- About Us
- Get Involved
- Our Work
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Navya Singirikonda from Texas A and M raised 3000$ in her 50:50 campaign for her Mobile Clinic Trip to Cusco. We spoke with her to find out how she ran such a succesful campaign and about her experience on her MEDLIFE trip.
How did you first hear about the 5050 campaign?
I had a friend who did MEDLIFE last year so she told me about it, but also it was on the website.
Why did you decide to do the 50:50 Campaign?
I think it’s good awareness for people. Most of the people who raised money, who gave money, friends and people who don’t really know about this kind of thing, it was nice to bring that awareness. It also helped me, I don’t make any money, so it was nice to make some money from that.
How long did you fundraise for?
About 20 days- not long.
What did you do to be so successful with your 50:50 campaign?
I think I publicized it really well. I reached out to the people I thought would be able to help me. I’m glad I used the 50:50 versus something else. It was just better organized and kind of made the point clear of what it was for.
Did you encounter any obstacles in the process and if so how did you overcome them?
I didn’t have any issues.
How was organizing a positive experience and what did you learn from it?
Honestly I was so surprised by how generous people are I did raise a lot of money, 3000$ which isn’t small, and it was nice to see how people are that kind and willing to help me even though they don’t really know what I’m doing. So I think that was nice and probably makes me feel a little closer to some of the people that I hadn’t talked to in awhile.
How do you feel about the impact you made raising money for the people you worked with this week?
I really thought it was amazing. I noticed their gratitude, just how gentle and nice of people they are. But I think them being that way, them being willing to let me into their home, let me into their communities, makes me feel like I should keep doing that. It really was very motivational doing this. It helped me realize that this isn’t something that is crazy and out there- that I can do it all the time.
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.
Volunteers helped us add the finishing touches on their volunteer trip!
Last week brought a close to MEDLIFE´s Spring Mobile Clinic season. MEDLIFE staff and volunteers from Universities across the US and Canada worked in communities in the capital city of Lima as well as Cusco. Over the 6 weeks in Lima, a total of 4237 patients came visited a Mobile Clinic of which 1669 were children. A total of 3185 patients visited during the 3 week of clinics around Cusco as well.
The communities visited for Mobile Clinics have limited access to health care services. Visiting with the local doctors at mobile clinics gives patients a chance to sit down and talk about any problems they are experiencing and recieve individualized attention and possibly be admited into MEDLIFE's patient follow up program.
In addition to checkups with doctors, MEDLIFE brings gynecology and dentistry stations to Mobile Clinics. In Lima, over 500 women recieved a pap smear exam as well as over 300 in Cusco. In a addition to pap smears, MEDLIFE also provides breast exams for intial detection of breast cancer. Over 700 patients recieved an exam in Lima and over 500 in Cusco.
Dental care is often one of the immediate concerns of patients. The dentists working on clinics are able to provide immediate care and relief to patients in some situations. A total of 788 patients recieved dental care in Lima, in addition to 692.
When children come to mobile clinics they visit a toothbrushing station to teach proper brushing techniques, allowing parents more uninterrupted time with doctors. Volunteers passed out 4722 toothbrushes to children in Lima and Cusco as well as applying fluoride to their teeth.
One of the most imporatant aspects of Mobile Clinics is identifying patients the recieve further attention in our patient follow up program. After the clinic, MEDLIFE nurses will visit a patient in their home or accompany them appointments to assist in navigating the Peruvian healthcare system. In many cases, MEDLIFE can cover most of the cost of visits and surgeries. We will be visiting with 113 patients from Lima and 192 from Cusco in the future to create a path for recovery. Patients in the program can take anywhere from one visit to a hospital to over a year of continued communication with MEDLIFE nurses to recieve the care they need, but we are able to provide sustainable care, past intial visits, due to contributions from chapters as well as the funds raised from volunteer trips. We thank all who came to volunteer in Peru this Spring season to make these Mobile Clinics possible!
If you are interested in joining a moible clinic in Peru, or anyother of MEDLIFE's locations, you can view future Mobile Clinics HERE.
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.
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".
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.
In March of 2017 MEDLIFE completed our largest water project yet in the community of Laderas, in Lima Peru. The three water tanks will serve 220 families and about 1000 residents. The community is located high on the hillside and is dependent on water trucks. They are located so high, that the water trucks rarely drive to their community. Before the tanks, residents quickly ran out of water before the trucks returned. Now, with the tanks, residents will have enough water to last between visits, and be able to purchase the water at the much cheaper bulk rate to fill the water tanks. On Saturday April 1st, MEDLIFE staff, volunteers, and Laderas residents gathered to celebrate the completed project. Thank you to community leaders Victoria Ramos, Feliciano Curiñaupa, Gavilan Quispe, Nora Lopez, and Santiago Quispe. Also, to Paola Zapata, Cesar Reyes, and Dr. Carlos for your work and for speaking at the inaugeration.
The community surprised us an amazing performance of traditional Peruvian dance!
Carmen Galanza has lived in Nicolas Pierola for twenty years. She never expected to see a disaster the magnitude of the Huaycos, a flood of mud and water, that came and tore her house in half, along with dozens of others on March 15 of 2017. Fifteen days later, no organization has arrived to help those left homeless, and no one has arrived with water. “We are here, waiting and forgotten,” said Galanza, “hoping they come and tell us something.”
