We present to you Marie-Claude Cossette, a long-time volunteer with IRIS Mundial! Marie-Claude’s involvement started in 2003, after meeting Dr. Jean-Pierre Tchang, the IRIS Mundial’s founder, during a trip to Peru the previous year. She immediately joined the organization and took part in a one-time project in Huaraz, Peru. In total, she participated to nine missions with IRIS Mundial, usually as a nurse and one time as the Volunteer manager. She was also a member of the board of directors from June 2017 to November 2019. She is a very dedicated, friendly and smiling person with whom it is always pleasant to deal with. Thank you for your involvement and your big heart, dear Marie-Claude!

Here is a testimony of her involvement with IRIS Mundial over the years:

"Beautiful memories still present in my heart:

My story with IRIS Mundial started over 18 years ago in the city of Iquitos in the Peruvian Amazon: I was on vacation with my sister and a friend. I met a passionate and fascinating person sitting right next to me at the swimming pool of our hotel… and my life will be forever marked by this moment! It was my first contact with Jean-Pierre Tchang. He changed my life by allowing me to live what will become the passion of my life: international solidarity. I listened to him for hours talk about his missions, his achievements and his ambitions ... what energy and charisma he had! Jean-Pierre is definitely an exceptional person who knew how to change patients’ lives, but also the lives of the volunteers he brought with him on his human adventures. He transmitted his passion for helping the most underprivileged to me. In this context, six months later, I returned to Huaraz in Peru for my first mission with an exceptional team. I experienced a wide range of emotions ... and it was the same for each of my missions.

My first memory was incredible: the line of people who wanted to be examined was miles long! It was raining, and people did not leave the line for fear of losing their place. Some even slept outside to keep it. Despite the wait, they were happy to be there in front of us ... everyone thanking us from the bottom of their heart. But, what I remembered most was the happiness visible in their eyes and smile. They were really happy to receive care, but on the other hand, they made us even happier with all their gratitude. These meetings are so good for the heart and soul: they allow us to exchange and to share moments of mutual involvement. I could not communicate much in Spanish, but I managed to communicate through my smile and with the expression in my eyes... it was pure happiness!

During each of my missions, I experienced many emotions that made me feel better each time! What a joy to share these experiences with exceptional people, amazing teams and all the warm encounters I had…

Dear Jean-Pierre, I must say: you knew, how to make me and each individual volunteer feel unique, valued and remarkable through our contribution. Not many words can describe you…Jean-Pierre, much like Obélix falling into the magic potion, your strength and charisma have transformed the volunteers and the people you helped into a better version of themselves! Also, Francine, Catherine, Julie, Marie-Chantal, Mihaela, Johanne and all those I cannot name, but who contributed to taking over and pursuing the mission of the organization with so much conviction over the past few years, a huge thank you! The adventure continues… with just as much passion!

Here are some good memories:

  • First of all, the traditional colorful layered dresses of Peru
  • First, all of these colourful dresses with 7 or 8 petticoats under them in Peru.
  • The gorgeous babies with cheeks reddened by the sun, hanging on their mother’s back.
  • The exceptional flowers and landscapes as well as impressive mountains.
  • The Andes and the magnificent walks after the missions.
  • Even the famous tarantula in my room at the hotel: thank you Andrée, for being present and so calm in presence of this intruder.
  • Dr. Lyne, always smiling and available for both patients and team members. You took good care of us!

 

I could continue to reminisce for a long time, because there are so many memories! This great adventure also created beautiful friendships, which are so essential. I think of Marie-Carole, Lyne and so many others! Without forgetting, of course, the brilliant smile of Dr. de Groot with his red nose and his orange hair! But, the best mission memories will always remain all these thanks and smiles of recognition, all these eye exams executed by the team members, all these eye glasses given, all the cataracts and pterygiums operated by the ophthalmologists, without forgetting the dermatological exams and plastic surgeries. I can even say that I saw the resuscitation of a baby, thanks to Normand who allowed this little Haitian to live. What kindness from each of the volunteers! Volunteering with IRIS Mundial really allows someone somewhere to better see the world! Thank you for allowing me to experience it so intensely! "

This post is also available in: French