Friday, March 22, 2013

De-licing, de-worming, and the day with the devil

Let´s start with the day with the devil, shall we? A couple weekends ago my fellow volunteers and I had a field trip to el Balcon de Diablo (The devil´s balcony). We took a taxi up past the Sacsayhuaman archeological park, up in the mountains above the city of Cusco. Then we hiked further up these mountains for a mile or so. What a gorgeous hike! There were beautiful vistas overlooking the valley where Cusco sits, small farms and fields, rock formations, and the river. El balcon de diablo is a rock formation in a cave. It looks like a balcony, hence its name, looking down at the little river and the deeper mouth of the cave. We did some independent spelunking and followed the stream into the mouth of the cave. There was a bit of a waterfall that we had to climb down. I was afraid the current would sweep me away into the rocks below, so I opted out of that. Instead I had our boys catch me as semi-jumped down into their arms, avoiding the current and the waterfall. One of the perks of being small. We followed the stream into the tunnel of the cave and out the back, which was actually the front by where we had hiked in lol. It would have been nicer if it wasn´t so cold and rainy. The water and the nature around us reminded me of the greenbelt in Austin, Texas, only because I miss being able to hike to a water hole or river and spend all afternoon under the sun and in the water. Obviously, the greenbelt looks absolutely nothing like the Peruvian Andes.
View from el Balcon del Diablo

Last week we treated and taught preventative measures for lice and parasites (de-licing and de-worming) at our 3 orphanages. We spent a good amount of time treating and combing out lice at the girls´orphanages. Thinking about it makes my head itch. (Don´t worry, I don´t have lice. I had Shelby check my head after I came home from de-licing).

San Judas Girls´Orphanage

Con Dra. Mildred

De-worming: a few months ago, one of our volunteers from Australia fundraised $2000. We spent it on taking blood tests on all of our orphans. That week we had the joy of poking our orphans´ little fingers to draw their blood into tiny glass tubes. They had not had checkups or lab work done in a long time. We were checking mainly for parasites and anemia. The sad thing is, one of our girls´orphanages is a home for sexually abused girls. We had to draw a lot more of their blood from their arms because we were checking for additional labs: sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, and pregnancy tests. So sad.

So Popular 

Finally swallowed their anti-parasite pills. Looking forward to the end to
diarrhea, constant hunger, and stomach aches!

We received the lab results about a month ago and ALL of the orphans have parasites. Mainly from drinking the tap, unfiltered water, aka agua crudo. Our organization started a health initiative to teach our orphans about parasites and how to prevent them, emphasizing hand-washing after using the bathrooms and before eating, and not drinking agua crudo or eating contaminated food. Last week we gave them all medicine to treat the parasites and re-taught them parasite prevention and good hygiene. We´ve been fundraising money for this health initiative for about a month and a half. We still have a long way to go. We need to install more water filters and build more hand sanitizing stations. After giving them their medicine, it would be such a waste if these kids relapsed to poor hand hygiene and drinking habits because of a lack of resources.

If you are interested in donating to our cause. The boys orphanage and the home for sexually abused girls is called Salome. The title of our ¨go fund me¨ page is ¨Help Heal Salome¨. Here´s the website where you can donate online:

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