Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 1: Babies

After nine hours of flying, a night in Lima, and a 21 hour bus ride, Mallory and I made it to Cusco! (´´Cuscoooo!``). We met up with the rest of our traveling buddies, and my fellow volunteer nurses and I started orientation at the Maximo Nivel office and moved into the San Pedro Family House. There are 16 volunteers living in the house together, along with our wonderful house staff. I feel pretty spoiled having meals cooked for us and being cleaned up after. Hopefully I won´t get too used to this.

The four of us nurses are split up into two different clinics. Whitney and Helena are at a clinic in central Cusco. Shelby and I are at a clinic in Santa Rosa, just outside of Cusco. We commute via combi, which is a public transporation van in which we can cram about 25 passengers, for about 30 minutes for 60 centimos (a quarter in US currency) each way. Not too shabby.

Day 1 at the clinic (as the title says): BABIES! Lots and lots of infants and toddlers. Our clinic, el Centro de Salud Santa Rosa, provides urgent medical care, well-baby and well-child check ups, vaccinations, lab tests, and primary care education for impoverished and uninsured local Peruvians. For those who have worked with us, y´all know we have been working for two years in the hospital, caring for cardiac patients who are mostly older adults. No babies or children. In the past I have freaked out when once in a blue moon I receive a random patient who is a teenager. Obviously this is a big change for me. I´m pretty excited about it, though because it will be a new nursing experience. Plus, babies are really cute.

The clinic is small and government-funded, run completely by volunteer doctors, nurses, pharmacists and aids. It is also completely Spanish-speaking. Nobody speaks a lick of English. Another new experience for me. In the past I have been able to get through a 12 hour shift with my broken spanish and a couple key sentences, ´´Soy tu infirmera por la noche´´, ´´Tienes dolore?``, ``Quieres medicina para dolore?``. Needless to say, I have a lot of Spanish to learn. Working at the clinic and taking Spanish courses monday through friday, hopefully I´ll be at an intermediate speaking level after my six month volunteer commitment is finished.

After 4 days in Cusco, I am loving it. Plus, I´m average height here! What a first! It is a beautifully historic city and it´s small enough for us to walk everywhere we want to go. Our fellow volunteers/housemates are pretty awesome and the locals are friendly.

Stay tuned. I promise not to blog only about boring nursing stuff. I intend to have plenty of traveling adventures.


1 comment:

  1. Cara, you are as inspirational as you are beautiful. Please write as much as you can. The Spanish will come to you faster than you know. I'm very excited to read more of your adventures.

    Have fun! You are doing wonderful work.