Last Day of Clinic!

Today was our last day of clinic in the Huilloc community and it was action-packed! The day began by finishing up medical and dental care for the last set of patients. Throughout our entire time in the Hullioc community we were able to treat 237 patients – YAY! As a group, we are thrilled and honored to be able to reach that many patients in this rural Peruvian community. With having only very limited access to healthcare in their community, the patients were beyond grateful for our services.

Once all the patients had been seen and treated, there was a closing ceremony in order to conclude the past 3 days of our services. As part of the ceremony, we were able to donate 50 blankets to 50 different families in the community! Through the closing words of the leaders of the Huilloc community, everyone could tell how incredibly gracious every Huilloc community member was. It was truly rewarding and great to see everybody in the community so happy!
To conclude our day, there was the annual soccer cup – Huilloc vs. Oles! Every year big soccer (futbol) game is held at the stadium in the village as the two teams compete for the cup! It was a close one this year….. and unfortunately the Oles didn’t quite have enough in them. We were defeated 6-5 in a hard-fought and fun-filled game! It was SO fun as everyone having was having a blast playing some futbol in the rain ūüôā
Tomorrow we are headed to Machu Picchu and then back to Cusco. Stay tuned!

Caitlyn and Laelle

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One More Day of Clinic

Today was our second clinic day at the Huilloc community.  Despite the rain, we registered another ninety patients ranging in age from a few months to eighty years.  Sunday is market day in the rural communities where the locals sell produce and household supplies weekly.

Tomorrow is our final clinic day and we can hardly believe it is nearly time to say goodbye to our providers.  We will miss their guidance, expertise, and wisdom.

The Peruvian medical experience concludes the clinic portion with a few traditions.  Tonight, we enjoyed a group movie night viewing the phenomenal Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks film, Young Frankenstein.  Tomorrow, we are looking forward to the annual soccer game where we will take on the children of the Huilloc community.  Wish us luck!

Cece and Peder

Allillanchu Kasanki

Hello everyone,

Today we spent our second day within the Huilloc community. After setting up the clinic yesterday, we were prepared for our first day of providing medical and dental care. With over 200 families in the Huilloc community, we were able to register and serve 97 patients today.

After three days of clinic in Cusco, our group was prepared to begin in Huilloc. Each student was assigned to a position similar to our clinic in Cusco. Again, these stations ranged from dental assistance, dental education, sterilization, providing fluoride, shadowing the medical professionals, working in pharmacy, registering patients, assisting in dental triage, and taking vital signs. Each student is assigned to two of these opportunities each day. After gathering as a group during our time in Cusco, we were able to collaborate about what worked well and what did not. This helped provide our group with insight about how to work efficiently and respectfully with all patients.

Today, all 97 patients registered, got their vital signs recorded, and participated in dental triage to determine the degree of dental treatment needed. Through these processes, our group was immersed in the language of this community: Quechua. It was enjoyable to learn some of the new words of this language such as Allillanchu Kasanki (hello) and Surpai (thank you). With the help of our wonderful interpreters, we were able to create a trusting relationship with our patients even though the translations were difficult at times.

At our clinic in Huilloc, we are lucky to have the assistance of Wayne and Roberto from the organization Health Bridges International. It has been wonderful to see how Doug, Diane, Wayne, and Roberto have a certain way of providing care and how they work together to serve our patients in a dignified manner.

In the dental clinic we were assisted by a local dentist, so we had one extra professional who was able to provide quality care in addition to Dan, Eric, and Becky. This allowed us to serve more patients than we did in Cusco. During the medical and dental clinics, we also got to serve adults as well as children. This was a new experience compared to Cusco, where we solely focused on providing care for children.

After the clinic today, some students went biking from an area above the Huilloc community in the Andes Mountains back to our hotel. The rest of our group finished working with patients and prepared for our day back at the clinic tomorrow.

Back at the hotel, our whole group wrapped up the day with a meeting in order to discuss logistics and our ideas for helping with community health in Huilloc as well as Cusco. We came up with a few ideas for how to give back to the communities that have welcomed us  and provided us with wonderful hospitality.

Steven and Amy

 

 

 

An Andean Partnership

Today was the groups first experience with the Huilloc Community. We could not have been more blessed to be welcomed into such a loving and trusting community. As we entered the small village 2,000 ft above the town of Ollantaytambo, we were greeted by all of the Huilloc people, necklaces of blessed flowers, a conch shell musical performance, and a shaman offering ceremony to Pachamamma (Mother Earth).

With twelve years of previous interaction with the Huilloc people, the Peruvian Medical Experience program has established strong, trusting relationships with this community. The village officials repeatedly emphasized that we would be welcomed and accepted as members of their communal family and should feel at home in their space. To further this relationship, members of our team, doctors, dentists, translators, and students, met with the officials to discuss the impact of our program and what more we could offer to them in the future.

With the goal of understanding the people’s needs, the meeting seemed to be a huge success. First of all, the elder’s continually expressed their gratitude for this group’s years of service. More importantly, they expressed that there were apparent needs in the community and trusted us enough to ask for help. At the end of our meeting, there were a few main issues that the Elders hoped could be resolved. The first involved their current cooking situation. Their houses aren’t ventilated properly, and as a result, the stoves that they use cause many health problems. There are alternative options out there. We will just have to do our best to find the best possible option and hopefully we can facilitate change over the next few years. The next issue was the water. They have realized that there are many water borne illnesses that they contract from the river. They now use one specific well up in the mountains for drinking water, but even that isn’t the cleanest. Because they now use one source for drinking water, there is an opportunity to purify the well for the whole community. It also allows for a potentially opportunity to add fluoride in an effort to increase dental health. The next issue seemed to be the most important to the elders. There are only 30-40 outhouses for the 200 families in the Huilloc community. That was an issue not even on our radar, so we will look to come up with a sustainable solution. Lastly, the women expressed a desire to learn how to grow new crops. This would allow them to create a new market for themselves and begin to make more money for the community in addition to their textiles.

A few of us students had the privilege of looking into some of these issues (specifically the cooking and bathroom situation). Both are absolutely in need of change, and it was an extremely humbling experience to see a family live in such a way. We really hope to make a difference in this community.

Once we wrapped up our meetings and clinic set up, a large portion of our group decided to take a hike. Overall, it took a little over two hours. We had to fight the altitude on the way up, but it was absolutely worth it once we reached the top. John led the way and told us a little bit about the pre-Incan ruins at the top. The views were spectacular, but we were finally pushed along by a rainstorm. We were all soaked by the end, but luckily no new shamans were made.

We finished off the night with dinner and a church service in honor of Odon’s mom who passed away several years ago. It was a beautiful service, and it was an honor for all of us to be invited. We are definitely starting to feel apart of the family here in Peru.

Colten and Annika

Adventure to Sacred Valley

This morning we began our journey to Willoc community. On our way we made many detours to sight see the Andean country side. Our first stop was at an Alpaca/llama farm. Odon, our guide, taught us that both of these animals are descendents of camels. We also learned how the wool was dyed and watched women weave them into beautiful textiles.

We then traveled to the Pisaq market, which is located around 30 minutes from Cusco. The group had the opportunity to explore the market and barter with local venders. It’s amazing how many “special offers” by the venders that were to hard to resist. It was impressive to see all of their art and textiles on display in the market.

We had a delicious lunch at a restaurant carved into the Andean mountain side. There were wall to wall windows that showcased the breath taking views of t sacred valley. The food was also as incredible as the views. There was a wide assortment of Peruvian food that hit the spot.

The group made a brief stop at the Kausay Wasi Health Clinic to drop off medical supplies and toured the clinic. The clinic has has served over 320,000 patients in the Sacred Valley that otherwise wouldn’t have access to healthcare. No patient is ever turned away due an inability to pay. The clinic is funded entirely by private donations and volunteer work from medical providers from all over the world.

