did your chapter begin?

The MEDLIFE chapter at the University of Kansas began when their Chapter President, Aly Lange, transferred to the University of Kansas from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the Fall of 2014. There is a very strong MEDLIFE chapter at UNL, and after seeing that there wasn't a chapter at KU, Aly started one!

What strategies did you use to promote MEDLIFE on campus?

At KU, social media outreach goes a long way! MedLife KU utilizes Facebook events and groups, e-mail, GroupMe, Twitter and Instagram extensively to keep chapter members engaged and informed. They also do lots of tabling throughout the year as well as chalking the sidewalks of campus! 

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What process does a new member go through once part of the chapter?

Something that helps MedLife KU stand out against similar organizations on campus is that it has an "open arms" policy for students! It welcomes students of all majors, time constraints and disciplines to join at any point in the year. Once a student expresses interest in joining MedLife KU, we add them to our e-mail list and all social media groups that they can stay in the loop and be invited to meetings!

What activities do you organize to keep your members interested throughout the year?

This year, MedLife KU will implement a within-Chapter competition called the Family Cup. We have 7 members who will act as "Mama"s and "Papa"s to their "Family" of 5-10 students. Each MedLife KU event will be worth a certain number of points for the Family Cup, and the top 3 scoring Families will receive a prize at the end of the year! In addition, individual students that accumulate a certain number of points will be awarded special recognition and prizes. 

MedLife KU also hosts a number of annual fundraisers throughout the year. This includes Music For Medicine (a battle of the bands), Sweethears for Staircases (a Valentine's Day candy delivery service), and Serves for Service (a volleyball tournament). MedLife KU will expand upon this to add at least 3 more major fundraisers in the upcoming year. They also are hosting 2 MEDTALK conferences this year, in order to bring University-wide attention to global health issues.

They also plan to host more social events for members to meet fellow students interested in going on MEDLIFE trips over both Winter, Spring and Summer breaks!

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What are your goals as a chapter for this academic year (2015-2016)?

This year, MedLife KU is determined to raise at least $1000 for MEDLIFE throughout the course of the school year and to send a total of 50 students on mobile clinic trips. They also want to reach out to at least 3 high schools and colleges to help start new MEDLIFE chapters!

Another demonstration of MEDLIFE's depth of commitment to our follow up patients. A huge thanks once again to the Universidad de Puerto Rico - Rio Piedras chapter (Medlife U.P.R.R.P.), for fulfilling this dream for Jimena and Katherine's family and neighbors! Read the interview with the chapter below!

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How did you come across Jimena and Katherine and why did you decide to fundraise for this project?

Cómo conocieron el caso de Jimena y Katherine why por qué decidieron recaudar fondos para ese proyecto?

Our president, Vilmarie Vázquez, saw  Katherine and Jimena's case on the MEDLIFE website.  We were struck as it was clear that there was a lot of need and especially with so many  children, the security in the community is one of the most important factors. Having a safe area prevents accidents and, because of this we decided to sponsor the stairs.

Nuestra presidenta Vilmarie Vázquez vio el caso de Katherine y Jimena a través del website de MEDLIFE. Nos llamó mucho la atención ya que se veia que habia mucha necesidad y más cuando hay tantos niños. La seguridad en la comunidad es una de las cosas más importantes. Tener un área segura evita accidentes y por eso decidimos auspiciar las escaleras.

What was your plan for the fundraising campaign and what did you do to reach your goal?

Cuál
fue el planeamiento para la campaña y qué actividades realizaron?

To raise funds we did weekly fundraisers that included pizza sales, cupcake sales, a raffle, lunch sales, amongst others. To reach our goal of $2,500 it took us around 4 months of hard work and we were able to save the money for a special project like this.

Para recaudar los fondos hicimos un fundraiser semanal el cuál incluía ventas de pizza, cupcakes, una rifa, ventas de almuerzo, entre otros. Para lograr recaudar los $2,500 tardamos alrededor de 4 meses de mucho trabajo y ahorramos el dinero para un proyecto especial como este.

