Lima Peru trip Summer 2013

So folks, the blog is up and running, we are safe and sound and having a great time in Lima, Peru.

In order to make up for the lack of blogging, you will get to see not one, not two, but three whole pictures of our trip today.

I’m gonna get right to the point since I’m next in line for the shower at our hostel and after our hike today I definitely need one 🙂

So first up is our long awaited arrival at the airport where we were greeted with a round of applause as we came out of the terminal. As awesome as that would’ve been, unfortunately we had a good long wait at the airport since our flight landed a whole half an hour early (since when does that happen?)

So here is the whole crew at the airport after a long day of travphoto(2)elling.







Two days of tourism followed and here is a great shot of us overlooking the pacific.








Today, that is Monday the 3rd of June, we had our first day with Medlife. We toured the region of Pamplona in Lima. In our explorations and adventures we went on a good 6k hike and we got to see the conditions people live in and the projects we would carry out there. To give everyone a sense of what we saw, here is a picture overlooking the area.

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Hope you had fun reading and keeping up with the activities of the medlife at UW- Madison crew, we will keep you posted (in more detail) as the trip progresses.




Hey everybody!


Just wanted to let everyone know real quick that we all arrived to Lima, Peru fine last night. Had two great flights that both arrived early on COPA AIRLINES. Some of my Peruvian friends picked us up from airport, and we went to try some food and Peruvian drinks.


Will post more later.


Last day of clinics tomorrow…

Last couple days have been great! Brigades are going great and we are serving a ton of patients. Everyone is healthy and fortunately, not one person has had any sickness issues. I will hopefully add more pictures tomorrow. Tomorrow, (FRIDAY) is the last day of clinics. After the clinic tomorrow, we will travel to Huacachina, Peru and hang out there for 3 days and relax. All is well in PERU! Wish us good luck on our last day of clinics.

Clinic today

Today I was working on the brigade. I worked with the dentist and general medical doctors. Everyone really enjoys working with the doctors because they are the ones that see the patients and really find out what is wrong with the patients. Since we are working in a community with so much dirt and dust, about 60% of the population has lung issues that cannot be treated.  Pamplona Alta (in the summertime) is a place that is built upon mountains of sand. When trucks and people burs garbage in these areas, the air smells very poor and dirty. This poor practices lead to their houses being covered with black silt and makes the whole community reek of garbage.

Today I started to doubt the work we do with MEDLIFE. Looking around, I wonder if we are making as big of an impact as we think we are. While working today, I noticed tons of students trying to take more pictures with the cute little kids instead of treating the patients. I wonder if they are all here for the right reasons and receiving the same benefits of MEDLIFE that I am. I wonder if they are realizing that by taking out their new Iphone5’s and showing the kids how this new amazing piece of technology works, they are unconsciously showing their wealth without even knowing it. I wonder if they can understand that by hugging and taking pictures with these kids all day who have nothing, they are making it harder for themselves and the kids to say goodbye to each other at the end of the day.

Overall, it was a great day! Sorry for sounding a little pessimistic, just something I had to write down. Tomorrow I am working at the tooth brushing station with the kids who don’t even know how to use a toothbrush… I’m sure that will lighten me up! Tonight there are SALSA lessons at our hostel! It should be a good time!

¡Buenas noches a todos!

1st day of clinics, community project and the TOUR of Pamplona Alta!

Hey everyone!

Lots to catch you guys up on.  First off all, I just updated some photos below to show you guys what we have been seeing. Ill try to add more photos however the internet is pretty slow. So today was the first day of clinics! Every day, all the MEDLIFE participants get split up into different groups and work with either the dentist, orthodontist, regular physicians, OBGYN (for the women) and also work in an education station of the clinic, tooth brushing station for children, a community project and also a  5-hour TOUR of the whole entire region of Pueblos Jovenes.

Today, myself and 8 other students were taking the tour of San Juan de Miraflores. It was about a ~5-hour walk with difficult terrain as we learned about the poverty struggles of the communities we will be working in for the next week. We learned about the lack of schools, clean water and education that exist in these poorer regions.

First off all, there is a lack of educators and buildings that exist where we are working. In fact, out of about 80,000 residents of our community, (30,000 of which are kids from 10-18 years old) only a handful will make it to college. Also, since a lot of people in these regions don’t know people who have successful careers such as doctors, professors, lawyers, etc- they cannot see the positive benefits of having a college degree which makes it hard for them to see why they should send their children to school when they could be at home watching the kids or cooking food while the parents work. Since I have been a child, I have been told that I have to work hard in high school, so I can attend a great university so I can obtain a great job. My parents have always been a great support system to myself and my siblings and questions such as “ what did you learn in school?” were common dinner table conversations. Can you imagine if your education was never pushed in a positive direction? If you mentioned university or advancing your education and your parents said, “ Why bother, its not going to help you in the long run.”

