Merry Christmas!

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Feliz Nochebuena from our family to yours!

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Cuzco

Headed to Cuzco tomorrow to eat without having to wash dishes with water we hauled across town from the hospital, to wash a weeks worth of laundry at a laundromat, and to take long, hot showers. I am on call for the hospital tonight, and then in the morning we leave early to get a day of rest with water! Maybe we can watch the Olympics? Are there any good events left to see on Saturday?

Instagram Update

Below is a picture of a poor boy who was burned with gasoline a  year ago and has developed a terrible keloid.  I am afraid there is not much you can do for a keloid this developed, but I will send the photo to some friends who may be able to give an opinion on surgical options.

 

The last trip we made to Cuzco I visited a mission clinic run by Americans called La Fuente.  They are focused on outreach to medical students with the hope that by introducing them to faith in Jesus Christ they can have impact for the sake of the gospel.  A Christian Peruvian physician who really gets it can make a huge difference, bigger than we can ever make as foreigners.  Pictured below is Nathan Wilson, a pediatrician working in the clinic giving instructions to one of their medical students.

 

The following is a picture of our friend from language school, Chris Raber, preaching to the church he attends in Cuzco.  He did a great job, and I love hearing stories about the work he is doing as he works at La Fuente clinic as a physical therapist and makes trips into the mountains to plant churches and encourage the isolated believers.  You probably know that in the jungles of Peru there are un-contacted tribes that have no interaction with the modern world.  In these rugged mountains there are small pueblos that have almost as little contact and have never heard the Christian message.  Please pray for people like Chris who are going out to these lonely groups.

 

Peru had a national earthquake drill.  Everyone in the country participated at the same time.  We were ready in the hospital, and gathered in the designated zones of safety.

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Earthquake evacuation drill at the hospital.

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There are lots of trout farms scattered around this part of Peru.  We visited this one outside of Cuzco.  When Sarah was very little, she wanted to be a fish saver as a profession.  That desire persisted as she encouraged the fish to save themselves as they harvested them from the little ponds.

The Valley Race

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.

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?

Can I squeeze through that gap to get in front of these slow pokes?

Missing Grammy

Since I know my mom reads this blog I thought I could throw a few pictures up!  The kids sure miss having their grammy around!

In the Plaza de Armas

In the Plaza de Armas

Outside our house in Curahuasi

Outside our house in Curahuasi

Cuzco

This is what we take people to see when we go to Cuzco.

Plaza de armas de Cuzco

Plaza de armas de Cuzco

While others buy souvenirs, we buy the essentials.  We must have Doritos!  Life is barely worth living without mexican food. 😉 If only we had access to Velveeta to make queso!

Only the barest of essentials.  We are so glad we can get some things in Cuzco on the trips we make  every 4-6 weeks.  Not only is it nice to be out of town a little bit, but we always come home with a trunk full of goodies!

Only the barest of essentials. We are so glad we can get some things in Cuzco on the trips we make every 4-6 weeks. Not only is it nice to be out of town a little bit, but we always come home with a trunk full of goodies!

A Long Trip

We have patients come from all over Peru.  Sometimes they come from so far away that is almost unbelievable.  I cannot help but wonder what we are doing that makes them willing to travel for so long.  The truth of the matter is that they have to pass several hospital to reach us.  There is a social safety net in Peru, but for some reason for many people it does not function well.  They are either mistreated or abandoned in the bureaucracy of the medical system.  Everyday I have patients who have come through a journey of many day with hopes that we will be able to cure them.  So we try to treat them with compassion and let them know that we see their worth as they are made in the image of God.  Maybe this is the difference that they are looking for?  Here is a short post from Dr. Klaus John regarding how far people come to receive medical care at the hospital from the Hospital Diospi Suyana website.  (The original is in Spanish again.)

When the endoscope becomes a long trip.

Claudia Nickel cares for a patient after her endoscopy.

Claudia Nickel cares for a patient after her endoscopy.

Why do patients come from so far away?

Wednesday Morning: Four gastroscopies are scheduled. Nurse Claudia Nickel and colleagues have made exemplary preparations. I just need to push an endoscope through the esophagus into the stomach and then write a short report of each exam.

My first patient comes from the department of Tacna. She had traveled 18 hours to the hospital, she told me. Her confidence in us makes me happy. The second case was a woman in the department of Arequipa. She had traveled for 12 hours on the road to be treated by us.

My third patient comes from Puno. His trip has probably lasted about 10 hours. And the last patient lives in the city of Cusco. The three hour trip was relatively short. Four patients from four departments in a small endoscopy room are many for a single morning. / KDJ

Come for a Visit and We will take you to Cuzco

We spent our first free weekend in Cuzco to buy some groceries and dishes, and to have a little family time. I guess if you are running errands its not really a free weekend, but it felt like one. I had been on call in the hospital 3 nights in the previous seven, so I was eager for a little break. You actually have to go through Cuzco to reach Curahuasi. You fly from Lima to Cuzco, then drive a few very curvy hours to get to our town. The difference between the two is quite extraordinary. Cuzco is a city of history with evidence of both Incan civilization and Spanish conquest. Curahuasi is somewhat like a town that time has forgotten. Cuzco has things of architectural and historical interest seemingly around every corner. There are great restaurants, great hotels, great tours, incredible ruins . . . its a lot of fun. Curahuasi is set in a beautiful valley, but I am still too nervous about food to eat in the restaurants, I don’t know what the hotels are like, and there are no tours or ruins to visit. However it is wonderful in its own way. And we are glad to call it home. The pace of life is much slower, you get to walk wherever you want to go without much fear of traffic. The kids run freely without much preoccupation on our part. The people are friendly and the climate is great. However, if you come to visit, we will definitely take you to Cuzco. Its so fun!