To all you Pacific Northwesterners and Minnesotans dealing with your first tastes of winter, I feel your pain. Seriously. While we may not be dealing with snow and ice down here in Chimbote, everyone is still all bundled up. I actually had a patient come into the clinic last week wearing a pair of fleece pants under his jeans. Today was a chilly 80 degrees Fahrenheit. And while the Peruvians may still be bundled up in their sweaters and scarves, I'm wishing it was culturally acceptable to bare my white legs and wear shorts. I fear I am in for a long summer…
If someone had told me two months ago that I would walk into a house with a dirt floor, cardboard walls and no running water and think nothing of it, I would not have believed them. But that is exactly what has started to happen. It appears that I am adjusting to life and work in Peru. My views on luxury and comfort have changed considerably since I first got here. I feel very fortunate to be living where I do and not a day goes by that I am not thankful for all my blessings. It is humbling to go into a patient’s house to bathe them only to find the family searching for a clean shirt or towel, and here I was worried about being able to live off my few t-shirts for the year. My fear is that these experiences will start to become normal and that the poverty I see will start to become acceptable and standard.
My favorite days of the week continue to be those in which I work out in Cambio Puente. This week, we went to see one of the families and have a quick visit. I should know by now that nothing is ever quick in Peru. Our visit ended up being over an hour where we were invited into their home and got to talk about their hometown and their health. The hospitality here continues to amaze me. This is the same family that could not afford the fare to get to the hospital in Chimbote for suspected appendicitis and here they were, offering us slices of watermelon. I think we could all stand to learn a little from these people. This was by far one of my favorite days in Peru to date.
I hope everyone back hope had a wonderful holiday. Thanksgiving was celebrated in style down here with way too much food, plenty of Peruvian wine and an anxiously awaited viewing of Harry Potter. I am thankful this week for the continued support of all my loved ones back home, for everyone who has pushed me to reach my goals, for clean drinking water, for a real cement floor in my house, for my roots and for the fact that I found a chicken feather in my bed, rather than the whole chicken.