My 2023 trip to Peru with HOMBRE & FNEI (Hannah)

HOMBRE (Hispanic Outreach Medical Brigade Relief Effort) trip to Peru 2023

Going into Peru as a fourth year pharmacy student, I didn’t really know what to expect. I was hoping to learn a little bit about the culture of Peru and expand my knowledge and comfort in the practice of pharmacy. I wasn’t expecting to leave Peru with a love and appreciation for their country and culture and a new sense of purpose in the pharmacy field.

Over our 2 weeks we were able to help about 1000 patients from 10 communities who otherwise might not have been able to access the care they needed. Not only were we able to provide care for needs such as infections, asthma, and chronic pain, but we were also able to educate patients and bring awareness to conditions like anemia. I’m often asked why I’m choosing a career in pharmacy and my answer, like many healthcare professionals, is I want to help people. This experience reminded me of my why- many of these patients needed someone to listen to their story, listen to their hardships, and make them feel seen. More than the “help” I was able to provide with medications, the importance of helping patients feel seen is what I was reminded of on this trip.

Most of the clinics were held at schools in the community and while providing medical care to these patients was important, I also hope we inspired some of the kids. We had some doctors from Lima on this brigade and a number of kids shared their interest in wanting to become a
doctor, so to see both providers from the US and Peru was hopefully inspiring to them.

Coming from the south, I’m used to southern hospitality but I was blown away by how friendly and welcoming everyone was. From the time we got to Zaña we were treated as family! Flor generously opened her home to us and both her and her staff treated us as one of their own and helped immerse us into their culture. We learned about ruins in Zaña, saw an archeological site in Sipán, had a cultural exchange night, and took part in a library opening ceremony.

We also worked closely with a translator, Roger, and he was able to give us so much perspective on both his life in Chiclayo and some of the cultural differences between the United States and the communities where we held clinic. All of this gave me a deeper and more complete understanding of Peru.

Overall, I learned so much on this trip and hope I gave the people of Peru as much as I gained from my time in Peru. Thank you to FNE International for organizing an unforgettable medical brigade.