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What was the most emotional moment of this project?

Cuál fue el momento más emotivo?

Undoubtedly, the most emotional moment was when the girls made us a banner and gave it as a thanks to the university. It was definitely a very beautiful detail and all of us were very emotional. We also loved the video of the inauguration, all of us were very happy to see that the effort was well worth it!!

Sin duda alguna, el momento más emotivo fue cuando las chicas nos hicieron el banner dandole las gracias a nuestra Universidad. Sin duda, fue un detalle muy bonito y a todos nos emociono muchisimo. El video de la inauguración tambien nos encantó, a todos nos dio mucha alegría ver que el esfuerzo valio la pena!!

What kind of obstacles did you face throughout the campaign and project and how did you overcome them?

Qué obstáculos encontraron en el camino y cómo los superaron?

Doing fundraisers is always hard work, the time that we were doing them there were a lot of exams and deadlines for applying to graduate schools so it was a bit difficult to do the fundraisers weekly and bring it all together.  However, thanks to the support of our member we always had success in our activities.

Hacer fundraisers siempre es trabajoso. El periodo en el que hacíamos el fundraiser era de muchos exámenes y de "deadlines" para solicitar a escuelas graduadas y fue un poco cuesta arriba hacer los fundraisers semanales y que todo quedara bien, pero gracias al apoyo de nuestros miembros siempre tuvimos éxito en nuestras actividades.

What was the most important thing that you learned from this project?

Qué fue lo más importante que aprendieron de este proyecto?

The most important thing that we learned was how to work in a team with all of our chapter members.  This was our first large fundraiser that then helped us do a fundraiser for cancer patients in Puerto Rico, where we raised $10,000 for cancer treatments. Also, it helped us get to know each other as a chapter and to demonstrate that when we propose something and we work for it, anything can be done.

Lo más importante que aprendimos fue a trabajar en equipo con todos los miembros, este fue nuestro primer fundraiser grande, el cual luego nos ayudó a hacer un fundraiser para pacientes con cáncer en Puerto Rico, donde recaudamos $10,000 para tratamientos. Tambien nos ayudó a conocernos más como capítulo, y a demostrar que cuando nos proponemos algo, y trabajamos por ello, cualquier cosa se puede hacer.

What reccomendations do you have for other projects who want to sponsor a project similar to this one?

Qué le recomendarían a los otros chapters que también quisieran hacer sponsor a un proyecto?

We recommend to other chapters who want to do a fundraiser to choose a project, create a work plan for the project and make the members participate in both the planning and the execution of the event. Being creative is the most important thing and trying to sell things that a lot of students like. (food never fails! haha)

Les recomendamos a otros capitulos que quieran hacer un fundraiser, que escogan el proyecto, hagan un plan de trabajo para el proyecto y hagan partícipes a sus miembros tanto en la planificación como para el evento. Ser creativos es lo más importante y tratar de vender cosas que a los estudiantes le llamen la atención (comida nunca falla jaja).

What would you like to say to Katherine and Jimena?

Qué palabras tienen para Katherine y Jimena?

To Katherine and Jimena, we want to say on behalf of the chapter of MEDLIFE UPRRP to always follow your dreams, regardless of obstacles. The important thing is to move forward, no matter what happens. Also we want to thank you so much for the “banner” -  it meant alot to us and all of our members were so excited, theyloved it. Thank you so much!!

A Katherine y a Jimena le queremos decir, de parte del capitulo de MEDLIFE UPRRP, que sigan sus sueños siempre, no importa los obstáculos. Lo importante es seguir adelante, no importa lo que pase. También les queremos agradecer profundamente por ese "Banner" que para nosotros significo muchísimo y a todos nuestros miembros les emocionó y les encantó. Mil gracias!!!

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