This year all of our supplies were there when we got there! This meant we were able to get going immediately to work with our 60 waiting patients.
Paul Armstrong - aka Pablo - has formalized his blog and some of his excerpts are below:
Welcome to the blog. For several years now I have been a part of a small non-profit, Dreaming and Working Together. Our founder, Hernando Garcia, is from Peru but now lives in Glastonbury, CT, and has worked for Hartford Hospital for some 30+ years.
Our journey begins tomorrow. I like to use this blog as my own little journal. Feel free to comment or share the link with others. Enjoy it with your morning cup-o-joe.
This year we have some 60 patients waiting for us; and for those of you who have shared my diatribes from previous years, this year,.... for the very first time.....the boxes are already there. This means come Monday morning we should be able to set right to work. Very exciting.
Travel days are always met with a certain amount of anxiety. Trying to wrestle timing of things personally with packing and doing what is necessary to get to the airport....just tough for anyone I imagine.
Travel to Atlanta was pretty smooth for all of us... After some snacks and time to pass, we make our way to the gate. As we are boarding they did one last check of passports. Mine, somehow did not pass mustard. (I know...it's MUSTER. I just like it the other way)... I was a no-go. They could not risk it, they said. There would be large fines if I got down there and got rejected.
It is hard to put into words the feelings and emotions that have waved through me in the last 24hrs. So much work to do. So much work that has been done. How foolish I didn't update my passport. Can't you see I am a good person trying to do a good thing...just let me go. Helpless.
Today was day 1 for the Dream Team. Still day 0 for me. I messaged a few of the team early today, that Day 1 is one of my favorite days. To me it is an authentic day in Lima. The long bus ride in. The sights of cars and traffic that seem amazing and somewhat insane. (In no actual Quinnipiac study, the #1 cause of amputation in Peru is MVA - that's motor vehicle accident to the lay person). The sight and scenery is equally appalling and amazing. Peru and Lima itself contains the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor. Such a contrast to see them nearly side by side......but I digress. Day 1 .... Upon arrival to Carrion Hospital there is such warm greetings of old friends. You know these friends. You all have them. You have toiled alongside them. They are the ones who are friends no matter how long the time has been. The ones who you can count on, who you will hear from around a holiday or a birthday...or a possible "hey...I was just thinking about you."..
Care is the birth place of worry. Some of the people I wonder and worry about the most are in Peru. Some of it is that I can not be there to continue to help them. Some of it is that they have so far to go....more and more it is rather, they have both come so far and I can see so clearly that they have much further and farther to go....more digression....
I love watching everyone's faces at the first Hospital breakfast. This is a breakfast put on by the hospital cafeteria. I honestly struggle gathering all of the words but combine single serve Valeeta slices with bread, butter and coffee that is served truly as espresso and left to you to water down. And you can't forget the corn juice called chicha. Purple almost like beets but tastes actually good. (That's right Joanne and other Polaks...I don't like beets. I do like chicha... J.
After breakfast we make our way up to the rehab dept. Since I am not there....though you think I am....I wish I could have experienced that the boxes already ARRIVED!! 60 patients waiting in the rehab gym. Some old, most are new. So many faces waiting ever so patiently for the people from the north.
For me now, it is like any strong memory. I can remember the smell of the air, the hospital, the cafeteria, the patients. It is a happy memory. People enter the room and hug every human in the room. Then work begins.
I moved forward in 2 directions today. (1) scheduled an appointment with the local passport office for tomorrow; and (2) went back to the airport to make one final plea to let me go. I was so close...
Yes, for those of you who have been following us for years, it is quite ironic that the boxes are in Peru with my friends...and I am NOT. Cross your fingers for me tomorrow.
Day 0 - I am not in Peru...yet. By the time you read this post I should be already at the hospital. As I write this I am sitting on the plane enroute.
In the end I pulled the trifecta. I have traveled to Peru by plane, train and automobile...
It's completely sad that most young Peruvians speak some English, while most Americans speak little if any Spanish. Over the years, as our team has grown, we consistently struggle to find interpreters for our ever expanding, busy team.
A few years ago, we had the pleasure of fitting Jonathan with a prosthesis. His two Peruvian friends in tow were Kelly and Flor. Unbeknownst to us Kelly and Flor were both in school for translation. For the entire week, they served as our interpreters. Perfecto. This year we reconnected with Flor and she was able to connect us to 4 more friends that are more than happy to help us with our poor Spanish.
People - people are the single thing that make life the most frustrating. They are also the single thing that make life worth living for. It is the person-to-person connections, both personally and professionally that breeds success in everything that we do. They make us and inspire us to invest in each other. I think some people call this magic. ....Today in Peru, we rely on Flor, Johanna, Diana, and Giuseppe. They express our words and our patients’ words and emotions as we strive for understanding. The proof of that understanding will partly be the future success of our patients.