Galanza describes the day of the Huayco, which came down at 1 in the afternoon, as like “being in a disaster film. We had to run up the stairs to escape. It pulled the house apart and took everything with it… everything shook and moved horribly.”
The Huayco tore off a section of her home that used to be her kitchen, laundry room, and her brothers bedroom, leaving nothing but a gaping precipice over the massive trench carved by the Huayco.
Galanza was forced to go live in a tent camp with 205 refugees displaced by the disaster from the surrounding communities. Two weeks later, little help has arrived and no one has made it to where she lives to sell water.
Galanza said she and her community are getting by without electricity and housing, but the water shortage has become a serious problem and people are getting desperate.
The residents of Nicolas Pierola have had to travel long distances chasing down the trucks selling water at high prices. “The other day, an old woman fell and hurt herself chasing after a water truck,” lamented Galanza.
As MEDLIFE staff surveyed the community, nearly everyone we passed asked us if we could bring them water.
“What we want now is water,” Galanza said. “There are kids, there are elderly here, and we don’t have water. We are asking for water, nothing more. Without water we can’t do anything, water is the base of everything.”
MEDLIFE was able to contract a water truck to bring water to the residents of Nicolas Pierola and several other communities the following day. Bringing water trucks to communities that have been left dry during the crisis is one of the primary uses of flood relief donations. Please, DONATE now and help us bring water to Huayco victims.
When Rosio's daughter began to panic and tell her she was certain, a huge flood was coming, she could hear it, Rosio didn't believe it at first. It was raining, sure but Rosio didn't hear anything but the normal sound of the rain. Then she saw the avalanche of water and mud cascading down the hillside.
They grabbed their valuebles and pets, and ran for higher ground.
Luckily, their house was not damaged in the flood. The community of Las Brisas De California, founded around 1997, had learned not to build in the drainage path of the surrounding hillsides when previous years floods swept homes and stores down into the river below.
However, that wasn't enough to save them from the terrible flood season of 2017. Communities lower down had flattened the drainage path, causing the floods to overflow the river banks and destroy the road that provided the only access to the community.
One particularly bad week of flooding left them without access to electricity, food, or potable water for an entire week, because the road was destroyed and the river was so high it was uncrossable.
When the rains ceased and the community became accessible, the water trucks the community had always relied on to come and sell them water, along with public transit, never came back. They now had to walk an hour to Chosica to purchase and basic supplies and then carry it back.
MEDLIFE went to visit Las Brisas de California while surveying communities to see how we could help after the flooding, and decided to get in touch with the water trucks ourselves, and to pay them to bring water up to this community. They agreed, and Las Brisas finally got water after over a week with no access.
Although tap water has been restored to the parts of the city connected to the municipal water system, many communities that rely on water trucks to bring them water, like Las Brisas and most of the commmunities MEDLIFE works in, remain thirsty and unserviced.
We be returning the following week to bring a Mobile Clinic to Las Brisas, after water and food, residents told what they needed most was medicine.
Historic flooding and mudslides have hit Peru bringing the worst destruction from floods in two decades. An estimated 70,000 people have been displaced from their homes along with an estimated 72 dead due to the natural disaster.
Referred to locally by the Quechua name of huaicos, these natural disasters are a results of heavy rain brought on by the El Niño season in the Pacific ocean. The rains cause the rivers to overflow bringing floods to the normally dry desert coast of Peru.
The flooding has overwhelmed local water treatment plants and Lima, Peru’s capital city, has been without water for almost a week. The Peruvian government has issued a state of emergency around most of the country as floods and debris flow into the streets.
The rains are predicted to continue into April, bringing more flooding to the already affected areas. Areas with vulnerable access to water have been completely cut off from their normal supply. The aguatero trucks that normally suppply many of our communities with water have stopped visiting, and many supermarkets have completely run out of water. Tap water was not working in large parts of the city for up to a week, and receiving intermitent water in other parts.
Critical infrastructure has been damaged, the bridge that connects El Augostino y San Juan de Lurigancho collapsed due to the overflow of the huaicoloro river, makes access to the district very difficult. Many other roads and railroad tracks have been completely washed away.
This week, MEDLIFE went to survey the communities we work with around Lima that have experienced flooding, to make a plan for immediate relief aid and possibly plan a development project for the future. We visited Chaclacayo, a district hit badly by the force of the huaicos
In Chaclacayo, people are lacking basic necessities like food, shelter, medicine and water. People in the valley experienced flash floods after surges of water hit the Rîmac River. The floods swept away homes, railroads and roads in it’s path.
Those displaced by the huaicos have been seeking shelter in encampments of tents provided by the municipality of Lima. Guadelope, a resident of Chaclacayo, has been sleeping in a tent with her daughter since their home was flooded. When asked what she needed most, she responded with food.
With forecasts of more rain, the situation is expected to worsen bring more huaicos to the already vulnerable communities.
We have started a fundraising campaign to go directly to communities affected by the flooding. You can donate HERE. During times of natural disaster, direct donations can have the most impact because the money is going directly towards supplies for victims to start rebuilding their lives like food, water and medicine.