Thursday, October 17, 2013

Conquistadores, Yucca, and Stiches

Wow so much has been happening lately here, I don't know where to begin. So far this week we've had an amazing pathfinder adventure, gone yucca harvesting, learned papsmeres and stitches, spent some time in K38, as well as start planning for our trip to renew our visas and travel in January. It's been a good week and time is really flying by. My hands are significantly better and as of today I am starting to decrease my medicine and stop taking pretnezone. My hands are peeling but the doctor said that was normal. I just have to be very careful because I have exposed open flesh wounds all around my hands.

Pathfinders on Sunday was quite exciting and unique.Our experience began by packing 29 children and a few student missionaries into our 12 passenger gringo van. Then we traveled about 45 minutes in the rain to the jungle town outside of Campo Verde where we unloaded and were given a long rope. With this rope we began our jungle road 6k trek with these beautiful little Pathfinder and Adventururers mostly between the ages of 8 and 12.

Our trek consisted of a long walk with songs and constant jumping into the forest looking for flowers and leafs. Each Pathfinder or Conquistadores unit was expected to find 10 different types of leaves and flowers. Fortunately for us there are an abundance of beautiful flowers as well as strange bushes and trees here in Pucallpa so it wasn’t too difficult.

It rained throughout the hike and at the end all the Conquistadores decided to run- that is the conquistadores that weren’t crying from exhaustion or being held on the backs of some kind missionaries. As crazy it was, running in the rain, on an abandoned Peruvian trek with mud flinging on our legs and the kids screaming- it was fun. It was one of those special moments when my friends just looked at each other and smiled and felt this beautiful happiness and peace.. knowing that only in Peru would we ever have these once in a lifetime experiences.

We finally finished our 6k hike- 4 miles had never felt so long and we arrived at a large lake. Each Pathfinder unit had the responsibility of building a fire out of scrappy material from the rain and one match. Ok well that was the goal. A few of the groups (like mine) used 2 matches- but it was still pretty impressive (especially for my lack of fire building knowledge). Afterwards it was swim time in the lake and all of us leaders had tons of kids attacking us and jumping all over us trying to get whale rides or show us their swimming capabilities. It was really fun swimming! After free swim us instructors had this huge race and the losing instructors’ group has to lead flag lowering next week. I’m proud to say my team won the running, looking for bottles, and swimming relay.

Then we piled back into the van all 32 of us. The little kids were so tired many of them began to fall asleep. One pour little girl got car sick from the bumpy roads but luckily waited to throw up until we got out of the car. Finally we arrived home sweet home at AMOR around 2pm. It was a great, long, Pathfinder adventure.

Monday- was a dead day at the AMOR clinic because the doctor wasn't there. We thought we may go harvest yucca and so aside from the simple housework (cooking, cleaning bathrooms, and cleaning the clinic) only a lot of Spanish practice got done. After a great lunch of lettuce wraps with fried rice and tofu we headed to town to get my blood results from my hand which were negative, praise Jesus =) Monday we also did alot of planning for our January trip. There's a group of four of us girls that want to travel to Buenos Aires together. There would be a guy meeting up with us there and one of us speaks Spanish so that should help with safety reasons. The plan so far is to fly to Buenos Aires and spend about 5-6 days and then fly back to Lima for about 6 days and then to go to Cuzco and see Macchu Picchu in Peru. We're struggling with the costs and making the trip as economical as possible while still keeping it fun. Right now it looks like just for the plane ride it will cost $700.

Tuesday and Wednesday were excruciating long and exhausting days at K38, the farm. We all piled in the gringo van to K38 to help harvest yucca which is a common plant here in Peru that is similar to a potato. The yucca is at the roots of these tall trees that must be macheted down and then separated and bagged. It was quite the exhausting job. We would wake up at 6am here and not get done yucca harvesting until about 6pm at night. We are harvesting the yucca because it is one of the ways AMOR Projects makes money to keep the clinics and facilities running. However it was quite discouraging when we learned yesterday that a huge 150 pound sack of yucca only sells for 20 soles which translates to approximately $7. It really makes me feel bad for the yucca harvesters in Peru. So much work for so little cash. It's really sad.

Tuesday night after a full day of yucca harvesting, the doctor gave us all a lesson on how to do pap smeres. It was quite interesting. We learned using bananas and oranges- no joke. Apparently Pucallpa is the city with the most risk of ovarian cancer in Peru and so we will be doing alot of tests in the clinic and then sending the results to a labratory. Wednesday night we each bought pig meat and practiced learning sultures on the pig skin. I really don’t think I want to be a doctor- especially not a surgeon. It was pretty cool learning though and we will be practicing tomorrow. The doctor wants us to complete 40 stitches of each kind.

In my free time, I've started re-reading the book "Kisses for Katie". It's so inspirational and I encourage anyone who hasn't read it to check it out. Well that's about it for what's been happening here lately- today I have morning swimming lessons and it will be my first time back in the chlorine for 2 weeks and this afternoon we're practicing our stitches some more on pigs.

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