2 Search Results for "earthwatch"
- From: bluebora
I volunteered with Earthwatch their first summer in the Seychelles. We volunteers were there to assist marine biologists conduct the first biological survey of the island of Desroches. (They've since moved on to other beautiful islands in the Seychelles.) This pristine jewel was our beach. Need I say more?
- 17 hours ago
- Views: 2202
- From: tailwinds2h
Packing for our trip to Coya, Peru, commenced the weeks before with stockpiling several used and donated prosthetic components in the basement at work. Unfortunately, all those feet sure got heavy and we were only able to pack a fraction of the components that had been donated. As it was, we packed 2 bags at 50 lbs. and a 3rd at 70, leaving ONLY one checked bag for my wife, Katy, our 6 month old son Jonathan, and my personal stuff. Anyone who has traveled with a baby before will recognize that this takes great skill, maybe even a small miracle. Yes, definitely a miracle!
However, after spending hours packing, weighing, eliminating items and repacking, we were confident our bags were at the limit, albeit without many of our clothes and diapers (it looks like our first task in Cuzco will be a diaper hunt). We settled into bed around midnight anxious and excited for what the journey would hold.
Our car was packed to the max Sunday morning with a car seat/stroller, baby backpack carrier, diaper bag, small roller suitcase, 3 large suitcases, one military duffel bag, one baby, our two wonderful friends, Ted and Stacey and us. Peru or bust, indeed!
We arrived at Portland Intl Airport with 59 minutes 'til departure (due to a slight error on my part thinking our plane was leaving half an hour later than it was). The line was long, but it allowed us time to do some last minute "fine-tuning" of our baggage wt. I only got one concerned look from the lady behind us when I started pulling feet out of one bag and placing them in another. And then a miracle happened. Katy did some sweet talking with the ticket agent explaining the reason for our many bags and one being overweight. "I'll see what I can do," she replied. And with that, she reprocessed our baggage, and didn't charge us anything. Thanks God!
The next miracle happened when the gate agent re-opened the boarding door when we arrived out of breath. It was such an "Amazing Race" moment as we ran through the airport! But not amazing enough that I ever want to repeat it. Our poor seatmate when he realized that his hopes of complete solace were dashed with not only two people, but also a most adorable baby! The flight was great and Jonathan got several compliments. The flight attendants said he was a great little traveler. Indeed.
We've been hanging out with Katy's family Sunday afternoon and enjoying Kristi and Jerome's hospitality and great food! We drive off to LAX tomorrow at 3:30 AM for our long travel day. We'll try to get some sleep before now and then. Jonathan's working on it!
Well, it's 3:45am and we're off to the airport. Checkin went smoothly and we only had to pay $50 for our one 70lbs. bag. We had great luck on the plane and got our whole row to ourselves! It was even better from Miami to Lima since we got all four middle seats to sprawl out. Katy took full advantage of it and tried to sleep. Jonathan once again prooved to be an excellent little traveler and flew without any problems. We landed on time in Lima around 9:10pm. Just when we thought we would be at our hotel in quick fashion, the customs agent spied my army duffel bag and directed me to the valuation window. We then proceeded to wait for an hour to be seen. At first the customs agent wasn't even going to let me take my "used" prosthetic parts into the country, saying the ministry of health prohibited used medical equipment. After a lengthy discourse explaining the nature of our project (and $50 in taxes later) we were finally cleared. Although quite annoying, I suppose it could have been worse. We pulled in to Hotel Manhattan around 11:00 and crashed into bed.
Wednesday, August 27th
Traffic in Lima made rush hour in Seattle look like a breeze. Thankfully we were only "5 minutes" away from the airport, that is, at 11:00 at night. They were repaving the four lane highway in each direction and had 3 of the four lanes closed. The time allowed us to have a nice conversation with another fellow traveler who was going on an Earthwatch trip on a river boat in the Amazon for 3 weeks. Once again, despite leaving 2 hours early, we were rushing through the airport as we heard our names paged for the final boarding call. Nothing like a personal escort through the airport with StarPeru personnel!
The flight provided excellent views of some rugged Andean peaks before banking sharply and dropping like a rock into the Cusco airport. As soon as we got off the plane, the dry, thin air of 11,000 feet started to take its effect. We gathered our 9 checked items, yes 9. Due to the small plane size, they made us check EVERYTHING and of course charge for the extra 70 kilos.
After stocking up on huggies, we set out on our journey into the Sacred Valley toward our final destination, Coya. We stopped for pictures at sunset as we climbed the hills above Cusco. The weather was just perfect.
Qoya Guesthouse is a beautiful oasis in Coya, with gardens in front of the home and also in the backyard. There are balconies overlooking the gardens. Our host, Ulrike, upgraded our room to the largest room and it even has a jacuzzi tub, much to Katy's delight!
I unloaded all our stuff in the prosthetic lab just two houses down, and met Frida, the lady who I'll be working with. She is a kinesiologist and PT, and seems very adept at learning prosthetics. We're excited about all the patients we're going to see together.
Thursday, August 28th
So my first full day in the clinic brough only three patients. The university students in Cusco were doing protests (protesting the rapidly rising price of food) and shutting down the highway so the buses couldn't get through to the valley. I saw my first above knee amputee, a beautiful young lady who lost her right arm above the elbow due to a car accident, and a young man who lost his right hand in a farming accident.
The challenge will be making hands. They have one currently that was carved by a local artisan with great detail, but only ONE. And we have several upper extremity patients on the list. First come, first served I suppose.
Friday, August 29th
Once again the strike was going on and only a few patients were able to make it in. Unfortunately, one of these few patients who made it in was an 80 year old man who was very, very particular. He could only complain that the prosthetic foot I had for him wasn't quite his size, nor did it look real. And what, there was just going to be a tube connecting the socket to the foot. no cover! That just wouldn't do. And you expect me to pay for it as well? So the conversation went. It wasn't long before we showed him the door. I guess he preferred to continue to hop on one leg and complain, rather than walk on two.
It's sad that even here in Peru, there are some sour people that have a great sense of entitlement, and they don't hesitate to expect the best for free. On to the next patient, because there are plenty who are extremely appreciative of what the clinic has to offer and are willing to contribute their hard earned money toward the services they need. These are the patients we want to invest our time with!
Saturday, August 30th
We started out today with the goal of finding a local Adventist congregation to worship with. Our wonderful host, Ulrike, thought she knew of a church nearby, but she wasn't sure. We loaded into her car and journeyed back toward Pisac. She dropped us off in front of a wide pedestrian suspension bridge and said it was just on the other side of the river. As we crossed the bridge, the familiar Seventh-Day Adventist logo came into view, proudly displayed on the side of a beautiful white Maranatha church. We later learned that this was the first church Maranatha Volunteers built in Peru, back in 2005. The congregation enjoyed hearing that we also had built the same church just one year ago in Ecuador.
After church, we walked 15 minutes down the dirt road and crossed the river once again into the small town of Pisac. We walked up the cobblestone street toward the main plaza, and were pulled into a small little restaurant for some lunch by the insistent owner. Katy wasn't feeling well at this point, but we thought it was just from the strong sun beating down on us from our walk. We had a good lunch, but little did we know what the evening had in store. Let's just say we both became well acquainted with the toilet. Welcome to Peru! Thankfully, Jonathan survived the ordeal unscathed, downing copious amounts of milk alone.
Sunday, August 31th
After a horrible night, the morning sun was a welcome change, not to mention the improved sensation in my gut. I walked the one block to the prosthetic lab, feeling a little thinner, and certainly cleaned out.
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