After a much needed siesta in the bus, we completed our last stop of the day at a salt mine in the valley. The mine is a result of the sea water that once occupied the Andeas millions of years ago. It stays true to the Andean culture and refrains from using machines to harvest the salt. The salt beds that are owned by individual families are beutifully craved into the Andean mountain side. The remainder of our trip to Ollataytombo was  filled with scenic portraits of the Andeas towering over us on either side of the valley. We are extremely excited to set up the clinic tomorrow and ecplore the Willoc community.

Ryan and Michelle

Tough Goodbyes

Hey everyone,

Today was our last day of clinic at the orphanage in Cusco. We saw some returning women’s shelter patients from yesterday, and gained some more patients. These included the women running the shelter and their families. And as always, our favorite, energetic “amigos” running around the orphanage kept us busy and entertained.

Although we had a full patient load today, we also had to worry about the health of our own group members. An annoying GI bug has made its way through three of our students and one provider, making them unable to provide care today. We’re hoping it gets out of their system soon, as we have a busy travel day tomorrow!

Being our third and last day at the clinic, we finally felt like we understood the flow of all of the clinic stations and how they work together. We have become (semi)-pros at communicating in Spanish, entertaining the little kids, and assisting the medical and dental providers. However, our familiarity and love for this clinic and its people made it that much more difficult to say goodbye today. It was very difficult to explain to the kids in the orphanage that we would not be returning tomorrow. All the faces of the kids reflected their sadness, and some of our most energetic “amigos” were noticeably depressed and isolated themselves.

As we packed our bags with medical supplies, returned the orphanage rooms to their original forms, and loaded everything into the bus, we weren’t able to walk three steps without one of the kids latching on to us. It’s crazy to think that we had only arrived to this place three days ago, where the young boys suspiciously watched us from the other side of the complex, because now they had become our favorite shadows. All of the boys have had incredibly heartbreaking life stories, and they will be in our thoughts and prayers, whether or not we are able to ever see them again.

As we said our goodbyes, it was helpful to know that we still have incredible people, places, and memories awaiting us. Tomorrow, we will make our way to the Willoq Community, where we will begin another round of clinics. Before we do that, though, we are excited to utilize tomorrow as a day of sightseeing and exploration!

Jack and Annie

Clinic Day Two!

Hi everyone,

Today was our second day at the orphanage in ¬†Cuzco, but with a whole new group of patients. ¬†Today we treated young girls ranging from four to fifteen. ¬†We kicked off the day by assisting at our assigned stations. ¬†The young boys from the previous day were still around, always smiling and giving warm hugs. ¬†We were expecting mass chaos since we would have many children under the age of ten running around, but with everyone’s hard work we were able to manage and make the day a complete success.

The female patients absolutely loved spending time with us.  They were also very curious about all the procedures and descriptions written on the medical cards.  It was a great opportunity to teach the young girls about why health is important and educate them about how to lead a healthier lifestyle.

One of the biggest eye openers of the day was when the young girls told us their stories about how they got to the orphanage.  Many do not remember their parents, or rarely see them.  It is truly amazing how resilient these girls are.  Coming from a loving family that would do anything for me it is difficult to even fathom what they have to go through.  Today has made me count my blessings and be thankful for what I have been given in life.

Many of the girls did a phenomenal job at both the medical and dental clinics.  They were all very cooperative and patient.  Their smiling faces, sweet personalities, and gratitude reinforces why it is important to give back.

We ended our day with a group dinner at a restaurant near our hotel.  The food was amazing.  It was my first time trying alpaca, and it is now one of my favorite foods!  It was great to listen to how everyone felt about the day and reflect.  Of course all the providers are constantly making us laugh!

Tomorrow is our final day at the orphanage, and I am excited for another day filled with fun, smiles, and laughter.

Meaghan and Zach

First day of clinic!