The second major problem is the water issue that exists in Peru. In the part where we are working, clean water is not an option even though the majority of the people drink the dirty water that contributes to the medical problems that we see in our clinics. There are private water companies that exist in Lima however due to the fact we are working in the outskirts of Lima, the companies charge more for the distribution of water. In essence, the poorest people in Lima are paying the most for their water.  In addition, the water that they do bring is not even up to our standards by any means.  Finally, the containers that the residents dump their water into were used for ethanol previously so essentially they are making their own drinking water even worse by allowing the water to become so dirty. L

Finally, the last issue is lack of education. Due to the fact that many people are not educated, it is hard for them to change their mentality about certain ideas. They see us ‘gringos’ walking around & think we are all born into wealth from the time we are born. Several believe that by being American means that you are automatically ‘rich’ which can be difficult to explain to them at times since they already have this preconceived notion about this. On another note, we have an education station at the MEDLIFE clinic and we try to explain certain things about hygiene and pro-active actions they can complete in order to live a healthier lifestyle. However, its frustrating at times to give a 4 year old a toothbrush lesson and show them how to apply the toothpaste, give them a toothbrush to keep, and then two minutes later see them digging in the sand with it with the other children. Hopefully, by educating them more, we can create a better system and give the people more information to help them with their general health.

All in all it was a great day. We are back at the hotel now and everyone is chatting to others about what they saw, the people they spoke to and how much sun block they are going to wear tomorrow. In short, this has been another day in Peru, which has given me time to reflect on my own life and all the great things I have in it. I think others in the group are in the same boat.




We are Peruvian Surfers!

Hey everyone!

Today was a busy day for all of us! After getting back from the discoteca a little late, we decided to finally get a good night of sleep. This morning, after waking up, we had to check out of our old hotel, however could not move into our new hotel until 3:00pm. So we cleaned up our rooms, and walked down to Miraflores and enjoyed some more fresh seafood in the nicer part of Miraflores. After taking about 2 hours to eat, we walked down the Costa Verde beach and went surfing! Even though some of us have never been, it was a great experience for everyone! I would say the highlight of the day was seeing jellyfish while surfing. At one point, Mary Kate had four jellyfish swimming around her and a surf bum had to jump in the water and save her from being stung!

In other news, we are now at our new hotel, which looks like a 5 star hotel. (No exaggeration) Tonight we are just taking it easy (aka all the Wisconsin residents are streaming the Greenbay game upstairs & all the Viking fans in the other room—GO PACKERS!) Other students who are participating in MEDLIFE this week are traveling from the United States to Lima tonight. So while we stay here at the hotel, MEDLIFE is making trips to and from the airport to pick up other students who are flying in.

Tomorrow, we are meeting with all 85 participants to talk about the week and other details for the week. Since there are so many people, MEDLIFE broke up the groups into two separate clinics. The groups will run together the simultaneously in Lima however we will probably never meet the other group. We are living in different hotels, working in different areas in Lima, and doing different activities at night.

The clinics will begin on Monday and will run through Friday. We will be waking up around 6am everyday and working until 4 or 5 in this 80-degree weather. Even though we have been having fun here in Lima, the real reason of this trip is rapidly approaching and everyone is getting excited for our real work to begin.

Well that’s it folks! Ill check in tomorrow!

Saludos desde Miraflores in Lima, Peru.

Back from dinner! Changing hostals tomorrow..

Hey everyone!

Today was very busy for all of us! After waking up, we went out and got lunch at this great sandwich place. (I was trying to hold off on the Peruvian food and let our bodies adjust to everything else before) After lunch, we went to the beach and I showed the group where we will be surfing tomorrow. Last time I was in Lima, it was very cold out. The weather is completely different and its sunny all day and VERY hot. We were in the sun for about one hour ( at the beach) and about 1/2 of us got burnt! Anyways, after the beach we went to the METRO store and stocked up on water and fresh fruit that some people have never tried. Later in the day, we took a COMBI (small bus in Lima that can squeeze about 50 people) to the Old city of Lima called CENTRAL DE LIMA. From there, we went and saw where the President of Peru lives and works and the older part of the city. After that, was the FIRST real Peruvian meal we had since arriving to Peru. EVERYONE loved the food they tried which included Ceviche, Pollo a la brasa, Papa a la huancaina, bistec a lo pobre and other traditional dishes. We are now back at our hostal, some are napping, other watching movies, and our plan is to head out around 11:30 to go dancing! Well thats it for now folks! First great day in Lima. Tomorrow, we are moving to a different hotel and meeting up with the other MEDLIFE students. Hope everyone is enjoying the 20 degree weather while we are basking in the sun… 🙂

Nos vemos!



If you are reading this, that means you know someone who is about to travel to Lima, Peru for the next two weeks in order to build medical mobile clinics in the poorer region of Lima.

MEDLIFE at University of Wisconsin-Madison has been growing very fast these past couple of months. We have been working hard preparing students to travel to South America for our Medical Mobile Clinic in Lima, Peru for nearly three months now. In less than 4 days, 15 students from UW-Madison (Brianne Fliss, Laura Burbach, Mercede Davis, Scott Hendrickson, Melanie Hobbs, Leema John, Jake Kream, Danielle Lisnek, Elizabeth McDonald, Jeremy Obrien, Kia Parins, Lauren St. George, Catherine Tuanqui, Mary Katerine Wheeler & myself-Chris McCarthy) will travel for 13 days in order to help build medical mobile clinics in poorer regions of this community.

This site will be updated daily while we are in Lima (if internet is working) and will post culture notes, updates from the medical mobile clinics, pictures of our environment and much more. Please feel free to visit this sight after January 3, 2013.

If you would like to see more of what medlife does, please checkout the national website at:

Thank you for your help! If you are reading this blog, it means that you know at least one person in the list above and we thank you for your support! Enjoy the holiday season and a happy new year!