As usual, I will quote the text
and then comment on it.Our next location was in an old Catholic church not far from the center of Cuzco.
For some reason, on Day 8, Lynn has chosen not to relate the events of the morning and moved straight into the description of the project. Why do I have the feeling Lynn slept late, missed breakfast and the MMI hymn sing? You might ask Lynn why did they move locations when they had that nice La Fuente clinic? Well, my guess is that since the La Fuente clinic was in San Jerónimo, Cusco, Peru which is on the far east side of the city and the center of Cusco is about 6 miles to the west; the move is to get medical aid to people on the other side of Cusco. As you can see from the sign in the picture, this old Catholic church is Iglesia Evangelica Peruana (Consistorio Cusco), and compared to a lot of churches in Cusco, it’s not that old. Doing an internet search for it, I found this video on YouTube
. There were actually quite a few videos on YouTube
featuring events in the church.The courtyard was filled with waiting people who eagerly greeted us with hugs and handshakes. After carrying the supplies inside, we formed an assembly and sang the hymn that everyone seems to know: "Alabare" meaning "I shall praise". It's a pretty tune. With harmony, echoes and clapping, it always begins our day.
Another YouTube video of this song
, just in case you want to sing along with Lynn.There was plenty of space. Doctors had curtained areas upstairs, with small tables set up for examinations and another for supplies. Long benches ran alongside the outer wall for waiting patients, and at the end of the hallway were two private spaces for optometry and pediatrics.
As you may recollect from 2 days ago, optometry and pediatrics were the activities most closely located to Lynn in the La Fuente clinic.Pharmacy was downstairs in an alcove next to the main floor and patients there could wait comfortably in the pews. It reminded me of a clinic we had in Arequipa where they had arranged all the spaces for us - putting the dentists next to the confessional, which seemed fitting to me!
Arequipa is a reference to Lynn’s 2008 trip to Peru with Medical Missions International. Looking at their website list of projects coming up
, it does include Medical-Dental-Surgical for Arequipa. In 2008, fresh from her divorce from Dr. Rod Johnston, DDS, I am sure this joke is meant to indicate that a dentist should have something to confess. Without that context, I am not sure what to make of this confessional/dentistry joke. I am also not sure where the dentists are. Lynn mentioned not having to move their equipment into the Clinic a few days ago, but there is still mention of them on this trip since then.The only problem here was the stairwell. Many people were elderly and a couple were in wheelchairs, so other arrangements would have to be made. The watchword "flexibility" meant there was always a way!
Doctors coming down the stairs is my guess for "flexibility". Since Lynn is not labelling her pictures, the doctor in picture #3 appears to be Erin A. Hannagan. The doctor in picture #4 appears to be Pamela Bradford.By now, we were starting to bring some of our personal belongings to the clinics, knowing we would find the right person for the right gift. An elderly woman who had no electricity in her apartment complained of falling over things in the night. I gave her my wind-up flashlight and showed her how to use it. Another couldn't see. I had a pair of reading glasses which were well received. A dear woman, wearing the only clothes she had, accepted the gift of my burgundy and turquoise sweater and another took my flip-flops which were new, had sparkles on them and fit perfectly.
Finding the facilities are good and unable to be used a translator, Lynn has now started handing away things she happened to be carrying with her, claiming that these are gifts brought especially to be given away.Good shoes are a luxury that few can afford in this part of town. A woman whose job was to carry heavy bundles up and down the hillsides wore broken "penny loafers" which already looked to be second hand. Pam told her she had to have new shoes. She looked at us respectfully, but her expression said "How can I buy new shoes when I can't even buy food?" I asked how much a good pair of shoes would cost. "60 soles" she said.
60 Peruvian Nuevo Sol converts to $21.25 dollars USD.We gave her 60 soles and I made her promise she would buy shoes for herself. When she promised, I made her promise again.
As if that second promise is going to have any more effect than the first promise, aside from Lynn's indication that she doesn't trust the woman. Notice the use of the subjects here. I
(Lynn) asks how much the shoes cost, but we
(Lynn and Pam, or maybe just Pam) gives the money.The problem with not going straight to the store and buying the shoes with her was that she might be tempted to take the money home. Being beaten for spending money on yourself when you could have given it to an abusive husband is always a possibility. We hoped she would buy the shoes.
I would think the problem would be that she would spend it on food, since she said food was her highest priority. Instead of worrying about that, Lynn goes off on a tirade which seems to assume that poor Peruvian women must have abusive husbands (otherwise they wouldn’t be poor?). She seems to be ignoring the situation with the 50-year-old man just yesterday, where he said he abandoned his family because of his drinking problem.The day was filled and went by quickly. After we had seen our last patients, Liuba and I went into the village to look for a mochila (a backpack) and were told we would find one at the Paraiso Mall. The Paraiso was about 4 blocks from the church and was a walk I'll never forget!
I can’t find a Paraiso Mall on the Google Maps, but I did find a Turismo Paraiso S A, which is more than 4 blocks from the church, but reasonably close. I can’t expect Lynn to really know distances.Small street-side shops, windows open to the wind, offered everything from freshly butchered animal parts to layers of just-plucked chickens, their yellow feet protruding from counters and sills, piled into neat, fleshy rows. Quechua ladies in their wide layered skirts, white top hats and long, black braids walked arm in arm with their friends, gossiping and laughing behind gnarled brown hands. Children played on the sidewalks, lovers quarreled, boys peed on the walls of the buildings while cat-calling to chums who ducked into and out of the traffic.
