Hey friends, long time no blog right? We’ll been super busy with my new internship and community engagement projects but I’m going try to sum up the last 3 weeks in one post. I don’t think this will be too long…mostly because my fingers are tired from typing up my research paper.  So, we left Cusco rather early in the morning and it was sad but kind of exciting at the same time. We flew back into Lima where we met our professor, René. From the airport in Lima we drove to René’s hotel and unloaded all of our bags and waited a few hours for lunch. Andi, Armando, and I went to find a market to buy some snakes and some food since we were starving. We found this place that looked like a smaller Meijer and higher prices but we didn’t really care. We then wandered back to the hotel where we found the rest of the people waiting for our tour guide. We sat and talked and ate our food. Our guide showed up and of course we had a city tour. We first got lunch and then started with the tour. Last thing we wanted to do (FYI) was go on a tour. While in the plaza the tour guide and met Gaston Acurio, a world famous chef. We got pictures with him. (I’ll try to upload the picture but the internet here is so slow I’m not sure if it’ll work). We then played with some pidgins in front of another church with catacombs. By played with, I mean ran through large groups of them.   The catacombs were really cool unfortunately no pictures were taken due some silly rule.  It was a little weird just seeing skulls lying around. At one point we found a well 20 meters deep full of bones; that was a little weird. We then went back to the Airport to fly to Trujillo. This was a ridiculously long day; 7am flight from Cusco to Lima, all day tours, and finally flight from Lima to Trujillo.

When we arrived in Trujillo we went straight to our hotel. I think the highlight of that night was the shower. Since getting here I haven’t had good water pressure and hot water but this shower was like standing under a hot waterfall. It was heaven! I didn’t do anything than night just because I was so tired. The next morning two of our people had food poisoning from a chicken place in the plaza. So, I spent the morning playing nurse and restoring electrolytes and trying to get them to eat something. We then proceeded to have a city tour of Trujillo. I think the phrase “No one was happy in Trujillo” was the message of this day. 3 people were sick, Amber was still on crutches, we were all tired and doing another city tour. We went to a few museums and found a protest. The museums were not noteworthy and the protest was kind of interesting. They were people protesting the municipality that wanted to cut public programs for women in general and pregnant women. We had lunch and only a few of us ate because the rest were sick. We then waited for the bus to take us to Huamachuco. The bus ride was 5 hours long and not what we were expecting. We were told there would be Wi-Fi so we were all expecting a nice couch bus but instead we got the old beater. The trip was rough to say the least. 4 hours on terrible dirty roads, we were all motion sick when we arrived. I met my parents at the bus station, Helen and Ilde. Helen is the director of a local school and Ilde (eel-day) works for the director of labor. I was exhausted but I ate dinner with them and went to bed. I found on my pillow a little bag of candy and a postcard saying welcome.

The next day (Saturday), my family asked if I had any plans for the weekend and since René didn’t tell us anything (per normal) I told them that I had no plans. They said they had a wedding in Trujillo and asked if I wanted to go. Of course I said yes. So, 4 hours later we were back in Trujillo. 2nd day with the new family and I had met the ENTIRE family. The wedding was really boring at first because no one was dancing but finally we started to dance and toast. We all had a bit too much but the next morning I was the only one who was sick. It was the worst hang over I have ever had and lasted a good 24 hours.  For lunch they tried to serve me this fish gumbo which I normally would have eaten. It had half a fish, clams, and crab legs. But the smell of it made me gag. I didn’t eat much that day and the trip back to Huamachuco was terrible. The mountain roads are terribly rough and my dad drives like a madman.

Since then everything has been going smoothly. I’ve been working at the local hospital as a mental health intern. We’ve been developing programs to prevent bullying and drug-addiction. We have two strong projects currently in the works. The first is the every 15 minutes program and dramatization. The program makes the students contextualize the consequence. If you’re interested in the actual program check out their website.

We are also working on 2 more projects. One project is called “Proyecto Simpre Vivo” (Project always living). This is a garden project that will bring medicinal herbs and flowers into the hospital. The idea is to bring color and life into the waiting areas of the hospital. We are currently fighting with the printer to print our proposal to give to the head of logistics. The other part of this project involves painting. We have a large wall to paint and we are going to put a big mural there and then in front of the pediatrics exam rooms are going to paint a solid color and have kids paint their hands and put their hand prints on the wall.

Additionally we are holding a mural contest at one of the local schools. The kids have 1 week to design a mural against bullying or drugs. We will present the drawings to different people in the hospital and they are going to vote on the drawing they like the best. The winner will have the opportunity to express their mural on the exterior wall of hospital.

We’re really starting to enjoy our work now that we’re working more in the hospitalization with inpatients. We’re administering medications and taking vitals with the nurses. It’s kind of cool.

I’ve started writing my research paper and am going to El Toro, the informal mine to collect information about the diseases and next Monday we’re visiting a few communities to collect water samples to get tested. The mining here is a lot larger than I originally thought. There are currently riots in the next province over (about 8 hours away in car). The president has declared another state of emergency. I’m not in any kind of danger but it’s still cool to study. This is after the protests after the Espinar riots.  So I’m really excited to look at these communities and the quality of water.

That’s about it. I think have another 27 days here. Missing everyone at home but at the same time it’s going to be sad to leave my families here. I’m hoping to return one day. Love you, Mom.


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