Vaccine campaign to Rio Tambor for three days
We pull up to Santa Elena to be greeted by a dozen kids with protruding bellies, thin dry hair, and limbs as skinny as sticks. It's status quo to puke up or poop out ascaris (roundworms between 2-6 inches long usually). Why so much malnutrition? Access to food? Access to clean water and parasites from river water? Parents drink too much masato to give the kids the attention they need? Domestic Violence? Furthest from Santa Clotilde and lack of access to medicine/resources?
Where can we pee? - behind that tree over there.
What about #2? -behind that tree a little further over there. God's toilet-the tree stump- works just fine so long as the microbugs on the grass don't jump too high. The kiddos here were gorditos, healthy and happy and hanging off mammas boobs. Why just a short distance away, with what I imagine to be similar land and resources, do we have a whole population of healthy kids? Is it the community leadership, the wise local health promoter, less masato or domestic violence? More agriculture and animal husbandry? Better birth control methods? Lucio gave a charla on Dengue "Bone Break" fever
Allison and Laura the Canadian residents, Fernando the technico de enfermeria, Elmer the technico student, Hernan the mechanic, Elsa the cook, and myself got ready for bed. We found the biggest house in town and invited ourselves to stay there. We set up our sheets and small mattress under our mosquito nets. As everyone slurped down their chicken soup (which I'm allergic to), I picked apart 5 tiny fish, deep fried with whited out eyes looking back at me. They were delicious, and I've eaten enough fish here to know how to remove the meat to avoid disrupting and swallowing the bones. Dinner was served with delicious hot chocolate, just a few degrees warmer than the jungle air.
In Vista Hermosa we continued to hunt down kids who were behind on their vaccines. We found the baby we were looking for! "What is her name?" we asked the mother of this chubby 2 month old baby. She looked at us and shrugged. I don't know, what is your name she said, gazing our the two Canadian residents. Allison and Laura told her their names, and she confidently pronounced "Her name is Allison Laura." What an honor! Allison later became the namesake to a boy patient she had delivered too! Our next day and night were was spent in San Pedro. We pulled over on the side of the river and prepared to eat a meal that Elsa our cook had prepared for us. "It's Majas," she said. It smelled delicious... until Elsa handed me a plate with a hand on it. I wasn't sure what to do with it, and she encouraged me to pass it to those ready to eat outside the boat. I didn't want to pass it to Allison, fearful that she would be as disgusted as I was. As you see below, she wasn't able to eat beyond the elbow. "It was like eating my brother" with the hand so real and alive. Unfortunately after seeing the hands and head of this majas, even the smell of the meat turns my stomach.