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Last Friday we visited the community of 8 de Diciembre for a seminar on various topics regarding preventative health care, as well as to hand out the Pap smear results for patients who attended a previous Mobile Clinic. The turnout was a lot bigger than we expected, showing us that this community is eager to learn about preventative measures they can take to help protect themselves and their families. From the moment we arrived we saw a very organized community; they had taken the time to rearrange the room to be able to accomodate all participants.
Biz Shenk, one of our MEDLIFE interns, gave a short presentation about mental health, which the community appreciated enormously. Several residents had questions regarding psychological health, but felt ashamed to ask them publicly; for this reason, MEDLIFE is trying to organize visits so that community members can meet one-on-one with psychologists. Two representatives from Manuela Ramos, an NGO that works to secure women's rights, also helped MEDLIFE Field Nurse Meri Lecaros present information about sexual and women's health. Among the topics addressed were how to recognize and prevent STDs, how to prevent cervical cancer, and how to do a quick breast exam to check for breast cancer.
Although participants listened with interest to all of the topics, the one that seemed to interest them the most was malnutrition. Almost every mother in the room was asking for advice; they all wanted to give the best possible nutrition to their children. At the end of the seminar everyone was satisﬁed with the answers given to their questions, and conﬁdent that the information received was not just for them to keep, but to also be shared with others. This group's interest was so strong that they even asked for more meetings, and MEDLIFE plans to continue returning to the zone to provide information on additional health topics.
Inge is a Communications Intern based out of Lima, Peru
In the community fo Galte Yaguachi, located in the region of Guamote, MEDLIFE is currently planning to construct a new school room which will benefit over 100 children. Currently, due to a lack of infrastructure, classes at the school are given in rented rooms or community spaces. With the help of the local government, MEDLIFE has begun the necessary steps to acquire a donation of land to build on.
However, as a first step to improve the quality of life for these children, we also began the construction of sanitary bathroom facilities. Thanks to the community's hard work, this bathroom project was recently finished. Before, the children had to walk to the community's day care center or ask at nearby houses to use the bathroom; now they have proper facilities of their own.
This week, the MEDLIFE team completed our first staircase project in 12 de Junio, a community located right next to Laders de Nueva Esperanza, where we have already completed six staircase projects.
This particular project was organized for one of the community's residents, Carmen Solano, who is also a MEDLIFE follow-up patient battling breast cancer. Since 2011, MEDLIFE has been helping Carmen receive treatment for her illness, as well as helping to support her family while she is unable to work. Carmen has always shown incredible positivity in the face of her disease.
At the end of the week, two of the hardest-working students were asked to break the ceremonial bottle of champagne alongside Carmen, as part of the inauguration of the staircase. After a loud round of applause for the student volunteers, the students asked for an even louder one for the community.
"I will continue to fight against this disease, with more strength and without giving up," said Carmen. "Thank you for this beautiful gesture."
Read more and see more photos here.
In the past year, the community of Laderas Nueva Esperanza has seen some big changes, including the six staircases built by community members together with MEDLIFE volunteers. On recent visits to the community, we noticed another new addition to the landscape -- a colorful new playground, built thanks to the generous donation of equipment from a Canadian friend of the community. Strangely, we rarely saw the outgoing and playful children who live there using the new jungle gym. The problem? The playground is built right next to a steep precipice. Without any safety net, parents worry that their children could easily fall off the cliff and hurt themselves while playing.
As we spend time with local families and leaders in communities like this one, our relationship with them moves beyond individual staircase projects and Mobile Clinics. The process behind planning the staircase projects and Mobile Clinics are also important first steps toward independence. As they plan work days and discuss problems and ideas, we see communities like this one become more united and organized, and committed to making positive changes.
Now we’re asking our supporters to make another investment in the future of this community, by helping us to build a fence that will ensure the safety of the children when they go outside to play.
We just recieved these photos from Ccaccaccollo, a community outside Cusco, Peru, where we constructed new bathroom facilities starting in August. The community has been putting the finishing touches on the project, and school director Maria Teresa Flores tells us, "The bathrooms look great, and the kids and I are very grateful to MEDLIFE for completing this project."