Local Teens Return from Humanitarian Trip

Local Teens Return from Humanitarian Trip

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Sammy Linebaugh ReportingA growing number of humanitarian aid groups are offering more opportunities for service expeditions to third world communities.

KSL recently reported about one group of local students who packed medical supplies, school books and hundreds of pairs of shoes to deliver to a small village along the Amazon River.

They're back now with tales of their adventure.

Emily Lundgren: "They're really happy people. They like their lives. They live in a beautiful place; they don't really have to worry about money. They have food everywhere. But they understood that there were things they couldn't do."

Yanamono, Peru, a place some would call an Amazon paradise with natural wonders, both mysterious and potentially deadly.

Alvin Kwok, Univ. of Utah Medical Student: "The thing that most concerned the people there were snakebites. Apparently several people in the village a year die because of snakebite."

Alvin Kwok is in medical school at the University of Utah and one of two dozen high school and college students who spent three weeks teaching CPR and other skills within the Yanamono village, a close knit community of roughly 50 families where healthcare is basic and often hard to come by.

One little boy had a cut on his foot that had become infected. It’s common problem, particularly among the village's children who run barefoot in a playground infested with parasites.

Gena Baca, Recent Graduate of Nursing School: "It felt like I was doing one of the best things of my entire life.”

Hundreds of Utahns contributed to a pile of shoes collected by the students before the trip to help with the parasite problem and to curb the spread of infection. Thanks to those efforts, shoes of all sizes are now on the feet of the Yonomono people.

Garrett Rees, North Summit High School Student: "It was like somebody coming to Salt Lake and handing out cars. They would take them home and wipe 'em off and hide 'em.”

Garrett Rees of North Summit High School says he hopes to return to the village someday. In the meantime, he'll keep close the gifts he received in return -- memories of a community rich with human spirit somewhere along the banks of the Amazon.

The students also worked with villagers to build a new schoolhouse. The organization that sponsored them is called Youthlinc, a local humanitarian group that plans to send new teams of students to the same village over the next several years.

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