Some information about the Diospi Suyana Hospital from the Samaritan’s Purse website. If you are a physician interested in volunteering, you can come through Samaritan’s Purse.
Profile: Approximately 750,000 people, predominantly indigenous, live within a three hour radius of Curahuasi, Peru. Hospital Diospi Suyana offers comprehensive care to these descendants of the ancient Incas. The facility is equipped with 55 beds, four operating rooms, a five-bed intensive care unit, laboratory and radiology department (X-ray, ultrasound, and CT scan). The hospital is staffed by both Peruvian and expatriate staff.
Travel: You will fly by commercial airline into Lima, the capital city of Peru. Depending on the flight times it might be necessary to overnight in Lima. From Lima you will take a smaller flight to Cuzco. Again, depending on flight times, you might need to overnight in Cuzco. From Cuzco you will travel by ground transportation to Hospital Diospi Suyana. Ground transportation is usually in the form of a hired taxi arranged by the hospital, and normally takes two and one-half hours.
Time Difference: -1 hour Eastern Daylight Savings Time, U.S.A. Same time as Eastern Standard Time, U.S.A.
Location: The small town of Curahuasi, Peru is located in the Andes Mountains. Curahuasi is in the region of Apurimac, known as the poorhouse of Peru. Curahuasi is approximately 85 miles from Cusco, Peru.
People: The people in Curahuasi and the surrounding countryside are Quechua, but do not like to be called as such. They prefer the term “Quechua Hablante” (meaning one who speaks Quechua).
Language: Eighty percent of the local people are Quechua Hablante and their language is Quechua. Approximately 70 precent of Quechua can speak and understand Spanish at an adequate level. The hospital has some Peruvian staff who speak fluent Quechua when translation is necessary. FP, DGP, GS, IM, OBG, OPH, ORS, OTO, PD, U, must be fluent in Spanish
Religion: The area is predominantly Catholic with 10 percent being evangelicals. The area also has a lot of superstition and animism carried over from old Incan religious traditions.
Working hard with a smile!
Above is the happiest, hard-working missionary in Curahuasi. Maybe, just maybe, there may be some that work harder, but they are not happier. Allison is finishing up her first trimester teaching English to the Peruvian kids in the middle school ages at Colegio Diospi Suyana. It has been rewarding and tough. There are struggles here in education that you do not commonly have back home, but that makes the small victories even more meaningful. She is also in training to take over the bread making duties for all the Diospi Suyana missionaries. Every Tuesday you can find her at the hospital cafeteria as the sun rises, weighing her ingredients as her friend Konika works on passing the baton of bread making to the newest baker in Curahuasi. And she still teaches American history and English to the kids! She is a champ! The school starts a one week break tomorrow, and I know Curahuasi’s best teacher is ready for the rest.
Here are some photos from the hospital website. The fields around Curahuasi change colors throughout the year until they reach a color of brown around September at the end of the dry season. Then the farmers start lighting fires as a sacrifice to the earth gods and in a superstitious attempt to get rain. It is a blessing when the rain comes, because by then we will have had months without it, fields burning, and the air filled with smoke. As October moves into November, the rain cleans the air and everything starts to become green again, and the fields start their transformation of colors.
Agriculture is the main source of income in Curahuasi
The fields dominate the panorama of Curahuasi. Anise, flax seed, quinoa, corn, wheat, and potatoes are among the most important crops. But its just a matter of time until some of these areas will be covered with houses. At the edges of the city one can see this taking place in a rather wild and disorderly way. The biggest reason for this boom in construction is Hospital Diospi Suyana. Each year more families are moving to the area to be a part of the economic stimulus the hospital provides.
However, the steep slopes should remain green… or brown, depending on the season.
Peaceful fields around Curahuasi
A local online magazine published an article about our little school here in Curahuasi. Here is the first part of the article, with a picture including one of the best and brightest students in the school, front and center. At the bottom is a link to the full article which also has some pictures by our friend Ryan Morigeau.
Diospi Suyana: A miracle for Curahuasi
Diversity found in the school is exemplary of its inclusive approach (Photo: Disopi)
December 19, 2014
By Roxana Garmendia
A district in the Apurimac region, Curahuasi has become the home to an innovative school and healthcare system thanks to a program run by a German couple.
Apurimac is a region one doesn’t hear much about despite its proximity to Cusco. Tourists – Peruvians and foreigners alike- tend to visit neighboring regions like Ayacucho, Cusco or Arequipa, rather than visit the land where ‘God talks’ – ‘Apu’ for God and ‘Rimac’ for talking. Likewise, most of the international assistance, including volunteer work by enthusiastic young men and women, goes inevitably to the Cusco Region. Nothing wrong with that, but perhaps we can take a closer look at Apurimac where assistance could translate into improved livelihoods of the local population, and be very much rewarding for the soul. . . .
You can read more at Diospi Suyana: A Miracle for Curahuasi from the online magazine PeruThisWeek.
I think it was about March when we heard rumors of planned construction on the road between Cuzco and Curahuasi that was planning to take the rest of the year. This is good news! The road needs help. When it goes through the valley near the Apurimac River, it is nothing but gravel and dust. Oh no! This is bad news, because the road will only be open for 30 minutes at 9 AM, 12 PM, and 3 PM during the day. If you miss this window, you will wait three hours for the next opening. We travel to Cuzco every 6 weeks to get cash (You cannot get cash in Curahuasi. We do not have ATMs.) and to buy groceries. This trip and its convenience, or lack of it, affects us. I am traveling it even more now as we try and get our new house fixed up with conveniences like hot water and kitchens. When you travel to Cuzco, you try and get down in the Apurimac valley before, but not too long before the window you are aiming for.
The calm before the storm. We are all waiting for that road to open so we can start the race to the other side of the valley.
Then you wait for the rush to begin, because when they open the road it is like Death Race 2000 as everyone rushes to try and pass all the semi trucks and buses that invariably move much slower through the construction. Plus, if you get stuck behind one of those trucks going up the other side of the valley, you will never pass them because of how curvy the roads are. So when you see the road opening, all the drivers run to their cars like Speed Racer, hop in as quickly as they can and start passing each other on the left and the right with horns blazing. It is a macho test of bravery; one that I invariably back down from at some point as I look at my sweet unbuckled children in the rear view mirror. So I will generally find myself behind some slow semi as it traverses the worsening detours through the valley. This construction has added an hour to an already long trip. I cannot wait until they are done.
Can I squeeze through that gap to get in front of these slow pokes?