I´d been talking with Jemerson, the pastor of the church I attend, for a while. We see poor, country folk in the hospital but we also see alot of rich people coming for second opinions, since they trust foreigners more than their own people. Jemerson keeps telling me the real poor can´t afford to travel to the hospital. And also that in Quechan culture is practically a last resort. So I told him that if he planned a trip with the church and go with them.
The idea was a survey trip so that I could get an idea of what we were talking about, and the resources where we were going. Jemerson talked to a brother, Barnabus, from the church in Abancay who travels out to rural villages church planting. He had town villages a 30 minute walk from one another that he wanted us to visit. The plan was to keep it small...
Yeah right. The only plan that always comes to pass in Peru is God´s. Initially it was to be me, Jemerson, and Juvenal (a nurse aid who works in Diospi with me and is in our church). Then Marcos (from the church, who is now working a the traveling pastor at Diospi) said he´d come. And the day before we left, two other gals from the church, Yael (a German nurse) and Esther (a Austrian nurse), found out what we were doing as I collected equiptment and medicines from the hospital to use and asked if they could come too. Rachel (a Peruvian agricultural engineer, who had been working in Curahuasi and attending the church, returned to Curahuasi to visit and ended up deciding to come all too. I was the oldest in our group probably by at least 4 years ...
Early Saturday morning we met up in Abancay ---Juvenal never showed up (ended up he got pulled over on his motorcycle by police who wanted a bribe. He wouldn´t pay it and so they confiscated his motorcycle for a day until he could sort everything out)---and from there drove about an hour to a small village.
The first three photos are us eating breakfast before starting to work. Two brothers from the church in Abancay who have been church planting out in these villages came with us. You can see them in the photo below. THe women behind is a member of the church who opened her home to us. This is were we ate a couple meals and us girls spent the night in one of their rooms.
I´d asked to see between 15-20 people maximum a day because I´d worked all week and wasn´t able to take vacations this time of year. I think we saw up to 30-35 a day documented, and more, undocumented. At one point to get through patients faster without compromising their care, I had Jemerson seated on one side of me with a patient and Rachel seated on my otherside with another patient. I´d listen to one patients complaints translated to me, hand their translator a pile of various educational handouts based on their problems and a perscription with their meds and then leave their translator to explain the handouts and medicines. I´d then turn to the other translator and do the same. It was really nice because it allowed their translator time to explain the handouts well, talk to the patients about their faith, and share the gosepl with them if it was appropriate. This was obviously towards the end of the day when our non-medical translators had learned the educational talk for gastritis, constipation, back pain from poor work posture and how to lose weight diet by heart.
A really funny moment was at the end of the second day a heard Jemerson reciting to Rachel by memory the gastritis diet handout.
The picture about is Marcus preaching in service Sunday morning at the second village.
After church and after second breakfast we started our clinic. Jemerson was right. We found all the 70-90 year old Peruvians who´d never seen a doctor in their life. The first day I had a male patient 96 years old who at first seemed normal but quickly talked off in wierd tangents, so that I realized he obviously had severe demetia. He complained about his head hurting. Then he showed me his huge incarcerated abdominal hernia (he probably had up to 3 feet of intestines that had slipped out of his abdomen through a small hole in the abdominal muscular wall and wouldn´t go back in). This is a surgical emergency. I offered to give him an appointment with the surgeon so that he could get in quickly the next day....But, I couldn´t convince him to seek medical care, so I gave him medicine for his headache and let him go.
We returned to Curahuasi that night, exhausted and full of the joy of the LORD. :)