In 1803 the First International Healthcare Expedition in history, known as the Royal Philanthropic Vaccine Expedition, set sail from A Coruña. 22 orphaned children and doctor Francisco Javier Balmis, personal physician to Carlos IV, set off on a trip to the Americas, China and the Phillipines with the ambitious goal to immunise thousands of people against the dreaded disease.

Today we know that smallpox has been the deadliest viral disease in the history of mankind. This Spanish nurse was the only woman on board and she became the backbone of the expedition. It is known that more than half a million people were innoculated. It was, without doubt, one of the greatest healthcare feats in history. Isabel Zendal is considered by The World Health Organisation (WHO) as the first nurse in history to take part in an international humanitarian mission.

In this Work we wanted to capture the moment before leaving. How did she feel? Did she already know that she won‘t return to spain?

Photographer: Anja Wurm
Hair & makeup: Illiana Illien
Styling: Lorena Lareo
Production: House of Gaia Zurich @houseofgaia_collective
Model/Agency: Lou @ Option Model Agency Zurich