Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Cusco Cough

Turns out after doing a Tough Mudder, Austin City Limits weekend, moving cross country, and traveling to Peru, my immune system was done for. I have caught what my fellow volunteers have dubbed, the ¨Cusco Cough¨. No worries, this cough has not stopped me from doing anything other than running, but the altitude here killed that hobby anyways. Last week, Shelby and I went from being nurses to patients at our own clinic. I was sent home with some free meds. I felt guilty about that, but the doctor insisted.

Working with babies and mamas at our clinic in Santa Rosa has taught me, not only Spanish, but also some interesting things about the culture and society in Peru. For example, one of the nurses I work with asked me, ¨Tienes ijos?¨= Do you have children? I was clearly surprised and confused by the question, so our nurses aid proceeded to explain with gestures: are you married? I ended up surprising THEM when I told them I have no children and am single. Apparently it is very uncommon for a woman my age to not have children (notice the emphasis on having children and not on being necessarily married). At 24, I am the equivalent of a spinster here. My nurse then proceeded, to my understanding, to describe her sons who are apparently  my age and single lol.

Vaccination differences: I´m not going to go into the details of pediatric vaccinations, but I´ve noted the following differences in obligatory vaccinations, which my clinic gives for free. No Hep A or Pertusssis vaccines. I had a little boy come in today with Hepatitis A, jaundiced and enlarged liver and all, AND pertussis. Poor kid. Treatment for both illnesses: plenty of fluids and just ride out viral infections. No chicken pox vaccine. According to the doctor I work with, chicken pox and Hep A are not deadly here, so these vaccinations are not obligatory, but patients can buy them if they want.

Mixing it up in the clinic: After 2 weeks of getting our baby fix and getting the hang of la infermeria, we switched to working with the doctors at the medical side/urgent care of the clinic. The doctors are very nice and love explaining things to us in Spanish. They also like to ask us about health/disease trends in the USA. It´s funny, one of the videos they show in the waiting room includes photos of Norte Americanos eating McDonalds or being fat and sedentary as examples of poor health choices! Yep, Americans are perfect examples to help prevent poor health in Peru. I think my Spanish lessons are going pretty well because I can understand most of what the doctor I´m partnered with says to me.

Adventure in the Sacred Valley:
Last weekend, we went to check out one of the many Incan ruins in the Sacred Valley. Near the village of Moras, we visisted the Moray. The Moray was an ancient Incan agricultural experiment. They are terraces carved out of the valley in a spiral shape. Each terrace was used to grow a different crop with its own micro-ecosystem as determined by the level of the terrace, water, and shade.

Then we visited Las Salineras (salt pools) nearby. Also carved out of the valley, these salt pool terraces take the salt water from the river (yes, saltwater river/lake/water source. same idea as the Great Salt Lake and the Dead Sea) and evaporate the water, leaving behind the salt. Hence, its name ¨Salineras¨.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving this Thursday! Shout out to my family and loved ones! We´re doing ¨Friendsgiving¨at our volunteer house. This is my 3rd Friendsgiving in a row. This time it will be an international potluck. Until next time...Ciao!

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