We started our day bright and early by heading over to the orphanage in Cusco. Today was our first day that we would be offering a medical and dental clinic to the boys at this orphanage and to women from the local women’s shelter. Each student was assigned to one of many stations to help throughout the day. Stations included: registration, triage, dental assistant, dental sterilization, dental education, pharmacy, and medical shadowing.

The day started off slow, but chaotic as everyone learned the flow of patients and how all the different stations worked. All the children were full of lots of energy and nerves as they waited to see the doctors and the dentists. They especially loved playing with all of us students and trying to get as many toys as they could. However, almost all of them were afraid to go to the dentist and took a lot of coaxing and handholding to cooperate.

In the dental clinic, most of the kids were terrified. When they walked in they usually would ask if it was going to hurt, or if we were going to take their teeth. However, with the promise of toys at the end, we were able to get most of the kids through the clinic. Due to their general lack of oral hygiene, many of the kids had severe problems for their age. Many teeth were extracted, cavities filled, and calculus build up removed. Also, since we are in Peru, and the children do not have adequate health records, we were unable to use general anesthetic for any of the procedures. Because of this, many of the children had to struggle through the procedures with only local anesthetic.

In the medical clinic, we saw many children who only had very minor health problems. However, what was the most difficult part about the medical clinic was hearing the children’s stories. Many of the boys come from abusive families, while many of the girls come from stories of sexual abuse and sex trafficking. It was incredibly heartbreaking to hear how much these young children had gone through. What struck me most about them, however, was how resilient they were and how quick they were to smile and give you a hug. There courage, humility, and joy remind me why I want to go into medicine and into pediatrics.

Tomorrow we will host more local children from different orphanages. We are all so excited to spend more time with these amazing people. We hope to help them and learn from them as well.

Leah and Will

 

 

 

Exploring Peru

Hi everyone,

Today was a day full of activities! ¬†Some people’s day started by going to mass at the local Catholic church, which is only two blocks away from our hotel. ¬†It was a particularly special day because it was the celebration of Three Kings Day, which was on January 6th. ¬†People brought little baby Jesus dolls to the service to be blessed.

After the service and a quick breakfast, we left to set up the clinic at the orphanage.  It was exciting for us to be working in the orphanage and with some of the kids we will get to know in these upcoming days!  At first the kids were shy, but we started playing some games and they opened up quickly and were excited to play with us for a few hours.  We got the dental clinic ready to go, and the medical and pharmacy supplies sorted to be put in the proper rooms tomorrow thanks to lots of guidance from the professionals.  It was great to be able to finally get to participate in some of the medical part of our time in Peru!

Next, we went to have lunch the house of a local Peruvian.  It was very special to be able to see their house and have a home cooked meal!  We also got a tour of the gardens of their property, which were beautiful and had a wonderful view of the Andes mountains and valley between them.

We finished our exciting day by hiking around the Tipon, which is the Incan temple dedicated to the god of water.  It started as a quick hike up the mountain, which was made more difficult by the altitude, making some of us walk slower to pace ourselves and not feel the such great effects from the height.  About halfway through our hike it started raining, and it never stopped.  Luckily, most of us had rain jackets thanks to the advice of our guide.  After we started down the mountain, about half the group got lost on the mountain and it was quite the adventure to get back down!  We quickly located the rest of the group and found a way back down in the rain.

Stayed tuned to hear about our first day at the clinic!

Aileth and Janelle

Finally in Peru!

√Äfter a long day of flying, we arrived in Lima just before 2am! We checked into the airport hotel, tried Pisco Sours, and caught some zzz’s.

Later this morning we gained altitude and arrived in Cusco. We were greeted by tour guide Odon and began sightseeing! We saw the town square, learned about Incan and Spanish architecture, and toured the Temple of the Sun. We also learned many details at the Incan ruins, Sacsayhuaman pronounced “sexy woman”, and visited a textile museum with reproductions of ancient textiles and baby alpaca wool.

We’re all a little sleep deprived, but excited to be here and ready to try new foods and learn more about Peru!!

Caitlyn and Laelle