Our friend Ryan Morigeau has been blessed by God with an amazing artistic eye and he is always practicing taking pictures and videos. His work is really great, especially when it stars my favorite family in my favorite house, celebrating one of my favorite holidays. We are so thankful for our community here and the one back “home” who reads this blog. Blessings of gratitude to you every day.
Unexpected surprises in a store bought turkey from Cuzco. Last year we had one raised locally here in Curahuasi. It was small and tough. We decided we wanted a good steroid or hormone enhanced, cage fed turkey this year like we were used to in the US. We want more meat! Still we found some things inside tonight as we were preparing the bird that we are not used to finding back home. Still, we are very thankful to have the bird to share with all our friends. Thanksgiving at our house tomorrow! We will be thinking of everyone back home.
A quick share of a story from the hospital website on how we manage to run this hospital financially with a community of patients who cannot pay.
There are three support groups
To operate the Diospi Suyana Hospital and keep the Diospi Suyana School running requires a monthly sum of $150,000. As patients carry only a fraction of the true cost, Diospi Suyana would bleed financially after a few weeks and would be bankrupt sooner or later. The support of our work comes from three sides.
1. Our missionaries work for the school and hospital on a voluntary basis. They are supported through friends and therefore the hospital does not have to pay them a salary. However, the hospital does pay the salaries for 150 Peruvian employees.
2. Monthly or quarterly Diospi Suyana receives financial assistance from 968 friends. These donations cover the majority of our budget.
3. And 624 people have committed to pray regularly for our work, asking God’s blessings for our patients, students, and staff. We can work hard, but only God is able to miraculously make much from little and out of nowhere do something miraculous.
Here is a post from the hospital website. If you click the first video, you will hear the story of a neighbor of ours. We pick Freddy up for school every morning. He has a shy smile, and his entire family is very friendly. It is a pleasure to see their smiling faces every morning. If you wonder if I feel a little funny or if I feel emotionally conflicted picking him up in my 4 wheel drive car every morning . . . the answer is yes, but I have gotten used to it. I see the poverty every day, but the truth is that I am not always aware of it. If I really processed what I saw every day it would be overwhelming. The first picture from the article has one of our favorite students at the school in the middle background.
Students of our school
What does it mean to grow up in the Andes of Peru? What are the consequences of alcoholism and poverty? We thank director Christian Bigalke and all of his staff for the dedicated and inspiring work on behalf of the disadvantaged children of Curahuasi.
I had a patient come into the ER having been run over by a car. The family that brought him stated that he was a known drunk in a neighboring town, and they had found him on the street, run over, and so they brought him in. He looked terrible. He had a broken left lower leg that swung freely like an extra joint. He had a broken femur (upper leg) that did not swing freely but was bent like an extra knee. His forearm was broken and floppy. He had a broken pubic bone and a broken sacrum (basically a fractured pelvis), he had a broken clavicle as well as 8 broken ribs on the left side. Both lungs were collapsed. His urethra was ruptured so that he could not empty his bladder. His right ear was ripped partially off. Surprisingly he was still alive, and actually somewhat awake. We stabilized him, and during the process the older woman who had brought him in stated that they had to be honest and that they had run over him while backing up their car in the dark. The drunks in town will fall asleep in the middle of the road, and they can be hard to see in the pitch dark where there are no street lights. Especially when you are backing up. The next morning the patient was intubated with lots of medicine to maintain his blood pressure, but stable. We cannot treat this type of trauma in our hospital, and this man needed many operations to get better so the decision was made that we needed to transfer him to Cuzco. However, we had a serious concern that he would die, not during the transfer, but soon after the transfer. Patients that are this critical often do not do well in Peruvian hospitals. The patient’s family has to go buy the medicines and all the things that are needed to care for the patient. The hospital will not provide them charitably. About this time the people who brought him in admitted to us that they were actually the patient’s family. We wondered if the older woman was going to eventually come back and tell us that she was his wife. People are so concerned about the costs of medical care, about troubles with the law that they will lie to avoid issues and to avoid paying. It can make caring for patients very difficult. We did manage to transfer this patient. He died in Cuzco the day after our transfer, just as we were concerned might happen. It is a tough spot to be in. We could keep him alive, but we could not make the definitive treatment that would heal him. So we had to transfer, even though we knew that he might die for lack of care at his destination. A tough choice.
Here in Curahuasi, one way to earn a little extra cash and simultaneously serve your neighbors, is to convert the front room of your house into a store. They all sell the same things: bags of rice and sugar, pasta, sodas, water bottles, small round bread (five for thirty cents), candy, small packets of tomato sauce, mayonnaise, seasoning, and one million other things stuffed onto shelves, so much random inventory that you just have to ask for what you want because you’ll never be able to pick it out by the light of the single light bulb suspended from the ceiling. It is not an exaggeration to say that every seventh house or so has a tienda de abarrotes (grocery store– very, very loose translation) in front.
On Friday, David was talking about going to college in the US (forward-thinking lad), and he said, “I think I’ll start a little store in my dorm room. I can think of things that college kids would like to have and I’ll sell them– maybe popcorn, Coke, candy, notebooks… Then people don’t even have to go out of the dorm to get what they need.” A discussion of zoning laws ensued which blew the kids’ minds. “They can tell you how you have to use the buildings in the US?” Peter mentioned that beer might be something college kids would be really interested in. This left David with a bit of a dilemma as he balanced the need for profit to maintain his store with his concerns and fears of drunk people. Life with american kids growing up in Peru!
An American taking a picture while fixing this Quechua child’s fractured humerus with a physician from East Germany talking about the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
When David and I went out on a bike ride we opened the gate and saw half of a jawbone! We took a good look at it, and then set off for our ride. We went to the store down in town and bought a sour gum called “Bobuloo”! We like this gum because it is sweet and sour. There is a man in our town called “El Canero” which means, the flute player. He always carries a flute in his hand, wears his cap backwards, and talks to himself. He is always drunk! That is why people are scared of him. He walked by the store where David and I were. Our bikes were outside of the store. I was worried that he was going to steal our bikes and go. David was worried that he was going to come and buy Chicha, which is an alcoholic drink. The woman in the store told me and David not to be afraid of him because he won’t do anything if you act like nothing is happening, if you don’t stare at him and if you act normal. So then, once he was away, we set off again. I told David, “I sort of want to go home now.” He said that was OK and that he would go home with me. So while we were riding home, we went past the “street of the dogs”. There are so many dogs there! Peter’s enemy dog (we call the dogs we don’t like “enemy dogs”) – I didn’t think he was going to do anything, so I rode straight past him and he was very, very close to me. Suddenly I felt a tug. The mouth of a dog was pulling my favorite sweater, and it was that same dog! I looked back and saw that he thought it was a toy. He pulled and pulled until I pulled it out of his mouth. He put a hole in my sweater! After that I called for David. I started to cry. I was not hurt. I was just so scared! A guy that was sitting on his doorstep asked what was going on. David told him that I got scared, that I wasn’t hurt, that I was fine. The man understood. And then we kept on going. At the very end, as we were getting close to the house, David almost stepped on a very big bug. We thought it was a big bug, but it wasn’t just a big bug; it was two bugs. It was a bug that you sometimes see flying around the air in Curahuasi. And it was carrying a tarantula! David and I made it home safely this time. And also exhausted.