“The purpose of human life is to serve, show compassion, and have the will to help others.” – Guido Pujalt Mancini, RMF Perú volunteer
Our world has seen an onslaught of natural disasters in the recent past. In the course of two months, the US has experienced massive flooding from hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. We are still struggling to cope with the devastation of these storms, especially in rural areas of Puerto Rico.
Starting in December of last year, Perú, with its extreme geography and limited resources, has faced six months of flooding and landslides, leaving 107 dead, more than 160,000 without homes or places to go, and 1,000,000 affected. Many poor communities had built makeshift houses on mountainsides or in floodplains, and survivors were left with no homes to return to, a lack of food and clean water, and damaged infrastructure.
This month, RMF Perú wrapped up our flood relief project, after reaching more than 10,000 people with free medical and psychological care, as well as distributing medicine and providing insect repellent, mosquito nets, warm blankets, hygiene kits, and drinking water in affected communities. RMF’s timely response was possible because of generous donors and a dedicated in-country team based at our clinic in San Clemente.
Initially, RMF came to Perú in response to the August 2007 earthquake. Ten years later, we are still operating our successful clinic in San Clemente, the poorest district of Pisco, where we provide all basic health services for free. To promote co-responsibility and sustainability, the clinic requests a minimal fee for specialty services. Like many of RMF’s disaster relief projects, Policlínico Peruano Americano has developed into a successful longer-term project, as we always aim to stay until we make a sustainable impact, build capacity, and are not needed anymore.
In an interview with Manuel Risco Gómez, a patient who received care through RMF’s flood relief outreach northeast of Lima, he describes what life has been like and the impact that RMF has had on his health and his community.
What was life like before the flooding started?
With family and at work, all was going well for us.
How did life change once the flooding began again?
It all changed, because of the flooding, my work stopped, we lost our possessions, and people in our district lost their lives and health.
What does RMF mean to you?
It is an entity that helps communities with free medical consultations and free medicine. May God bless you.
What has RMF empowered you to do?
I give thanks to God for sending people who helped us and our whole community improve our health.
Did you receive treatment/help from RMF?
Yes, I suffer from chronic asthma, and thanks to RMF, they helped me get stabilized after what happened because of the mudslides and the floods.
How have your interactions with RMF helped you?
With the consultations and treatments for my sickness. Thank you for your help.
What makes RMF different in the community?
I describe it as very good with the help and attention they give to our community, and we are ready to authorize a place for them so they can continue offering help to the community.
What are your hopes for the future?
I ask God that RMF can have a location in my district since RMF is a great help.
Is there anything else about your experience that you would like to share?
I ask the leadership of RMF to help us frequently, because in our community we need good doctors and support to improve our health. Thank you for helping my community. May God and the Virgin Mary bless all of you forever.
RMF is striving to serve, show compassion, and help others by partnering with local people to bring long-term quality healthcare to those most in need. Guido Pujalt Mancini, RMF Perú volunteer, goes on to say about his work for RMF, “We try to make it to those places that are very far away, where help from the local government is not able to reach. Taking our campaign of free medical care, it is hard to cover all the needs found in each place. But, we make our best efforts to receive the greatest number of patients.” Our mission is to liberate human potential and to promote sustainability going forward.
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