"My MEDLIFE experience in Lima, Peru was truly an eye-opener. I got the chance to see “unseen” parts of Lima, mainly Miraflores, and how the locals live there-not just the “touristy” places people see in brochures. It was devastating to see the living conditions in some parts of Miraflores where locals have to climb up to their small houses made of thin wood without staircases. I experienced this myself and it was a very tiring and dangerous thing to do. I don’t think I realize how much a staircase can be helpful until that point. There is also lack of access to basic necessities like clean water, food, and medicine. Because of these depressing conditions, I come to realize that they are not truly living, they are surviving. And hence by volunteering, I learned that a small act of kindness can make a difference in other people’s lives more than we can imagine.
As an individual who has traveled and volunteered extensively, I can say that this volunteering experience is one of the most hands-on and educative experience that I have ever had. I got to shadow doctors and healthcare workers in rural and medically underserved communities and learned some medical practices. One thing that struck me the most was watching the gynecologist perform pap smear as I have never seen the process of it in first person. I also learned about the importance of education and development in Peru. A lot of locals there were not aware of some serious diseases and what causes them and so having an education station in our mobile clinic is very helpful. In addition, I learned that the best way to help people is actually to sit down with them and listen to their needs and ask what changes they want to see in their community. This gives them a voice that allows them to channel their aspirations and problems to be heard.
Volunteering made me realize that there are so many less fortunate people out there who are still struggling in fulfilling their basic needs and that I should be grateful of what I have now. I am also in awe of the people of Lima and their resilience and selflessness-that even in such depressing conditions, they are still in joy and grateful of what they have. This trip has given me a new perspective on the world and I am forever grateful for that."
Vice President for UTSG MEDLIFE 2020/2021