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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quechua Benefit Medical Mission 2011

Quechua Benefit

Quechua Benefit

During the first two weeks of November, Beth and I had the awesome experience of participating with the Quechua Benefit Medical Team on a campaign to provide medial services to the people of Peru. I coordinated pharmacy activities on one of the medical teams and Beth helped with the wheelchair team. There were over 40 volunteers on this trip making it the largest Quechua Benefit mission trip to date.

Based in the town of Chivay, the teams traveled daily to villages in the Colca Valley. There was also a construction team that built bunk beds at the Casa Chapi boarding school under construction. Our team traveled to three villages, most of which had populations less than 500.

One of these villages was the town of Tisco. Tisco was a 3-hour bus ride from Chivay, most of which was traveled uphill on narrow unpaved mountain roads. There were some beautiful vistas along the way. We saw several alpaca farms (estancias), some with hundreds of alpacas. We also passed a mountain lake inhabited with pink flamingos - not something I expected to see.

We finally arrived at the little town at 14,000 altitude. At this altitude, just a little exertion made us struggle to catch our breath. It was a beautiful, sunny day; commonplace for that area. I later discovered that the climate stays fairly the same year-round. Daytime highs are around 60 degrees F., but the thin air makes it seem warmer. Nighttime lows are in the 30's except in the coldest winter month of July, when it can drop to the mid-teens.

As the bus pulled into town, it looked deserted! I did not see a single person on the streets. I thought maybe we were in the wrong town or arrived on the wrong day!

Below is a slide show of our trip:
Quechua Child

Quechua Child

Pharmacy Team

Pharmacy Team

Wheelchair Team

Wheelchair Team

Beth in front of one of the dormitories at Casa Chapi

Beth in front of one of the dormitories at Casa Chapi