From a Nurse’s Perspective

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The first day of the medical campaign was in Chinchero, Peru. We rode for about one hour to the site, traveling up in elevation. The view from the bus window revealed steep hillsides and much construction. Women in hard hats and skirts worked alongside the men pushing wheelbarrows with red stones and soil.

When we reached the town plaza we were ushered into a large room that was connected to the health department. There was a quick meeting and assembling of the workstations. When we arrived there were patients already waiting.

Nurses were the third station, following registration and intake. Each of us set up on either side of the table and were open for business. Patients presented with a variety of problems, which we explored and recorded with the assistance of an interpreter, sometimes in Spanish and sometimes in Quechua. At the nurse station we collected information about problems, gave nutritional advice and recorded vital signs. Patients ranged in age from newborn to over 85 years. A challenge (aside from language) was the many layers of clothing people wear on a daily basis.

Memorable moments presented throughout the day. Wendy connected deeply with an elderly woman who lives alone, and spent extra minutes holding her hands. The woman showed signs of years of hard work. She was grateful for the time spent and attention to her needs.

Teresa greeted an elderly man in a torn jacket. She assisted him gently to a seat at the table and slowly collected the required information. She sensed that he needed a new jacket due to the cold. She turned to the volunteers manning the clothing table and requested help to find a suitable jacket. Together they located a donated blue Columbia jacket, which fit like it was made for him.

The day ended with a lunch provided by the mayor of guinea pig and the biggest kernel corn we have ever seen. It will take some time to fully process the thoughts and emotions of the day.

  • Teresa Shroyer and Wendy Sofolo

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