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I work with an as a volunteer for an organization in Peru called MMI (Medical Ministries International). MMI is a non-denominational Christian organization that is based out of Toronto, Canada and Texas. MMI employees and volunteers travel together to rural areas in various countries around the world and give healthcare, counseling, education, and prayer to people who are in need of basic medical attention.

Today was the first day of our clinic in Ica, it was my first clinic since I was in Cuszo last November, and it was my first day in the clinic since I came here last Thursday to work for six months. Can we all take a moment to appreciate that I really wanted things to go super smoothly today? If I had been given my choice I would have been working either in triage or in the Integrated Health area, or any place where I could have felt truly bad ass and confident.

Ahhhh. Life. When do we ever get what we want?

Where did I end up working today? You ask. Today, I ended up working in the Pharmacy. I hear laughter from my nursing school friends. In school we used joke about how we felt like we knew nothing about medications, and here I am preparing them and counting them out for all of the patients. I will be working in the Pharmacy all week… Dah Dah DUmmmm (ominous pause).

There were a number of things that happened today, on this first of first days, which really gave my heart a proper kick in the pants. And we just had our first team meeting, so they are fresh in my mind.

We had a Physical therapy patient today who was a 22 year old male. About a year ago, he had a serious car accident and his spinal cord was severed in the thoracic cavity. His family is very poor, and could not afford to take him to receive medical attention. He came to us today with five stage IV pressure ulcers. Those of you who are not medical people are sitting there going, “Huh?” and those of you who are medical people are saying, “FIVE???” His bones were literally visible through gaping holes in his skin. It was one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever seen. Even more heartbreaking, was the fact that we, with our limited supplies and equipment, could do almost nothing for him. He needs a series of surgeries. He needs proper nutrition. He needs to live in a house that is clean with a special air mattress and one of those wound vac thingies. Instead, he went back to a crowded home with a dirt floor, a hard wheelchair, and a poor diet. I could dwell on what it was like to see and smell these wounds that threaten the life of someone who should be living in the prime of his life, but I cannot. It has been making me cry all day.

Stephanie, the MMI physical therapist that saw this patient, was just telling us that this case totally undid her. She came to the end of what she could do. She said that in the years that she has worked with MMI in Peru, she has never felt so lost. So, she just sat there with him and his father and prayed. Sometimes we come to the end of ourselves and find that all we can do is pray.

Meanwhile, one of our Peruvian doctors was making a house-call to a family that suffers from Juvenile Onset Osteoarthritis. Two of the daughters have severe cases and are bedridden. The mother also has Arthritis, and so is very limited in what she can do to care for the girls. The father carries the weight of the family, and works very hard to provide, but he is exhausted and very careworn. After talking and praying with Abel today, he decided to follow Jesus. Although that may sound very cheesy to some of you, it was out of a place of need that this man decided to give himself. It was because he thought that maybe Jesus might have the answer to those needs. Again, I started crying when I heard that story. Sometimes we come to the end of ourselves and realize that no matter who we are and what we have (or don’t have) we just need Jesus.

Meanwhile in the pharmacy, we were struggling to organize and dispense the medications. One of the other girls from our team, who is an OR nurse, was helping me, and another volunteer who is an ER tech at home. But, we couldn’t find drugs that we knew we should have been able to find. Others from around the clinic realized that we needed help and came over to help us organize and fill prescriptions. I was not bad ass today, but the community around me sure was. In our meeting tonight, I sounded like I was giving an Oscar speech because I was thanking so many people for their help and patience. Sometimes we get over ourselves and our bad ass ways, and realize that we need a lot of help to make anything happen.

So, I’m going to be working in the Pharmacy for the rest of the week. However, now our Pharmacy is properly organized and I think I just might know where the Verapamil is and exactly how many more packages of children’s vitamins we have, and I know for sure that I need help to make anything happen.

I’m at the end of myself and the beginning of something. Pray for me, for our patients, and for a young 22 year old parapeligic named Paul. We need it here.

PS. Thank you to everyone for your notes of encouragement, little words and all the love. It seems like whenever I have been discouraged someone has been there to encourage me. It really means a lot.



  1. Amanda, not only are you a beautiful writer but you have a beautiful way of looking at life and being able to put that into words. I am praying for Paul, you, and future patients. Trusting God makes you pretyy badass in my book.
    Love you,

  2. Thanks Molls,
    Love you back. :)


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