KFWH Student Intern Speaks About Her Experience in Bolivia
Below you will find excerpts from a letter from one of our founder/members, Emily Wharton, who was working as a KFWH student intern with doctoral researchers, Eva Clark and Lauren Pring and the villagers in Camiri, Bolivia. Emily’s goals were to document the work on Chagas Disease and to create a video film explaining the Chagas treatment process in order that villagers may lessen their fears of surgery. Her experience was inspiring and shows first- hand the value of our efforts.
“I’ve been in the field these past few days and it has been amazing. I love visiting the communities and talking to the villagers and I have gotten a ton of footage. I have a lot to tell you about all of it, but am very busy working with my footage and doing translations! Eva and I just wrote up a script for the most focused video; a video for patients whose hearts are in a really bad condition and need a pacemaker, but who are scared about the surgery and don’t understand the process. I’m going to try to create this video as soon as possible, since it is the most urgent.
Good news though! Today Eva and I visited a woman who has been very resistant to getting a pacemaker but whose heart is very enlarged and could die any day. Today we spoke with her and her husband and they said they are willing to do it and realize that it is necessary. The process of actually implanting the pacemaker will take some time, but this is a huge step and one of the main goals of their work here. Another great thing is that in two of the interviews I did today, the villagers spoke about how they used to not think of Chagas disease as dangerous or very serious ; they often would attribute the sudden death it caused as a result of spirits or other religious reasons. But now they realize it is a big problem and they need more treatment and prevention efforts. Both of them talked about the talleres (educational workshops) Eva’s group has done this year and their work in diagnosing and treating Chagas as the reason that their attitude about it changed.”
*It is important to realize how education and treatments can save lives! KFWH is providing introducers and leads for pacemaker surgeries in the region of Camiri, Bolivia. Below you will see on- site photos of Emily’s experience in Camiri.
In addition, watch the video about Chagas and Emily’s Bolivia experience as she speaks to students at Murray Avenue Elementary School! Emily is currently a senior at Harvard University and has been working with KFWH since its inception in 2001.