School of Nursing student Anna Jordan Butts dons the Peru necklace she got while on her first trip in 2013 every day.
School of Nursing student Anna Jordan Butts dons the Peru necklace she got while on her first trip in 2013 every day.
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People of the U: Anna Jordan Butts

Published on Tuesday, November 26, 2019

By: Kate Royals

Anna Jordan Butts, a nursing student at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, has been traveling to Peru every summer since 2013, and each time she goes, her love for the country and its people multiplies. The seven years’ worth of trips has led her to her current career goal: becoming a nurse in a women’s health care clinic in Peru.

During her most recent trip, she found the perfect combination of her passions for Spanish, Peru and nursing while working at a public health center in Cusco.

Her relationship with Peru began as a member of Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson, which has a longstanding affiliation with Gamaliel Church in Pachacutec, an area right outside of Lima. Butts helped with the vacation Bible school and youth group, and as the years passed in high school and then at college in Mississippi State University, she continued taking Spanish classes and is now what she calls “conversationally fluent.”

“I built these relationships with people in Peru … I’ve watched these kids grow up and really had some great opportunities participating in the growth of the church and making friends with both the kids and their parents over the years,” said Butts.

She said it is the people who inspire her love for the country.

School of Nursing student Anna Jordan Butts in front of the medical clinic where she volunteered over the summer in Cusco, Peru.
Butts in front of the medical clinic where she volunteered over the summer in Cusco, Peru.

“They’re just so inviting and loving and thankful for everything we do, when really they’re doing so much for us, too,” she said. “It’s this mutual love and friendship … and it’s so encouraging to see the work the Lord has been doing through them when we go back year after year.”

For three weeks this summer, Butts worked in women’s health and pediatric triage clinics with doctors and nurses who spoke no English.

“It was really good exposure to see what health care was like there and a good opportunity to practice my medical Spanish,” she said. 

While there, Butts connected with some doctors and nurses from the United States who worked at a nearby hospital that did not have women’s health services, the area Butts wants to work in after she graduates.

“I was talking to the doctor and she was saying ‘I can’t open this part of the hospital because I need someone who’s trained who can help me do that,’ and she suggested I work in the U.S. and get some good experience, then come back to Peru” and they could potentially work together to offer those services, Butts said.

As a result, Butts plans to relocate to the Dallas area after graduating in May of next year because of its hospitals and the large number of Spanish speakers in the patient population, and eventually return to Peru – this time to stay.

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