OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - A group of Cal State University East Bay students are packing for a mission to Panama early next week.
They'll be delivering medical supplies to communities that may not otherwise have them.
Osman Sharifi and Angela Arata are among a group of 34 students traveling to Panama to help people in rural villages.
It's the students' second trip to a still developing country as part of a national nonprofit called Global Brigades.
They went on a similar mission to Nicaragua last year.
"In Nicaragua, when I saw homes made out of mud and children playing in dirt, [it] reminded me of my childhood," said Osman.
Memories of the hardships in his own homeland—Afghanistan, are inspiring Osman to help others.
A child in my community died from having a fever to something that's easily curable here with something as simple as Tylenol. But we did not have access to medication," said Osman.
He says his father died when Osman was only a teenager for the same reason— lack of access to healthcare.
Now the 24-year-old pre-med student and Angela Arata, who's also an aspiring doctor, are planning to put sweat equity into their mission to Panama.
From their experience in Nicaragua, they learned how to build septic tanks, bathrooms, and sinks for families and plan to do the same on this trip.
They will also be giving away items of basic necessity.
"Things like toothpaste. They don't have toothpaste. So this year, we're going to bring a whole bunch of hygiene kits, simple stuff that's hopefully going to make an impact on their daily life," said Angela.
She showed KTVU cell phone video taken where the students walked towards a clinic in Nicaragua where villagers waited for them.
She says the students helped serve 1,000 patients in just a few days.
"What I learned the most was the inequity in healthcare comparing their country to our country and just the realization that they don't have access to the things that we do," said Angela.
The goal is to make a difference by improving the lives of impoverished families.
"I want to be able to connect with them on a rudimentary level and make an impact on them." said Osman.
"The joy that I see in their faces; it's the most rewarding experience."
The students will leave for Panama early Monday morning.
They rely on donations and borrowed money to buy supplies and fund their trip.
They describe the missions as humbling and say it has affected the way they look at life.
You can check out the link to Osman's Panama Medical Brigade Gofundme here