Sunita: Clinic with McGill!

This post for my second clinic week is over a week late, but only because it has been quite busy around here. Doulia’s blog has beautifully summed up our experiences for that week.
As an intern, my second week started before the first clinic ended. Students from the first clinic were leaving as the new students were arriving. Every time that a new group of students come in, I get a different feeling and a different first impression. We thought that the second group would be quieter but hard working nonetheless. They certainly were hard-working – as for the quiet part, I’m not so sure. Since this group was smaller than the first, they got to know each other a lot better and they formed relationships which I believe will last them a lifetime. Many students cried prior to their departure because they were not ready to leave behind both the people they had worked with all week and the relationships they formed.

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On our final clinic day, the students participated in the inauguration of the staircase they helped to build. We, the interns, were chosen to break one champagne bottle over the staircase while three students broke another. There was a lot of singing, dancing, and many words of appreciation from the community members; they have continuously expressed to us that we are always welcome in their community and that we are family. The best part of the inauguration was the hail of baby powder for good luck which the community members were throwing on our heads. At our final talk following the inauguration, it was revealed that we had attended to over 800 patients. As we discussed the number of lives the group had been able to change, there were tears all around.

Saturday, the interns were able to go on a two hour boat ride to Parakas (to see sea lions, penguins, and thousands of birds), sandboarding in Ica (at the border of the Atacama Desert), and visit a traditional bodega (vineyard). It was quite the experience, one that I was so happy to share with Doulia, even though the students always wanted me to go down the sand dunes first to test the waters 😉

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Sunita: First Week

After a long, crazy but fun week, I finally have a little bit of time to write for my “favoritest” (yes, I made that word up) MEDLIFE chapter in the world (McGill). My first day at el officina, I worked on drafting brochures, and writing down in detail McGill’s operations for its biggest fundraisers. I hadn’t realize how many different steps we go through to create a successful tutorials program. It wouldn’t be possible without our Tutorials team!!!

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My week started with a clinic. 46 students that came from all over North America, many from West Virginia (of course, students from all the other universities have put in hard work as well). So far, we’ve toured the city (Pamplona), saw over 250 patients in four different districts, and built a beautiful brand new staircase. I’m really going to miss the students, even though I’ve only spent a week with them; I hope they find a way to keep in touch. It was a good first week. As tired as we all were, everybody was a trooper. Hopefully those students who do not have MEDLIFE chapters at their schools will be motivated, after this eye-opening week, to spread the message and start their own chapter.

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I think my best moment this week was when a patient asked me what MEDLIFE stood for (which, by the way, is Medicine, Education, and Development for Low Income Families Everywhere), and I explained the acronym. The woman was so happy that we were there. She said that they did not get this kind of treatment or care from their own government, and that we should keep coming back to see them. I was touched; it drove home why we were all there – for people like her.

Sunita: Day 1

Source: Sunita Kheterpal

Source: Sunita Kheterpal

May 9th, 2013

Lima, Peru

¡Buenos noches! After a long plane ride from Montreal to Lima (via Miami), I’ve made it here! Word to the wise – avoid “red-eye” flights. They’re not that great. Biz, the year-round intern, picked me up from the airport and showed me around town all day. I visited the MEDLIFE head office and met the student affairs team, including Amelia and Daniella who I will be working with closely. I also met MEDLIFE’s CEO and founder Nick Ellis (who, FYI, is a McGill grad!) for the first time! I met the entire Peru office staff and the communications intern, Rachel, is also my roommate!

It’s beautiful here. We saw the ocean and went to the local markets. It’s very peaceful, and the people are very nice. My goal is to learn better Spanish while I am here – I hope the other summer interns get here sooner so that we can practice!

P.S. You might not think they have Starbucks, Papa Johns, Dunkin Donuts, and KFC, (I didn’t) but they do – practically everywhere you go!