“All of life is a journey which paths we take, what we look back on, and what we look forward to is up to us. We determine our destination, what kind of road we will take to get there, and how happy we are when we get there.”

Virginia. 23. medical student.

what my life involves:

medicine. physiology. volunteering. exploring. television. movies. shopping. singing. music. sleeping.

MEDLIFE Peru 1/5/12 Day 6

SLEEPY. Woke up at 5:50 and got down to breakfast by 6:15. It seems that as the week progresses, people wake up later and later. It was pretty shitty; they gave us the usual coffee, tea, bread, and jam, but today it came with a very bitter type of cheese and also peach yogurt smoothie. There wasn’t very much protein. I wish they had served something warm, like eggs or ham. Anyway I headed back upstairs, finished getting ready and piled onto the bus.

It was only 8am and it was already ridiculously hot. I was sweating in my t-shirt. Once we arrived at the community, we had to wait in the bus for 10 minutes while Alberto talked to the community leader. Then, we all came out and were about to start unloading and setting up when Alberto came to tell us that this community completely forgot that they had a clinic today and that we had no buildings to set up our stations in. So we all piled back on the bus and headed for another community on the other side of the mountain. However, to get there, it required a ridiculous drive up and down the mountainside. We were all terrified of falling down the steep cliff. On the way there, a pig ran in front of our path and we all freaked the f%ck out. We thought we were going to fall. We kept driving and the pig ran for its dear life as the bus came pummeling toward it. Eventually it moved out of the way and we arrived at the village. They had a clinic that was built already so we unloaded and set up very quickly. Since this community had a surprise clinic, one of the community members was able to use their speaker system to make a community-wide announcement.

I was doing vitals first shift so I grabbed the electronic thermometer and prepared myself. There wasn’t too long of a line, but it grew as fast as it decreased. We went through a lot of patients. One little kid kept crying as I approached him with the thermometer. So, I had to distract him as I placed the sensor on his neck to get his temperature. One woman came in who was 38 weeks pregnant, so she was about to give birth at any time. She didn’t look too big though. It was pretty amazing, since she already had a son who was 11 years old.

My second station was dentistry. It was my first time doing this in Peru, so I was pretty excited. Also I had heard that the dentist, a very young man, was pretty badass. He insisted that we call him Claudio and not “doctor” or “dentist” and spoke very fluent Spanish and a little bit of English. He pulled really hard on teeth, so hard that his hand was trembling. During a small break between patients, he talked about shots and alcohol. I think we’re supposed to go out with him as a group on Saturday. LOL. But yeah, he was pretty cool. The pregnant woman came in for a check-up and he explained to us that he couldn’t do anything for her since any anesthetic he used to accelerate and cause child birth. A mentally handicapped teenager also came in and he explained to us how he couldn’t treat him since it could put him, us, and the patient in danger if the patient felt threatened and lashed out. We went on later than all the other groups and we only finished after everyone had already packed up and got on the bus. After packing up, we went back to the hostel.

Since we had a really long time before meeting and dinner, we decided to visit the ancient ruins in the middle of Miraflores. Huaca pucllana was a ceremonial area constructed by the Limas, the native people, who lived there between 500-700AD. We arrived just in time to take the tour and were able to see all of the ruins. We were even able to see llamas, alpacas, a llama-alpaca hybrid (pacallama), and guinea pigs. The tour guide was informative and spoke good English, so it was a pretty enjoyable tour. Once we finished, we went to wait for the bus, but it wasn’t there. Since we didn’t’ have to meet the bus for another 20 minutes, we wandered around the area until we found a really fancy, high-class restaurant where we all bought gelato. Coffee gelato is delicious! We went back to wait for the bus. Once it hit 4:30, we all started joking that he left us and that we should just walk the 18 blocks back to the hostel. However, at around 4:40, he came around and we were all able to go home.

I hopped in the shower as soon as we got back, prettied myself up, and hung out a little with everyone before heading downstairs for the meeting. During the meeting, we talked about clinic and about the living situation in Pamplona. Apparently most people move to the highest parts of the mountains, Pamplona Alta, as a temporary situation in order to own their own houses even though they live without running water or electricity. They hope that it’s just temporary and that they’ll be able to save enough to move out of those areas into better ones. However, for many, they become used to the lifestyle and just live out their lives that way. Alberto said that they make only 10 soles a week from recycling bottles and papers salvaged from garbage. 10 soles is only about 3-4 American dollars. That is ridiculous.

After the meeting, we went to dinner and had an interesting mashed potato casserole appetizer followed by chicken parmesan. MORE CARBS! I quickly followed this with a lot of yogurt smoothie drink in order to get my calcium and protein. This was followed by another Wong trip where I bought more yogurt smoothie drink. We went back to the hostel and dropped our stuff off before heading to go shoe shopping. Judy asked Albert, en espanol, if we could go shoe shopping and he just laughed (either at us going shoe shopping for clubbing tomorrow or at Judy’s Spanish, or both) and kept laughing for 5 minutes. When he was able to breathe again, he gave us permission so the five girls went shoe shopping. I really didn’t need to buy another pair, but they were SO CHEAP and I’ve been looking for a pair of simple black pumps for so long. All five of us bought heels. As we were leaving, we remembered and booked it back inside before the shop closed and took a picture with the ladies who owned the shop. They willingly obliged and we then headed to the Fiesta casino.

We met up with everyone inside the casino. Everyone left to get churros while we went to the bar and ordered drinks. I ordered a Mojadita, which is basically a Peruvian version of the mojito. It tasted very similar to a regular mojito, but they used pisco in it. Eventually I got pretty buzzed and we all headed to the blackjack tables. The minimum bet where we were was 5 soles which equals about $2.25. I used about 10 soles and I lost it all, but whatever, it’s only $5. After gambling we all went back to the hostel. Some people went out bar hopping while now I’m just laying in bed typing. Sleepy time! ^^