How Medical Volunteering Makes Friendships for Life Published: 13 Feb 2019

Vine Trust volunteers have the exciting chance to be a part of our medical work in Peru and Tanzania. Nurse Theresa Torrance joined one of our teams in Peru and shared her experience of this life-changing opportunity with us.

Vine Trust teams are often multinational, with volunteers coming from all across the globe. Theresa’s team was no different,

‘Our team comprised of a Canadian dentist, dental nurse, and a dental assistant. Also joining us was the British medical team – two doctors, one final year medical student, one pharmacist and one nurse. Our initial team meeting in Iquitos provided us all with an incredible bond from the start. It was going to be a good trip.’

The volunteer teams would be working on board the Vine Trust medical ship, reaching remote communities along the Amazon river. The volunteer teams work alongside an existing Peruvian medical, dental and nursing team. For local villagers, healthcare and transport to the nearest hospital can often be difficult and expensive. The ship’s medical teams and volunteers provide crucial access to healthcare which they otherwise would not receive.

During their time aboard the boat, the team set to work,

“Ten days on a boat on the Amazon river in 35° temperatures brings out the true spirit and strength of individuals. We worked long days alongside out Peruvian colleagues often seeing more than 100-200 patients per day. Infections, bites, coughs and colds were all part of our daily workload. Minor surgeries, dental work, ultrasounds, lab tests, and dispensing medication were often performed on board, with the promotion of health advice too. The list IS endless, and every trip is different.”

Though the work days were long, Theresa’s team did manage to fit in some rest with their Peruvian colleagues,

“There was downtime chatting, card games, dancing, singing and lots of laughter. We had bonded as a team both volunteer and Peruvian.”

Back home, the team kept in touch, having bonded over a unique adventure. The experience offered a unique opportunity to make friends and the team was keen to do even more together,

Volunteering with The Vine trust is an amazing, worthwhile, unique experience. It provided some of our most positive life experiences but it is not without its challenges. It does provide the most wonderful chance to meet, experience and make friends with some of the most amazing people who volunteer and share this experience with you. Now our sights are set on further volunteer work with Vine Trust in Tanzania later this year. Without doubt, we recommended Vine Trust volunteering at least once in your life!”

To find out more about our medical trips here or get in touch about volunteering at today.