This morning we participated in an activity of our choice. This is the second day we have had the opportunity to be immersed in the community of Arequipa. One new activity today was shadowing surgeries at one of the local hospitals. The other groups prepared food for individuals in the local community of Alta Cayma, shadowed in a clinic, visited homes with the social worker, or worked on filling in the roads that have been eroded by the rain.
The individuals working on filling in the road were able to repair the area with sand to make it drivable again. As we were working this morning, one woman from the local community stopped by and helped us shovel sand. Every member of the community that we have met has always been willing to help in any way that they can, and it was great to work side by side with someone from Alta Cayma. After our group filled the gorge to the best of our ability, we drove to one the homes under construction for one of the women in the community. The house this woman had before is in shambles, and the work crew will demolish it in the upcoming days. For the new home, our group was able to finish digging a trench around the house to direct water flow. Some students also built a rock wall in the front of the house to distinguish the property line. We decided that our artistic abilities for designing the rock wall were not the greatest, and we came to the conclusion that we needed to have more “Incan genes” to build a rock wall without any mortar.
The clinic today was slower than normal, but the students that volunteered there still got the opportunity to shadow the medical professionals. This included a chance to see how they take vitals, record medical history, perform lab tests, and diagnose acute conditions in Peru. We had the unique opportunity to shadow Maggie, a resident from the United States who is treating patients in Alta Cayma for one month. The doctors and residents we shadowed provided excellent care to those in need despite their limited access to equipment. As pre-health students, we also appreciated the insight they provided during examinations, and we enjoyed working with the translators throughout the day.
Today we also took time to relax and reflect. Our afternoon was free, and many students engaged in playing soccer, playing board games, or watching a movie. We also spent the evening journaling about the rewards and challenges we have faced on this trip and how they relate to our future vocations. Over the past few nights in Arequipa, we have also been able to reflect about our experiences with our “reflection buddy.”
The days of our trip are winding down. As we embrace these last few days, we hope to take in the last experiences to the best of our ability. Soon we will be leaving this beautiful country, but our memories of our experiences in Peru will be long lasting.
Steven and Amy