June 4, 2008

We have just a few pictures to share with you.  Last night we discovered that we have a VERY weak wifi signal at our host family’s house and, even better, that our language school has wifi we can use.

Yesterday one of the other volunteers and I took a bus to the clinic we were supposed to work with only to find out that they were grossly lacking in leadership and organization and did not need us in the mornings and, because we’re unable to work the hours they wanted us, today we connected with different clinic on the other side of Cuzco.

From my host family’s home, I have a 10 minute taxi ride to the language school to meet with the other medical volunteer, Beth.  Taxi rides here are religious experiences spent in fervent prayer and time with God.  There are no rules or laws governing driving practices and, combined with the extremely narrow cobblestone streets and unlined larger streets, it is terrifying.  (And just yesterday I took a taxi back to our host family’s house but the taxi driver was confused and could not find the neighborhood.  He simply kicked me out of the car where we were. (Lost.))

From the language school Beth and I walk 10 minutes to a bus stop in the middle of town.  The “buses” are small vans in which they cram up to 25 people.  Standing, sitting, squatting, holding on to the bumper.  There is usually a teenage boy who operates the door, collects the money and hangs his head out the window to  shout which bus stop we are approaching and where we are headed.  If you can understand him.  We ride the bus for about 30 minutes.

And then we arrive to a small clinic outside of town that serves the most needy population in the city.  Although our “orientation” today was completely in Spanish, rushed and unorganized, I think I have a better idea of what I’ll be doing.  In the early morning hours (8a-11a) I’ll help to do well-baby checkups and vaccinations.  And then in the afternoon (11a-2p) I’ll be able to assist another nurse in the OB clinic doing exams and checkups.  Medicine in Peru is nothing like in the US.  As we were waiting for the clinic director to meet us, we helped several other “nurses aids” tear a large roll of cotton into little pieces and hand-roll cotton balls.  And there is no privacy.  As we had our tour of the clinic, they would walk us into occupied exam rooms  and  introduce us to both the nurse/doctor and the patient (one  patient was  standing in the middle for the room without a shirt, getting her very large pregnant belly measured).  She greeted us kindly.

It will be an adventure.

So far my favorites:

Exploring the city streets, small shops and cathedrals

Dinner with our family

The music and dancing

The sunshine

Improving my Spanish

My not-favorites:

Cold nights without heat

No hot water

Pushy street vendors

********

Pictures from our host home:

The plaza with our language school:

Narrow streets:

The Plaza de Armas:

I haven’t taken very many pictures yet.  Many more to come.

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