Thursday August 3, 2018
After a full arrival day yesterday, we’re happy to report that 22 of our students have safely made it to home base! They are currently enjoying learning about Andean culture (and the homemade pineapple juice) before jumping in to service orientation this afternoon. We can’t wait for the last two members of our team, Brian and Owen, to arrive shortly!
Tuesday August 7, 2018
Well, ever since the arrival day that included many delays, the group has been up and running, adapting to new challenges. On the second day we all participated in a welcome ceremony led by Yuri, our wonderful host. We later learned various medical skills like how to take a blood pressure, how to take a heart rate, and how to communicate with our patients in Spanish. The last few days have also included a lot of games ranging from capture the flag to Simon says in Español. We watched The Bucket List or Antes de Partir as it’s known in Spanish and went white water rafting.
Today, in light of the transportation strikes going on in the surrounding areas, we stayed in. We all made up games based around the Spanish and medical skills we recently acquired. While most students played the games and had a discussion about big pharma(ceuticals), some of us helped construct a spiritual sweat lodge called a Mascal which was made of made of straw, adobe mud, and horse poop. Eventually our drivers made it over and we took the buses to Taray to finish painting the clinic.
After turning the building completely blue and the rusty truck a vibrant orange, we took a break to play (or watch) a friendly soccer game with some adorable local kids. Everybody has been bonding and getting to know each other, and new friends are being made every day. Free time is filled with card games, soccer tennis, and lots of laughs. We are all excited to get even closer to each other over the next week.
On Wednesday morning, a couple of us went back to the clinic to finish up painting while the rest went to the Pisac Clinic to learn about vision testing. We learned how to conducts a vision test by having a patient close one eye and read each line of letters to determine the extent of their eyesight. After we finished training, we started the scavenger hunt around the town’s markets. I loved seeing all of the colors and different things being sold and it was super fun to walk around and talk to vendors in Spanish. My favorite part of the market was finding the chocolate store where a couple of us got to try different types of chocolate and buy drinks from its café.
After the extensive tour of the market and a lunch at home base, we had a talented family over to educate us on traditional Peruvian rhythms and to lead activities on pottery and music. Everyone circled up in the Maloka and attempted to make clay creations. We then listened to our guests perform Andean songs and some of us participated; trying to play drums or guitar or pan flute. We then painted our pottery and packed up the instruments. We finished out this exhausting day by playing the night game Sardines, which was surprisingly difficult. All in all a fun-filled day.
On Thursday we all woke up super early to go to a school in San Salvador. The school was really great because it is a private school that is free for smart kids living in poverty. At the school we tested kids in from second grade to sixth grade. We set up different stations where hemoglobin levels, vision, glucose levels, blood pressure, and heart rate were tested. Others went around with the kids to the stations to keep their vitals on a piece of paper and comfort them if they needed it, although most of the kids were pretty tough! After testing a little under 200 kids, we said goodbye and headed out to lunch. We had lunch at a restaurant in Pisac called El Sabor and then headed out to the ruins in Pisac.
After a fun time at the school, poking students with needles and causing bloodshed we took a fortyfive minute drive to the ruins of Pisac. Picking up our tour guides Alfredo and Mario we headed to the ticket stands to get admitted inside the ruins. The group of 24 as well as our guides and mentors climbed a decent amount up the mountain until we ran out of breath. The guides were telling us about the stories of the Incas and the wars they had on this mountain. They also showed us the area where they bury the dead and they lay them in a fetal position because they believe in the afterlife. After taking a ton of pictures like a pack of tourist we climbed to the top to take a better view of the mountain where half the group slipped and fell a little. To wrap up our tour we climbed down some steps which seemed to be meant for giants and we all headed home.
After a wonderful week, we had an amazing day starting with being able to go to a local clinic in Pisac and testing adults and young children for nutrition deficiencies. There we were able to once again practice taking hemoglobin and glucose tests and taking blood pressure. We also had the privilege to stop at a market and buy some sweets and snacks. After a delicious lunch of pasta and potatoes at home base, we had the luxury of having 2 doctors and 1 nurse come and talk to our group. Here we were able to ask questions about what it is like to be a medic in a developing country. We also learned a lot about the health and differences of each region and how this knowledge is very important to one’s health. In addition, we learned that many locals. Here drink cow spleen juice as it is an excellent provider of iron, which is a necessity as many people in Peru have Anemia due to lack of resources and knowledge. Now we are excited to see what dinner is and what will be instore for us for the rest of this marvelous trip!