The end of our time in Madre Selva was spent by going around to the different communities for the last time, giving away gifts to friends we had made, as well as passing the torch to Project Amazonas and their volunteers to finish the clinic project. During our last week we were able to cheer on some of our friends in a local soccer game and we were guests at a one year old’s birthday party in Commandancia.
When we left the clinic site for the last time, we were able to look out on a huge area that we had cleared and leveled without the help of modern equipment. It was such an incredible experience to see how much we have completed and to understand how much of a help the clinic will be for the community.
The people living in the communities along the Rio Orosa do not currently have access to a health clinic. If someone were to have a serious injury they would have to take a thirty-minute boat ride to the small town of Yanashi to be seen by a doctor, or travel four hours to Iquitos where there is a hospital. These boat rides are costly and are only taken in dire need. The locals also make use of a Shaman who provides herbs and special drinks to cure ailments. The locals use a mixture of their traditional practices as well as modern medicine. They believe that this way, they are safe either way. Since locals are rarely able to travel to a doctor, once every few months a mobile clinic travels up the Amazon stopping at communities along the way. Project Amazonas organizes these trips with medical students and other volunteers. After the construction of the Santo Tomas Clinic, the local people will no longer have to rely on mobile clinics.
The construction of the Santo Tomas Clinic will allow the health promoter to keep up with the health needs of the people in the area and will provide the locals with access to a health center anytime they are in need. The projected completion of the clinic is February 2013 and although the clinic construction began with our Nourish International group, the project will be completed with the assistance of other Project Amazonas volunteers. In Peru, for a doctor to work in a government run hospital, they are required to serve a year in a rural health clinic. After the clinic is completed, these doctors will staff the clinic and we are hoping that eventually one will want to live there permanently. The grounds of the clinic are large enough for a house to be built on the premises. The director of Project Amazonas, Devon Graham, has recently been looking into having a cell tower built near the clinic that will allow the doctor to access a database where medical data and records will be stored. This will also allow the doctor to use the Internet to connect with doctors in Iquitos and around the world. This will be extremely beneficial because it will allow any concerns of the rural doctor to be solved quickly and effectively.
The four-hour boat ride back to Iquitos was bittersweet. We were all so excited to go back to civilization and to see our families and friends but we also knew that we would miss our new friends we had met in the Amazon. A very special moment for me was prior to leaving Madre Selva, a young girl came up to me and told me that I had become one of her best friends. I was so sad to have to say goodbye but I am so happy I had the chance to meet the people around Madre Selva and learn about their life and their culture.
Before this summer, I never would have seen myself doing a project like this. I love to help others but I didn’t believe I was capable of putting myself in such a different element. Even though we obviously could not have completed the entire clinic in seven weeks, I believe our efforts with this project not only created a positive change for the community, but also in all of us.
Notice: Use of undefined constant AKISMET__PLUGIN_URL - assumed 'AKISMET__PLUGIN_URL' in /home3/nourish1/public_html/home/wp-content/plugins/akismet/class.akismet.php on line 845