Monday, March 24, 2014

Hospital, Princeton Volunteers, Joaquin's Adventure

First of all, I apologize that my posts are becoming slightly more spread out.  I don’t want to list facts that you won’t find interesting, and honestly after sitting at my computer for hours working on my project it becomes harder to motivate myself to write more about my day.

We’ll start with Friday.  I first went to Belenpampa to interview doctor Yermoli, but he unfortunately never came.  I really want to hear his thoughts and at least one more doctor from Belenpampa.  Probably Dr. Jesus.  So I’ll be back, and I’ll get it eventually J  I can understand why it is difficult to obtain information in this type of research field, the human component adds a lot of variability.  The radioactive mice I am accustomed to playing with always show up on time for their appointments. 

Next was the regional hospital.  I went with Mila (ProPeru director) to see if I could be a volunteer there, because I knew it would be the most traumatic and excellent healthcare experience of my time in Peru.  We got quite the run around attempting to find the correct person to talk to.  I had nothing to do so I was in no hurry, and it was great talking to her.  She is quite knowledgeable about Cuzco, and also knows many doctors who I can do interviews with.  My project will advance far next week as she introduces me to people she knows.  Private doctors, more public doctors, etc.  I think Rodolfo is going to try introducing me to his friend who does (or did) work in the administration of the Ministerio de la Salud.  Apparently he was involved in acquiring and organizing facts from all the networks of the Cuzco region. That would be some great input.  Unfortunately our chase ended with us finding out that internationals aren’t allowed to work in the hospital.  This is too bad, but I’m feeling better after finding out a little more about Mila’s connections.

When I got back to ProWorld I was planning to just go home, but about 10 people I’d never seen before showed up all of a sudden.  This group from Princeton had spent their week in Urubamba, so they only had a few hours to explore the city of Cuzco.  I didn’t have a set schedule, so I decided to help show them around the city instead of sitting around working on my project.  Five of us got into a taxi designed for no more than 4, and almost immediately a police officer pulled us over.  At first I was surprised that they would be pulling us over because I have seen people do far worse on the roads (recall the picture of the people in the pickup bed from a few months ago), but then it became obvious that this was a routine check and nothing more.  How strange that the officer didn’t even care about all the people crammed in the back.  We arrived in the plaza, then went to Mercado San Pedro.  Good times.  The group split for lunch, with almost everyone coming with me to a Peruvian restaurant while the other 2 went to Paddy’s Pub.  It was a great hanging out with this group, I haven’t been around that many Americans at one time in….  I don’t know.  A while.  One guy named Mark and I especially hit it off.  He started college as a physics major then changed to computer science, so we had a lot in common.  I got to describe my previous research to him, which probably made me happier than it should have.  It had been so long since my last technical physics conversation that I forgot some words, but it was still wonderful to get a taste of the technicality I’m accustomed to.  The meal was a bit rushed because it took so long to get of the kitchen, but everything ended up being just great.  This place was another nice find for 12 soles.

When I got home, I realized my translator wasn’t in my pocket anymore.  I looked all around ProWorld, my house, and even went back to the restaurant but with no luck.  The translator is gone L  It’s a good thing Meghan brought one for Joaquin!  It is necessary for my project and I would have felt horrible if I didn’t have one to sell them; they asked me very early during my trip for that. 

The rest of Friday was spent transcribing Dr. Jorge’s interview.  I get excited working with that data because I can see how useful it will be to my project and to my understanding of healthcare in this country.  That said, I think it took me at least 6 hours to transcribe a 17 minute interview.  Some kind of language barrier is still present. 

Saturday was a good day.  More project stuff, then I went for my longest run of my time in Peru, approximately 8 miles.  It was a hot day, and I struggled to make it home without stopping.  But I made it, and I was proud of that achievement.  The rest of the day was heavily influenced by my lack of energy…  I did still make it to La Vid in the evening, but that was it. 

Today I woke up early to, as you guessed, work on my project.  I finalized the transcription, then looked for translation software.  Free software doesn’t tend to do a great job translating passages because they tend to only translate individual words, which doesn’t end up working well at all.  So I decided I would just translate everything myself, which will be another significant task.  Oh boy J

Lunch was notable today.  We had Ceviche, the traditional Peruvian fish dish.  It is very easy to prepare.  Basically, cut up a fish, put a ton of lime and a moderate amount of cilantro on it, then make the fancy looking sides; sweet potatoes, lettuce, and corn.  The bones of the fish are used to make a soup that is served before the main dish.  Here are a few pictures of the dishes I got to experience today J 

Soup made with Fish bones!  The fried corn is basically our equivalent of crackers in soup.

Ceviche :)  Left to right, corn, sweet potato, fish mixed with onion, and another form of potato.  I usually don't like fish, but I do like this dish.


The only other events of the day were talking to Jason, which was fantastic except for the internet, and going for a run.  I decided to do more interval training because I need to work on my speed.  Because I was staying close to home, I let Joaquin come.  Not sure that was a great idea.  For my warm-up, he took off way ahead and eventually realized that he was going excessively fast.  It was dark out by this point, and I didn’t want him to be off alone.  I had told him my plans as we were starting, but he didn’t listen.  You will see that is a common theme in this story.  Once I stopped him so I could stretch, I explained our route to him.  I gave him a head-start so that I would be able to see him.  He did not listen to a single word I’d said and headed the wrong direction down the next street.  I didn’t see him do it, so I had to stop running and find him.  Eventually he realized his error and came down the right direction.  One lap later, as I was starting my fast interval, he seemed tired and I told him to go home if he didn’t have another one in him.  He proceeded to get on his bike to follow me.  I told him several times to follow me since he still seemed unsure of where to go.  He was right behind me.  Then I looked back and he wasn’t behind me at all.  Moderately frustrated at this point, I backtracked to find him.  No Joaquin.  I figured he must have gone home after all, but I wanted to check before I continued on with my run.  I arrived at home to see Sandro and Tania sitting in front of the tv.  No Joaquin.  I asked them if he was here, and immediately they shot up and Sandro came with me to look for him.  We looked all over the place I last saw him, but he was nowhere to be found.  Tracked further down the street, still no Joaquin.  If I had become the volunteer who lost Tania and Sandro’s son, I don’t know what I would have done with myself.  Fortunately, Tania called a few minutes later and said he was safe at home.  Fears relieved, I was upset that Joaquin had done such a poor job of following directions.  Upon arrival back home Sandro explained to him the dangers of being a little kid out in town, abduction being the main one.  Apparently Joaquin decided to take a shortcut without telling me, and he was confused why I hadn’t come out the other side of the route.  8 year old logic, I’ll tell ya.  This isn’t an event that we’ll forget easily because of the sheer horror of having a kid out at night alone even for 10 minutes.  I don’t know if his parents will let him run with me again, but he certainly has some trust to build with me before I let him come again.  I will probably only allow him to come with me on days when I’m really hurting, so I go a short distance at a slow pace.  That way I can always keep a close eye on him to make sure he doesn’t do anything irrational.


The night finished out on a lighter note with Gabriella being adorable, singing a song from one of her favorite TV shows J


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