Arrival to Lima: the Guesthouse
We arrived in Lima Monday Jan 23 in the late evening. Padres Jack and Moe met us at the airport, managed to squeeze all our bags into a hatchback, and brought us to the guesthouse in Santa Catalina where we enjoyed our first Peruvian meal... pizza from Papa Johns and some cerveza. Tuesday Jan 24 was a whirlwind... we went to a talk on Peru, and met many Priests from all over Latin America here for a Justice and Peace Conference. We spend our evenings at the guesthouse with patients from the Selva (Jungle) who are receiveing specialized treatment here in Lima. One young woman was torn away from her nursing baby Gabriel and her 8 year old son Kevin after her doctor discovered that she had Stage 3b cervical cancer. She is undergoing radation and brachytherapy (internal radiation), which is even more as painful than being away from her family. The good news is that her next treatment is not for 2 months, so we will travel together next week to Iquitos to reunite her with her family. Another 19 year old young man accidentally had a barbed fish hook pushed though is eye as a 12 year old. Fr. Jack managed to remove it and transfer him to Iquitos, but he was left with a severly scarred cornea near blindness in his eye. Now that he is fully grown, he is back in Lima in hopes to receive a corneal transplant to restore his vision. We have learned that he is a talented guitar player- who gently played for Rudy as a calming distraction after she returned, in pain, from her brachytherapy treatment. Javier, a 44 year old man, was diagnosed with colon cancer. They found a large tumor and multiple polyps. Almost his entire colon was removed and he is here awaiting a third surgery, but thankfully cancer-free as of now. He worries about his daughter (and other children) who spent an evening with us at the guesthouse- hoping they don't have to go through the same thing since his cancer may be hereditary. This guesthouse is an incredible blessing for those who stay here- they have each other as support through difficult times. The patients that come from the Selva are supported and looked after by Manuel who is originally form the Rio Napo region. His wife is from Lima and she worked at Centro de Salud Santa Clotilde (CSSC) during her one year clinical training to become a nurse, that is how they met. They now live a few blocks from the guest house next to her parents here in Lima. Manuel helps the patients, most whom never have been to the big city, by arranging their appointments, accompanying them to clinic and helping fill out all of their paperwork that is needed. If he weren't here, we would have no way of getting patients the higher level of care they need, as you can imagine the paperwork and beurocracy is quite tedious in Peru. Manuel is very good at what he does, in fact he worked for several years doing similar organizational work for medicinas sin frontieres (doctors without borders) in Ecuador, Columbia and Peru.