When I arrived in Peru, my Spanish was so basic that it took me a week and a half to figure out my supervisor’s name in the clinic. Since, my language skills have improved so much that I was able to facilitate, transcribe, and translate interviews with Peruvian physicians and do literature searches in Spanish for my project. After countless more hours of work, I have submitted my 35 page thesis to Grand Valley State University. That, friends, is the sweet taste of victory.
I do apologize that my temporary marriage to my project prevented me from providing updates about my life, but I doubt you would have found very much entertainment in my various attempts to make desks out of pillows and books anyway.
Monday I had a very interesting experience with Santa Rosa. It was some kind of exercise promotion day, so they closed the clinic and went on a long walk to the nearby town of Saylla. I was unprepared for the sun, so they gave me a Ministry of Health hat, which I will now treasure forever. Really. We stapled signs with phrases about healthy living on our backs and ran or walked the ~5 kilometers on the main roads. See the picture below for my sign J I sincerely doubt that had any positive impact on people who saw us, but it was good for the healthcare professionals to get their exercise. Many people started running and stopped. Because I didn’t want to be first, I walked most of the time and only ran when the people in the far back caught up with me. It was a great view, there were a few pictures I saw in my head that I’d like to go back and make a reality.
This sign reads "Sports are a mirror; they smile at you if you look at them smiling. I didn't write it, but I think it's precious :)
Translation: Together Against TB. Breathe Life.
In Saylla, we stopped by the health center before eating lunch together. It was so nice! It all looked nice and clean. Everything was organized so people weren’t congregated outside or in the hallways. This looked like a place I could see myself receiving healthcare treatment. Shocking, after my experiences in Belenpampa and Santa Rosa.
For lunch, we are Chicharron, which is a super fatty, fried, finger food of Peru. Somehow I avoided it for 3 and a half months. It was great, but I am certain that it more than removed any health benefits from out walk that morning. Dr. Marco was kind enough to buy my lunch, which I really appreciated even if it was only 12 soles. I got to talk to him and a dentist for a while over lunch. I’m still figuring out exactly when to use formal and informal tenses of “you” in Spanish… There came a point when I just couldn’t stand speaking in the formal way while ripping apart meat with my bare hands.
Also, Gabby has improved! She is out of urgent care and finally has started urinating, meaning that her kidneys are starting to kick in. I don't think I have ever been so happy to hear about someone's urination, and I doubt I ever will be again.
Legitimately, not much else exciting happened last week. Yesterday at the little church I met a girl from Grand Rapids! She even went to GVSU for a year before transferring to Northern Michigan! She was the first person I have met here who actually knew my city… 3 and a half months is a long time to go without anyone understanding my cultural context.