|Start location:||Cajamarca, Peru||[umap id=”34485″ size=”t” alignment=”right”]|
|End location:||Cajamarca, Peru|
|Miles today:||Around town|
|Min altitude:||9000 ft|
Today has been incredible, and it’s only noon. I can’t believe I’m doing this, that I have this opportunity. I really can’t believe the doctors and nurses I am traveling with are doing what they are doing. I can’t imagine being dropped into a clinic in a foreign country and just starting to see patients. Medical personnel are pretty impressive people to start with, but this blows me away.
We got started with breakfast around 07:30 and then a short drive to the clinic at 08:30. After the nuns taped up temporary signs (“Martthew Lopes, Medicina General”, “Misti Tuerck, Psicologia”, etc.) we started seeing patients. It has been non-stop for all of us since then. I hope to hear all about their experiences when we break for lunch in a few minutes.
(Mat’s sign was extra funny first of all because of the misspelling in his name, and secondly because he is an EMT and applying to medical school right now – he’s not a doc yet! He did get a kick out of the temporary promotion, though.)
One of our local helpers, Lidia, is amazing. Everyone we’ve interacted with has been a joy to meet and be with, but Lidia in particular is extremely helpful. She’s the one who pulls me in to the rooms and asks the patients if I can photograph them – I’m still too shy to get in there myself (these are medical or psychological exams, after all). Plus I would imagine the newness, the chaos here, and trying to talk with a patient through an interpreter would be intimidating enough for the docs, so for today at least I am trying to lie low. We’ll be here all week, so I think things will become more comfortable for everyone. Of course, I seem to be the only person who is remotely nervous.
Turns out we only have a 1/2 day in the clinic today, so we had a late lunch and then debriefed at the hotel. Since lunch was so late in lieu of dinner we went to a pastry shop and had dessert and a pisco sour. Shah bought a bottle of wine to take back to the hotel, and a few of us stayed up to talk and eventually take salsa lessons from a couple of the nurses. Mat did a fine job keeping up with Gabi, but Anabeli gave up on my two left feet after a few minutes.