No description is complete without pee.A warehouse receiving a delivery was open. A truck blocked half the road and men were throwing sacks of grain to others inside, oblivious of the pedestrians who waited for the right moment between flying packages to dodge past. Dogs ambled undisturbed from streets and alleyways looking for anything edible and folks hawking breads, corn and candy on sticks happily obliged. A boy with a handcart pushed a load of pumpkins. Ladies selling fresh chicha held plastic glasses out to passers by and everywhere, traffic and dust and people made this a constantly changing spectacle - and I wanted to remember everything I saw!
Looking at the picture that goes with this description, I see some street vendors hawking stuffed animal souvenirs, a Claro cellular phone place, a key shop, and a very neat-looking bricked sidewalk. Too bad Lynn didn’t get a picture of the place she talked about.Unlike the tourist shops, the Paraiso Mall catered to everyone.
So maybe this is not Turismo Paraiso.There were the usual rows of stalls and vendors, but their wares ranged from hi tech video equipment to plastic pails, beauty aids, bikes and baking. It was a social place for friends to gather and chat. Little kids seemed to be everywhere: on shoulders, in slings and in carriages. Young women held out plates of flan and rice with dark red sauce for us to sample, but the chance of something not agreeing with our North American guts held us back. It was a busy place - and less than half the clients seemed in the mood to buy!
Especially those American clients afraid to eat. Of course, flan and rice with a dark red sauce doesn’t sound very appetizing to me. I think of flan as a dessert. Lynn is now 3 paragraphs into a description about shopping.The mochila vendor was eager to do business and soon Liuba was sporting a new Nike knock-off bag with zippered pockets and space for a water bottle. A back pack is such a useful thing on these trips; you almost live out of it. Every foray away from the hotel requires you to take toilet paper, hand wipes, hand sanitizer, a sweater, fresh water and, of course - a camera. A regular purse will hardly do the trick!
Let’s not forget flashlights, reading glasses and flip-flops.Toilet paper is a commodity rarely found in the average establishment. Likewise, the toilet seat is a rare and coveted adornment, thus allowing one to be creative during private moments and mindful as well that Peruvian plumbing is finicky at best.
Lynn has this description and yet, we have not had an actual mention of the facilities in La Fuente or in Iglesia Evangelica Peruana. It’s hard to say if Lynn is speaking generically or from actual experience. We do know that this is not the case in her hotel.During the day, November weather in Cuzco is warm and comfortable, but a chill settles in before sundown and by nightfall, it's quite cold. Layering is the best way to dress and wearing the same thing every day soon becomes fashionable.
Again about the weather. You would think that a person accustomed to living in Corbeil, could stand a little coldness, especially when it isn’t that cold compared to Corbeil. I expect the real difference is that in Corbeil, Lynn probably rarely ventures outside. This website
shows the average temperatures in Cusco, which are shockingly similar all year long. November is the second warmest month of the year behind October with the average low at 6.1 °C and 43 °F.Dinner in the basement of the hotel was a ritual we all looked forward to. This evening was our "talent night". MMI (Medical Missions International) has always had a talent night.
I can’t find anything about this on-line. I can only presume that no one aside from Lynn has chosen to write about it.This is saved until such time that we have all become well acquainted and the ones prone to theatrics have been outed and pressed to perform. Some need no coaxing. I volunteered to tell a couple of stories and was waiting to do so when the Mariachi band arrived.
Lynn’s talent is story-telling? Who would have known? As for the mariachi band, my initial reaction was “mariachis in Peru?” However, it was not difficult to find yet another YouTube video,
so I stand corrected.There was a birthday to celebrate first and this was part of the surprise.
And the person who had the birthday was...? Somehow I have the feeling this is just another indication that Lynn is not bonding with the other MMI folks.The band played for a long time. Dancing began and a sing-song and more music filled the night. I had begun to lose my voice during the day and it was gone by the time La Bamba was shaking the walls for a second time. I felt cold and clammy, excused myself from the table and gratefully slipped away to my heavily blanketed bed.
By mentioning "La Bamba" for a second time, Lynn is trying to show that she was there for a long time, waiting for a chance to tell her stories. However, if someone invited (paid for) a mariachi band to show up, there doesn't seem like there was any plan on "talent night" for there to actually be a "talent night". We know from Lynn's travelogue to Thailand, she does not like these crowded and noisy situations.
"gratefully slipped away" is the giveaway that Lynn used her feeling cold and clammy as an excuse to leave what was an uncomfortable situation for her. My guess is that Lynn blames the chill in the air for her sickness, since she has once again mentioned a cold bed. As to whether Lynn was actually getting a cold, that is difficult to tell.Now, I have to tell you that being with a group of doctors and a travelling pharmacy is a very good thing. Whatever ails you can be dealt with quickly, sans appointment, and the necessary pharmaceuticals are handed to you in a bag. I had been given something to clear my head and help me sleep. It was good stuff, whatever it was, and I drifted off despite the band, the dogs and the machine shop next door. It was a perfect ending to a very interesting day, and I looked forward to what the morrow would bring.
So the perfect ending to the day consists of not being able to tell your stories, getting sick and then getting the right drugs to knock you out? That sounds like Lynn’s work on the last few years of For Better or For Worse
. Of course, knowing Lynn, we have not heard the last of this cold.