Last week, along with the Bristol team, we spent 4 afternoons visiting patients in a local hospital, as well as Neil spending a morning in the primary school in Huambutio, which is the area where Scott and Anjanette hope to open a clinic. These were great experiences, and we are hopeful that in the future we can continue with this work.
We spent some time each afternoon with patients in the burns unit and trauma unit, including a number of children. I (Amanda) was very excited to discover that the game Uno appears to be cross-cultural, although shouting 'uno' loses some impact when playing in Spanish! We were also involved in circus skills, crafts and lots of singing. 2 girls with a bone infection tried to teach me some Quechuan, and fell about laughing at my pronounciation. It seems that I inadvertently said a bad word, which they found hilarious, and continued to laugh 2 days later when I saw them again. The Bristol team fared much better, and were able to sing 'Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes' in Quechuan! (Quechua is another language spoken in Peru - lots of people speak this in the Andes).
The hospital is very different from what we expect in the UK. Many of the patients live in the country and it is hard for their families to visit. It is hard to imagine what it must be like for a young child from the country, who isn't used to city life to be in a hospital away from their family. There are lots of serious faces and it was wonderful to see the smiles - even if it was as a result of my bad language. One man even filmed us singing on his mobile phone - hope that doesn't get on to You Tube. There were a few very sad stories, although it was also wonderful to see and hear of communities supporting families in need, despite their own need.
At this point, even with our limited Spanish, we were able to communicate and I hope bring some joy. I pray that these opportunities increase in the future.
The school visit was a great experience although it was hard. When we arrived, the children were divided into three groups of about 50 children! The group which I was working with was supposed to be learning some English. However, with my limited Spanish (I was the translator in our team!), we found it a little difficult. This was compounded by the fact that we were there for nearly an hour and a half. Having said this, I really enjoyed it, and was able to make myself understood, at least some of the time. I look forward to being able to go back and see the children again.