Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 25; Escuela Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, Piata, Peru

Today, I'll show you one of our med op sites. This is a school for elemetary children in Piata, Peru. They take a week long holiday while we give medical care.
THis is the area where denistry was done. Just wait until you see the exam room. It is very primitive but functional.

OK, so maybe going to my stateside dentist with a comfortable chair, sunglasses so the light doesn't get in my eyes and posters on the ceiling just isn't so bad. If you didn't have dental "fears" before I think this would give you some.
We left the ship early in the morning to make land and transfer to a bus that drove us from the Naval Base to Piata.
There was a big difference in serving in the 2 nations. In Jamaica, the "patients" waited in the chairs and as one patient would leave, they all slid over one chair to get to the head of the line. It was very orderly and they seemed to like the structure. Not so much, with the Peruvians. They were excellent at keeping track of who was next but there was not obvious order involved. If one of them stood up, they all stood up and became a mini riot. With the language barrier and the cultural difference it very much felt like herding cats.

They all loved having their pictures taken, both young and old. It's how we entertained while they waited.

Alot of the way we served was to educate. This is Carlos, a Peruvian native who translated for us and Marianne Kartchner. Marianne taught dental care almost everyday. As you can see Carlos made it fun.

So funny story, while at Corazon I finished up my blood pressures and wandered over to crowd control in the pediatric area. My friend Tassa, asked if I would "help" take the weights of all the children that were waiting to streamline things for the next days clinic. Before I go much further I should tell you that Tassa had a large part in my ending up in the "cage" with the angry Jamaicans. I'm nothing if not gullible. So I start taking weights, before long all the pediatric patients have morphed into all the patients and it's a herding cats nightmare. Notice in the picture that Tassa is nowhere to be seen. Later, I mention to Tassa that one of the infants felt warm to me. She asked if I wanted to take her temperature. Since she was in no distress, I declined because I had learned that meant taking everyone's temperature.

And at the end of the day this is how we reboarded the ship. I had heard all kinds of "stories" about being dropped from the weather deck in lifeboats. I'm happy to report it was not nearly as adventurous as that.

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