Christmas in Peru

A friend, Victoria, was badly injured in an accident a couple of weeks ago. Tammy wrote about it. Tammy heard that she was still here in the regional hospital, so we decided to visit her. Tammy bought a little pre-decorated Christmas tree to take to her.
When we got to the hospital we found out that she had been transported to Lima due to the severity of her injuries. We asked the nurse if there was someone in the hospital who could use a little tree, because it is sad to spend Christmas in the hospital. She took us to a small ward (6 beds) with three elderly ladies. The ward is dismal and dim, with ugly green walls and no decoration.
The one in the middle is dying of kidney failure, one has pneumonia and one has a leprous skin disease. The nurse wanted to have us give the tree to the lady dying of kidney failure, but it was too late, she is no longer mentally there. But the one with pneumonia almost jumped out of bed to get the tree. Her eyes lit up!
So we gave it to her, but said it was for the whole ward. Then we prayed. The nurse had to translate because the ladies only understand Quechua. But, they knew what was up. They teared up and the leprous one wanted me to be sure and see her arms.
What a blessed way to spend Christmas Eve!

Even paperwork can be an adventure in Peru

We are still working on getting authorization for the medical team from Beaumont Bible Church. It's interesting how in Peru this is an interesting and even adventurous thing.

This morning I went out with Dr. Alejandro Landas, the dentist who is helping me with this (he is head of the health department post by Munay Wasi and works with the NEW Munay association.)
I went to meet him at his office at 11 sharp, per his request, and had to wait for twenty minutes while he finished with a patient. When the drilling sound stopped, three VERY small nuns in large brown habits came out of his office. It seemed so much like a comedy sketch that I had to struggle a little to maintain a straight face as I set out with him to the Health Department, a complex maze of buildings, to pick up the document that certifies our doctors to work in the country.

When we got there we were informed that the document was still on its way (it's been coming for two days) and would arrive tomorrow.

Then we went to the Regional Hospital, a complex maze of blue buildings, to look for the Health Department Director for Apurimac, figuring that the mere existence of the document would be enough to allow us to plan the medical campaign. He wasn't there, but we did see dead bodies from a wreck over the weekend being loaded on a truck. I thought I was imagining the smell until I saw a group of nurses with their noses covered.

Now off to the Health Department again, but uphill this time, to look for the Director. He wasn't there, either, So Alec called him on his cell phone and found out he was at the coliseum. So off to the coliseum!

Arriving, we found nothing happening. Turns out that the balance had run out on Alec's prepaid phone, and he didn't hear WHICH coliseum. So off to the other coliseum!

This coliseum was a scene of pandemonium. It was the site of the municipal chocolatada, where the children were being given free chocolate and toys by the city. Mobs of children in their school uniforms were pounding on the closed doors, and mothers were grabbing the presents and trying to send their kids through again. Policemen were on hand to prevent this happening. We made our way through the crowd, the policemen letting Dr. Alec, a known health officer, through.
Inside we found the director, presumably on hand to watch out for injuries and have his picture taken for the paper. Also the Hospital Director. After a few minutes waiting, and watching the children come through for their presents, we met with them both. The Health Dept. thought we needed another document as well, the Hospital didn't think so, but the Health Dept had the final say. So tomorrow when we get the first document from the Colegio de Medicos we will use it to apply for a document from the Ministry of Health.

A guard let us out the back way, avoiding the crowd, and off back uphill to the dentist's office.

One item done on today's list. Next to the bank, where the ATM gobbled my card . . .

Uripa - part 2 and 2 Prayer Requests

Our conference in Uripa took a surprising turn Saturday. The first session of the morning was about how giving is more than just tithing to the church. We discussed giving your time to help others and even loaning tools! Then we took a break.

The break was cut short by a phone call that a church leader who had been on his way to the conference had been in an accident. Another call revealed that the man's wife was badly injured and on her way to the Health Department in Uripa.

A group of about 10 set out for the health department. Along the way we tried to figure out what had happened. Had they been coming by bus? By taxi? Was the whole family injured?

On arrival at the Health Department we found the 4 year old daughter of the family sitting calmly outside eating a yogurt. She told us that the whole family had been coming by motorcycle.

At first, everyone thought that all four were on one motorcycle, but it turned out that the little girl was on one with her father, and the teenage daughter had been driving the other with her mother as passenger. They came to a steep, pebbly downhill turn and the girl braked quickly because of a child who seemed ready to run into the road. The motorcycle flipped.

The mother's leg seemed to be crushed and she was in great pain. The daughter had cuts and bruises and could only cry. To make matters worse, the Health Department didn't even have x-ray or a driver for their ambulance. She needed to be taken to the hospital in Andahuaylas. An ambulance came from nearby Chincheros, but refused to take her because someone else might need the ambulance in the meantime. (You have to love this reasoning!) In the end the Health Department loaned a mattress so she could be sent in a taxi for the 2 hour trip.

The brothers from the church really put the conference teaching into action, staying and helping, giving the family money, and bringing chicken soup from the church (that was the luncheon that day). One of them drove the taxi.
And that comprised the morning and afternoon session of the conference.

The rest of the confernce went normally and we returned to Andahuaylas with gifts of a chicken, 2 bags of corn, a bag of mangos, and of course the avocadoes from the mayor!

Please pray for Victoria (the injured woman) and her family. Her kneecap was crushed and will need to be reconstructed. Right now the danger is infection and she has had several surgeries to drain the site.

Please also be in prayer for a friend of Chris. Twelve year old Alejandro was in a motorcycle accident the same weekend and yesterday needed emergency surgery on his foot. It seems that although the mother thought it was only sprained, infection had set in so badly that he was in danger of losing the foot. This family are not believers, and I had the chance to pray with the mother yesterday at the hospital. Please pray that the boy recovers well (and with two feet!) and that they come to Christ.

Thanks for your prayers!

Uripa and Chincheros

We spoke at the church last night on "Why Give?" and were very well received.
This morning we went sightseeing with Pastor Walter Ccoicca and his family and a brother named Carlos from the church. We went to nearby Chincheros, which has a warm, sunny climate. While we were there we were introduced to the alcalde of the province of Chincheros. We spoke to him about the possibility of medical mission trips. He was very interested and gave us all pins with the crest of the province and an envelope full of avocados. (Chris is demonstrating both in the picture.) Contacts like this are really important in a country where everything runs on word of mouth and "who do you know."
Tonight and tomorrow we will be continuing with the conference. Then Sunday afternoon back to Andahuaylas (and Mike will be on his way to Lima.)