Systems in need of repair

It’s Tuesday, mid morning, and I can hear kids playing on the road above our house. On the way to teach my class, I pass groups of kids playing marbles on the streets, chasing chickens. Why aren’t the kids in school? Their teachers are on strike. This strike has been going on for about two weeks, but we have heard of a strike a few years ago that lasted for three months. It is hard for your country to excel when you don’t have regular classes for school kids. There are many, many days off classes: for teachers’ regional soccer tournaments, for parade practice, for Student Day or Mother’s Day or any number of holidays, or, I guess, for strikes.

The line at the hospital has been especially long every day, which is unusual for the the months of what we call summer and early fall. The local doctors have been on strike since May! As we understand it, the doctors in Peru all have their own private practice and are required to work in public government hospitals part-time. If they want to demand higher pay from the government, the doctors strike, the public hospitals close down, and the poorest people have nowhere to go. Those who can afford it can go see doctors in their private clinics and hospitals, but Diospi Suyana Hospital has been inundated with patients who can only pay government hospital prices.

Please pray that God will provide for the victims of broken public systems and that He will use the leaders in Peru to change the way things are run.

Cutie!

This little girl is not dressed up to make money. This is the way her community dresses. Her mother was dressed the same way. If you go to Cuzco, you will see people dressed like this, but they are doing it for tips. They let you take a picture, then you pay them a small gratuity. This girl was not used to having her picture made, and she was in constant motion and so all my pictures are blurry. She is cute, isn’t she!

One of our patients. She wouldn't stay still, so it is a little blurry.

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Where shall we live?

Would you pray with us for God to show us just where to move next year (or before)? We found a good house above town on a paved street and we moved on it, since there is a Western-style housing shortage brought on by the influx of foreigners. We have been working with the landlords to fix up the house and make it nice for our family. It is not at all ideal since we will not have any guest bedroom or extra space, and we do have visitors. We are thinking about renting the house next door when it empties next summer, but it will not be a completely seamless blending of houses (a pretty good level change).

This past week we had a difficult negotiation with the landlords. This makes us wonder, “Should we wait and see what comes available in the next few months? What does God have planned for us?” Right now, we cannot see another good option for our family, but God knows.

Please pray for Will and I to have wisdom and peace. We will have another meeting with the landlords tomorrow. It is not fun talking about money matters with people from another culture and language, especially if you suspect they are being less than wholly honest and hoping to make a lot of money off you. I am praying that we can all understand one another and have a good working relationship or dissolve the relationship peaceably. Thanks, friends.

God at work

There is a Peruvian boy in our English speakers’ class who grew up spending several months in Curahuasi and several months in Miami, Florida every year of his life. This year his grandmom has been sick, so he and his mom stayed here in Curahuasi and enrolled him at Diospi Suyana School. Right away I could see that it was no accident that he was here in this place, at this time.  All the kids really like him (he is one of our boys’ best friends at school) and he is very bright, but more importantly, he has shown at first a spiritual curiosity, and now a spiritual hunger. His mom told me tonight that he wants to go to an after-school Bible study, that he always talks about what the Bible says, and that she sees a real change in him. Amazing! Praise God for His faithfulness to draw people unto Himself and for His mercy in letting us witness it.

Volunteerism at its Finest

It is nice to get some help around the house!  One of our sweetest housekeepers.

Little helper.

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Showing the Way

Here is a nice post from the Diospi Suyana Hospital website.  You never know when you are making a difference in someone’s life.  The article challenges us to stay faithful in all circumstances remembering that we are often serving as the hands and feet of God on this earth.  It is amazing that he has chosen to present himself to the world through us, such weak vessels.

With Sir Eldryd Parry and Lady Helen Parry in London

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Prof. Eldryd Parry and his wife Helen have devoted their entire lives to Africa.  They have given invaluable construction work for the health system of Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Ghana.  For these exemplary services the professor was knighted by the Queen.  When the medical students Martina and Klaus John visited Ghana in 1983, they met the missionary doctor in the town of Kumasi.  Without the encounter with the Parry couple, the Johns would probably have abandoned their dream to become mission doctors three decades ago.

Yesterday, Dr. John showed the old professor (84) and his wife the presentation on Diospi Suyana.  The couple was deeply touched when they heard what a great influence they had been to the John’s.  The German-Peruvian couldn’t resist reading a passage from the English book “I Have Seen God” out loud.

Ghana 1983: Medical student Martina John observing the people taking the bus.

Ghana 1983: Medical student Martina John observing the people taking the bus.

We were wondering whether to just ditch our plans to serve as missionary doctors when things suddenly took a remarkable turn. We made the acquaintance of Professor Dr. Eldryd Parry, a gaunt, rather serious physician from Wales, who proved to be the positive influence we had hoped to encounter during our internship in Ghana. Not that he dispelled our misgivings with clever reasoning or patted us reassuringly on the shoulder: he did nothing of the sort. In fact, he said very little. Still, he was the incarnation of hope in the midst of injustice. Much to the sorrow of his family in Britain, he had left behind a promising career in order to help build up the Ghanaian healthcare system. Wherever he went, he was preceded by his noble reputation. “He even shared his last slice of bread with his gardener,” some whispered. Others murmured, “He is a good example from head to toe.”

Shortly before leaving Ghana, we spent the night at his home. As we drifted off to sleep, we heard him singing softly – not radio hits, but psalms from the Bible. The man had not allowed his unanswered questions to derail or defeat him. He drew his strength from his faith in God, a steady faith that seemed unaltered by mood swings or tumultuous circumstances. Professor Parry’s life was a clear message to us, and he became one of our most significant role models….

Update: In 1983 Prof. Parry was 53 years old, the same age as the Johns today.  Yesterday morning Dr. Martina John was able to send greetings to them by email.  Through the research of a New Zealander, the Johns were able to reconnect with the legendary physician in 2012.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

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I did not see hands deformed like this very often in the U.S.  The changes are a consequence of rheumatoid arthritis.  Here I see them every week.  Rheumatoid arthritis has gone from being something I felt a little unsure treating, to something I treat without even opening a book.  Most  of the time people get better with simple medications, but there are unresponsive cases, and I often wish I had better access to some of the treatments available in the states.  But I am so glad and thankful that we can help so many with what we have.

I did not see hands deformed like this very often in the U.S. Here I see them every week. The changes are a consequence of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis has gone from being something I felt a little unsure treating, to something I treat without even glancing at a book. Most of the time people get better with simple medications, but there are unresponsive cases, and I often wish I had better access to some of the treatments available in the states. But I am so glad and thankful that we can help so many with what we have.