Figuring out public transportation is always a great way to get to know a new city. Chimbote’s public transit is particularly exciting. There are a number of different options for the Chimbotano. The first option, which is also the most expensive, is of course, a taxi. There is nothing altogether thrilling or different about a Peruvian taxi as compared to one in the states, other than the size. Peru’s taxis are tiny. Your second option in Chimbote is a collectivo. This is a shared taxi that runs a set route. Hop in the car, wait for three other passengers and off you go. Thirdly, you have the mototaxi. Motos come in all shapes and colors. Some of them look like parade floats driving down the street with speakers blaring, flags blowing and neon lights flashing. Finally, we have the combi. Combis are old VW vans that have been modified to fit anywhere from 17 to 22 passengers. The destination of each combi can be figured out by trying to listen to what the conductor is yelling as he hangs his head out the window of the van as they speed past. I love the public transportation here because of it’s completely unexpected efficiency. I hate the public transportation here because it is built for people 5’6” under.
This week was my first with my new schedule. I am splitting my time between three different worksites and I could not be happier. I feel that after a month of being in Chimbote, I am finally starting to do some real work. While I am continuing to work with hospice, I am now working with their inpatient care as well as working in the community. Even though the inpatient setting in hospice is very similar to long-term care in the US, there are some unique challenges. One of the biggest issues I continue to run up against, is how to provide quality care to these people with such limited resources. It means a lot of creative thinking and sometimes the realization that I can only do so much with what I have been given. On Wednesday, I was given the chance to go out to Cambio Puente for the first time. While the work for the project is still moving slowly at this point, there is so much potential. I cannot express how excited I am about this project. Just today I went to a meeting with the women of Cambio Puente. In such a machismo culture it is so great to see the power the women have in their communities. Their love for their country and city really leads them to want to better their lives and the lives of their children through systemic change rather than the escapism that is so often seen. I could go on and on about all the great things that are happening down here. Thursday was my first day at the Santa Clara clinic in our neighborhood. I walked in Thursday morning, got oriented to the clinic and was told “Ok, well you’re a nurse, right? This is where your patients will be, I’ll be over there if you need anything”. Overwhelming? Yes. Exactly what I needed? Absolutely. It was nice to have my knowledge and skills trusted even if I am still working on the language. Friday morning I was taught how to check people into the clinic. This led to lots of frustration on the part of the patients waiting in line, tons of giggling from the staff by the fact that I could not spell the names correctly and a very frazzled Cathleen by the end of the day. The learning curve is going to be steep, but at this point it is exactly what I need.
This week’s exciting new food choice? Anticuchos. Cow heart is quite possibly the best cut of beef you will ever eat. The fact that it is cooked and sold out of my neighbors house and they invited me inside to sit and chat while waiting made it that much better. Anything served with ají and sweet potatoes is ok in my book.
A big thanks goes out to those Microsofties who were brave enough to challenge Mike “Mikepedia” Daly in the Microsoft Giving Campaign 5k. Donors included were Patricia Donnellan, Long Nguyen, David Tersigni, Rodney Korn and Pradeep Narayanashetty. Pictured from left to right, Mike Daly, Long Nguyen, David Tersigni, Rodney Korn and Pradeep Narayanashetty. Congrats to Paula Mitchel for outrunning Mike! Thank you for putting your pride on the line to help support my year!
Another huge thank you this week goes out to the Crum family from St. Louise Parish whose smiles and words of encouragement make me feel like I can do anything. As well as to my wonderful Godparents, Aunt Mickey and Uncle Eric whose love and support I can feel all the way down here!