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Meet our new MEDLIFE year-long interns! Part 3!
What was your first impression of Lima?: It's huge and there are a lot of cars, but it has a great energy to it and a landscape like nothing I've seen before.
Ruth Varona is a certified nursing assistant who first joined our team as a volunteer in 2010. She now works with us as a Patient Follow-Up Coordinator and Field Nurse. Read more about her story below:
Where are you from?
I’m from Lima. I was born here and raised in the district of San Juan de Miraflores.
How did you get involved with MEDLIFE?
I started out a few years ago volunteering for Mobile Clinics at the pharmacy station for a few hours a week. After a while, I began to work at the office a few times a week as well. Later, as we started to gain more patients, MEDLIFE asked me if I would like to join the organization as a full-time nurse. Now, when there aren’t Mobile Clinics, I am visiting patients several times a week.
What do you like about working with MEDLIFE?
I really like working at the Mobile Clinics because I am able to meet new patients. I love listening to their needs and learning about what we can do to help. It’s the starting point of building relationships with the patients. More than anything, what I love about this job is helping people improve their health. Good health is the foundation for a good life.
What is a problem you find most frequently at Mobile Clinics?
The dogs! There are dogs everywhere. But in all seriousness, one problem I find frequently is that many people do not know their own bodies. That is to say, when patients feel something wrong with their bodies, they often times don’t know where that problem is coming from. Many people are just not oriented with what is going on with their bodies. This is something that I try to teach to people during Mobile Clinics.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I have a 1-year-old son, so my free time is spent with him. Whether it’s playing with him or changing his diapers, I love spending time with him as I watch him grow up.
Anything else you would like to add?
I just wanted to say that I am very glad that you all (the interns) have come here to Peru to learn more about this country and meet the people here. Never forget that there is always someone to help; there are always people in need.
Lucia Suarez is a certified nurse who first began volunteering with MEDLIFE in February as a leader for a staircase project in her community. Now she joins us as both a patient follow-up coordinator and field nurse. Learn more about Lucia below:
Where are you from?
I was born in Ayacucho, a small town in the mountain ranges of Peru, but I have lived in Lima for the past eight years. I like it here, but I will never forget the language, food and traditions of my hometown.
How did you get involved with MEDLIFE?
I first got involved with MEDLIFE in February when I volunteered as a community leader for a staircase project MEDLIFE was working on in my community. That’s when I met Carlos, and from there I began volunteering for other staircase projects around the community. One day, Carlos asked me what I do for work, and I told him that I am a technical nurse. He then asked me if I would like to join MEDLIFE full-time. I’ve now been working as a nurse in the office for three months.
Can you name a patient that has had a strong impact on you?
Everyone we help has had a strong impression on me, as they all have very powerful stories. One of those patients in particular is Selvestrina, a lady from the mountains who speaks Quechua. As I also speak Quechua, Selvestrina and I are able to communicate well in the language. Although she has gone through many hardships, she always still has a smile on her face. Her house was robbed, her son was killed, and her husband left her to return to living in the mountains, but she always moves forward with a huge smile on her face. This is something that really touches my heart.
Are there things that still surprise you?
Almost all of the cases of the patients still surprise me, especially those of children. There are many children who don’t eat the way they are supposed to eat and have many health problems because of that. There are other children who don’t have proper adult supervision. It breaks my heart to see amount of poverty and hardship that happens in these communities.
What do you do on your free time?
Well, I’m always helping people. On the weekends after work, I help an elderly woman in my community with chores around her house and other tasks. And on the weekends, I’m involved with the elective board in my community. So I don’t really have “free time” per say, since I am always busy, but helping people is what I enjoy doing the most.
What do you like working about MEDLIFE?
Working for MEDLIFE means a lot for me. It’s a place where all of the staff and interns are side-by-side working for the greater good. Everyone is always committed and has a smile on their faces. And overall I just love being a general helping hand and serving people in need.
To learn more about Lucia’s work and our Patient Follow-Up program, click here.
Meet our new MEDLIFE year-long interns! Part 2!
My favorite part so far: Seeing the collaboration between community members in los pueblos jovenes and MEDLIFE staff when working on development projects. I love how they are so driven and passionate about making positive change in their communities. It’s empowering to see such community mobilization.
My favorite part so far: My favourite part of working with MEDLIFE so far has been getting a chance to go to the field with Carlos. The interns are helping with the construction of a staircase in a community, and I'm grateful for a chance to understand how the process works from start to finish!
Meet our new MEDLIFE year-long interns!