Thursday Mar 25 2010
Alisa Lopez – resident joins medical team in Africa
By: Susan Belknap, Special to The Placer Herald
Rocklin resident and registered nurse Alisa Lopez traveled to Africa as part of a medical team. Lopez and her team assisted locals with everyday aches and pains. Lopez is a registered nurse at Horizon West-Lincoln Manor Care Center, which specializes in inpatient rehabilitation and skilled nursing. 1. What made you decide to become a nurse? “I pretty much grew up around nurses. I have aunts and an uncle who are in the nursing profession. When I was in high school I volunteered in a nursing home and just did lots of simple tasks for the nurses. I was always observing everything the nurses did. Right after high school I decided to do some volunteer work in Peru for the Maranatha Volunteers International, which is headquartered in Roseville. This is a nonprofit organization that builds schools and churches and helps with outreach programs and medical treatments. I think that’s when I really discovered my passion to help people.” 2. Is Peru the only place outside the United States where you have traveled? “No, I’ve been on eight different trips with Maranatha. I’ve been to Ecuador, Chile, Guatemala, Mozambique and I returned from Africa a few weeks ago.” 3. Where in Africa did you travel and what did you do there? “I went to Zambia and was part of a medical team. There were 180 people on that trip and I went with 15 other people on my team out to the villages. We traveled around and mostly we tried to help the residents with their daily aches and pains, much of which was caused by the lives the villagers lead, like carrying around 4-year-olds on their backs. We also tried to educate the people about HIV and sanitary conditions. 4. What was that experience like? “It was amazing to see how these people live, many in mud huts with sticks holding the hut together. These people don’t even have electricity or bathrooms.” 5. How did you communicate with the people? “Many spoke English but out in the African Bush, the people had their own dialect. We always had an African nurse and/or doctor who were there to help translate.” Susan Belknap is a spokesperson for Horizon West Health Care.