I finally got to Moyobamaba. What an incredible time! While I was there my host family took in a newborn baby that had been abandoned by its mother at the airport. I looked after the baby and named her Meredyth, I will never forget her very first smile. The family sent me a picture a few years ago, she is now in her early teens and very beautiful!
As part of my medical experience I accompanied the nurses on two village trips. Each one lasted about a week. The first was a road trip, after the first day we came to the end of the road and the rest of the trip was on foot through the jungle. At each village, we would be met by a guide from the next village who would come with a donkey for our gear and lead us back to his home village. We ran clinics and health workshops at each location. I always had my Oxford handbook of clinical medicine with me… occasionally it was helpful! One of those times was when I was called to see and old gentleman who had severe Parkinson’s Disease, I wrote a prescription for the correct medication and realising that even if he found someone to do the two day treck to the nearest pharmacy, he would be unlikely to afford any of the medication, I decided to pray for him. The nurses returned the following month to find that he was entirely symptom free, and no, he hadn’t been able to obtain the medication. I was glad I prayed. Many of the villages we visited, including the one where this gentleman lived, were displaced communities due to earth quakes and the activities of the Shinning Light group.
The second trip was by river in a small boat that had a motor and oars which sometimes came in handy. This trip took us in to remote parts of the jungle where we visited and cared for the Aguaruna people, one of the aboriginal tribes of the region. I remember stopping at the bank on one occasion and being welcomed by a carpet of indigo blue butterflies about the size of the palm of my hand. What a breathtaking site! It was on this trip that I was served the only meal ever, that I truly have not been able to stomach! I was faced with a shallow bowl of clear “soup” with two fat grubs each the size of my thumb floating in it. I couldn’t do it! The nurse I was with had brought her puppy along with her, that and the fact that our host had left us to eat alone meant that I didn’t have to suffer long, though I went hungry, the puppy was happy!
One thing I observed during my time in Peru was the guinea pigs. They keep guinea pigs like other people keep chickens, and they taste remarkably similar too! I have always thought guinea pigs to have rough and scrawny coats, especially when compared to hamsters or rabbits. But not in Peru, the ones there are plump and cuddly with wonderfully soft coats! Go figure!
I became conversationally fluent in Spanish during my time in Peru. But this I do regret, I didn’t take the time to explore the Inca city and Mount Machu Picchu.