I’m in my second week at Diospi! There are two types of mountains that are common here.
The first are the physical mountains that surround the hospital. The Mirador is one that we climbed this last weekend. It’s about a 3 mile hike to the top and the great hope of all who climb it is that you can see the taller snow-capped mountains on the other side—which is dependent on whether or not its cloudy. Unfortunately, during the rainy season here (i.e. now) its not just a matter of looking out your window and realizing its going to be a cloudy day. Today is a classic example. This morning when I awoke it was thundering and pouring. Midday the sun was shining, blue skies, about 70-80 degrees F. Now at 5p its overcast, thundering , pouring again, and about 50-60 degrees. So it was rainy and overcast when I awoke Saturday morning. We postponed the hike for an hour hoping the clouds would burn off. It was overcast (but less so) and not raining when we left. It was chilly, rainy and overcast when we reached the top, and it stayed that way. Until way later in the day—long after we’d returned from the hike-- about 5 or 6pm when it was bright blue skies and you could see the snow capped mountains. Though ironically, despite being overcast, rainy and 50 degrees-ish, nearly everyone who went and wasn’t wearing a hat had red painful necks and faces that night at game night J (supposedly the atmosphere is the thinnest in the whole world in Cusco—thinner than even Australia. Plus the elevation is so great---so you sun burn much more easily).
The other mountain here is distance and resource barriers. I started seeing patients Monday. One of my first patients I had, after talking to her a bit my initial instinct was to do just a couple simple things and have her follow up (i.e. like I would in the US). But I learned quickly that I had neglected a couple factors/barriers that now significantly influence how I treat my patients here. Number one, distance. Many of them come from 4-6 hours away. Not 15 minutes, like in the states. Number two, to have the appointment if it’s not an emergency, they often times start lining up the night before to get an appointment coupon. And many of them will wait in town for 3-5 days trying to get an appointment. Number three, to be seen is a whole day affair. Usually we see patients in the morning, order tests, and then discuss the results and treatment regimen in the afternoon. So it’s better to do a lot of exams/labs/imaging and treatments all at once, then for them to come and only address one problem at a time. Also, though many of them only have simple, non life threatening chronic diseases/illnesses/issues due to the lack of medications/resources in the government hospitals and the limited number of appointments at Diospi, they’ve never ever really had an evaluation or treatment of their chronic issues.
Please pray for Diospi. That the resources and staff are able to meet the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of the people of Peru efficiently, effectively and in a sustainable way.
Also, I’m still looking for a place in town to live. There are a couple other women I may be able to live with. Please pray that God provides the best place: location (some are 4 minutes walk from the hospital, others are a 30-45 minute walk—which is less favorable when its pouring or in the middle of the night), view, cost (the Peruvians unfairly increase rent because they know that Germans and westerners are moving in and the Peruvians think all Germans are “rich”. One Peruvian doctor, Luz, who may share a place with me, said that the price given for one place I looked at was comparable to the price one would pay in Lima, which is very westernized, unlike Curahuasi), and quality (the typical Peruvian housing is very basic. Their idea of a kitchen is an open fire outside and a sink/basin outside with one faucet. Since the number of missionaries in town has been increasing every year, though missionaries come and go, the amount of “acceptable” housing options in town are very limited. Oftentimes missionaries will have to pay rent in advance to the owner of the house/apartment so that they can afford to make it livable.)