Monday, March 7, 2011

Bodies and Spirits

Well Day 1 in our medical mission to Cusco, Peru, the first such mission undertaken by the Iglesia de Christo missionary team, is now in the history books! I blog tonight from the outdoor patio of our hotel where it's probably 50 degrees but where I can wear my Peruvian style 'bogan without anyone seeing me and laughing. It was such an uplifting day. So many smiling appreciative people. So many good folks to work with from the State and Cusco. So many Jason's. Three of us exactly. We have agreed to go by J.W., J.P. and Jason with hair. Haha, ok so maybe I was the only one who agreed to that but it would cut down on confusion. The docs saw over 150 patients today. The MD's saw everything from the ubiquitous "gastritis," to rashes, probable parasitic infections, a massive post-stroke patient, end-stage cirrhosis, menstrual problems, back pain, and the very personal *ahem* male complaint which was from our last patient I saw at around 6pm. In the optometry room the 2 O.D.s were dilating and turning out the glasses as fast as fast as their ophthalmoscopes could go; they were buried in patients! The pharmacists were dealing drugs (the two hottest items were probably Prilosec and "Ibuprofeno") Our physical therapist, "J.W." was twisting and stretching folks and he had a line 2 or 3people deep everytime I looked. Meanwhile, Dennis Williams and others were literally waving people off the sidewalk and signing them up for bible studies. Mike and Nancy were on the frontline at triage when the tsunami hit at about 2 pm. There were so many others having bible studies inside, playing games with kids, fixing coffee and tea for folks waiting to see us, fixing lunch for us. Then there was Jedediah dressed as-- himself ;) Enough cannot be said about our interpreters as well, without whom we could not have done it. Fantastic day! I look forward to tomorrow as we keep working to show the compassion of Christ.

Just Jed being himself.

Pharmacists and the backporch Bible study team.

Jared Sartain, MD in action (or you can call him Zeus).

Yesterday we had worship with the congregation at Cusco and set up the clinic which is at the church building which is a renovated movie house. During the "meet and greet" time during service I shook the hand of a little, old Peruvian lady wearing the typical dress and braided hair. She had a sweet smile and a very pleasant demeanor so when she pulled me down to kiss me as per the usual greeting, I figured I could be doing worse for kissing a complete stranger. The next person I saw was my buddy from Hoover, Rick Williams. I said, "Rick, you really need to meet that little gray-haired lady there. She's really nice." As Rick took the bait I circled round with my camera to try to catch their special moment. I could see it on his face when she reeled him in, he knew he'd been punk'd!! I am so sad the picture didn't come out better.

In the afternoon we paid a visit to the artisan market where gringos go to try to out manuever the vendors on the prices of their wares. I apparently have a thing for these little, round Peruvian ladies (or vice versa) because first-- I am just not a good haggler. Second-- I just feel like I'm trying to cheat these nice, smiling, honest matriarchs whose only apparent happiness in life is to make my wife toasty and warm with a home-made alpaca blanket. Who could haggle on those terms? The last run-in of the night with one of these nice ladies who wouldn't take "no, gracias" for an answer occurred when yet again, I made eye-contact and she followed me a hundred yards across the Plaza trying to sell me one of her painstakingly hand-crafted gourds which was very nice of course and she'd give ME a special price. Luckily, I have been running a lot at home and I finally outpaced her. . . after Rick tripped her. :)

A very nice lady.

Finally, we kind of unfairly gave Mike Clelland a hard-time at dinner for "Miking out" and not eating the cuy, the famous Peruvian delicacy. Which is a guinea pig. Normally, I am all up for eating all things local: steamed mussels in Belgium, boyschl (cow lung) in Vienna. And I mean when will you get another chance to eat somebody's pet rodent?! What an opportunity! Oh, well. I did not indulge either. I settled for the alpaca steak which was good, but I finally felt like I was abusing this poor animal too much in one table sitting because I was also wearing a sweater made from an alpaca. Likewise, I did not indulge in the ceviche-style trout that was being sampled at the table. I'm sure it was fine but I'm really going out of my way this trip to limit my experience with diarrhea to talking about it with my patients.

Buenos noches amigos! It's starting to get cold out here!

Dinner at "Inka Grill." And now your dinner served on a bed of cedar chip and newspaper polenta. . .

View of the Plaza and Christ statue near our restaurant.

No comments: