by Carolyn Canouse
Last October, an incredible and serendipitous thing happened: Make a Miracle was contacted by two unexpected, but very important people that would set the creation of the Miracle Wellness Center in motion. The first was the president of the San Antonio de Padua community where we had built several homes, who offered to donate a piece of land for us to use to build a community center within their neighborhood. The center would be meant to “inspire the people, especially the children, with the spirit of helping others.” The second was from the United Nations who reached out regarding a doctor from Atlanta who was looking to do volunteer work in South America.
Since I was visiting Peru at the time, I was able to go with our team to meet the leaders of San Antonio de Padua and look at the small piece of land. While there, one of the community leaders was adamant that they should give us a larger piece of terrain, one that was central to the entire community. It was a great piece of property. As we walked around , I began to envision a tall, brick and mortar building, much stronger and larger than any of our other community centers. We were incredibly thankful when the community President agreed to grant us the larger tract of land.
The next week after arriving back in Atlanta, my daughter Rachel and I went to meet with the doctor who was interested in volunteering with us. He had been to Peru many, many times and expressed how much he loved practicing medicine in places where the people truly needed and appreciated him. We talked for a long time about the importance of education and preventative care, as there is a very high incidence of diabetes and hypertension in Peru. The “incidence of diabetes in Peru is among the highest reported globally (NCBI).” A genetic predisposition as well as a diet high in carbohydrates and sugar are to blame. The same is true for hypertension, as “approximately twenty-five percent of adults in Peru suffer from high blood pressure, a disease that commonly appears around the age of forty, reported the Andean country’s health ministry (MINSA).” Together, with some proper education and preventative care, we agreed we could make a huge difference in the lives of so many in the community.
So we came up with a plan to open a medical clinic on the land we were given. The doctor suggested we start by offering free medical care to pregnant women and also those with young children. He said, “the women are the center of the household. They take care of everyone else, including the men, who typically don’t like going to the doctor.” From there, we could expand by offering appointments to the entire community. This would put us in the hills of San Juan de Lurigancho, helping the people who need it most.
It’s one year later and we have broken ground on our Miracle Wellness Center project. The vision of the Center has grown to include dental, animal and mental health care for people who have been traumatized by the pandemic and all that comes along with it. As the needs of the community change, so will the various services offered at the Center. .
With ample funding, our Miracle Wellness Center, Casa de Bienestar, will be finished in May 2021. This will be a game changer for our friends in San Antonio de Padua. Please consider helping us make this dream a reality by donating online at makeamiracle.net.
Carolyn is the co-founder and president of Make a Miracle.