8/4/2011 -- A good friend of mine told me several weeks ago that I should continue blogging my life, not necessarily for any of you that happen to read this, but for me. So my goal with my new start is to reflect on things that have happened, how they've changed me, and how I can apply what I've learned to the future. Feel free to follow along or whatever, I got things under control even if no one ever reads this.
First post is something like half done, expected time of arrival: 1 week.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Burning out on FIRE
I started using Peruvian style notating of the date just for the fun
of it. Kinda makes me feel like I fit in a bit better.
But hey, tomorrow is my birthday (I will probably be posting this
tomorrow so replace tomorrow with today if needed) and I'll be hitting the
big 2-0, moving outta the teen years and on to the adult years. Though who's
to say that I'll actually be an adult? Ha! Don't matter to me, I enjoy being
In celebration, I received several eggs splattered onto my head on
Tuesday, the last day I saw our whole team together. (The egg splatter thing
is a Peruvian tradition) It was followed by a nice long walk to the shower
through a large portion of Inahuaya, the village we were in. I got laughs
and snickers, but those are what make the best memories sometimes.
As to actual celebration, that's all been ruined with the doc having
the last clinic when he had it. I will say I was looking forward to having
one last hoo-rah with the team maybe getting Hanna to make some banana bread
or Elias to make some of his papaya juice, but this does strengthen the idea
of never having expectations, and for that, tomorrow is just another day in
the life of Anthony.
As to the river campaign, I'd say that for being a medical campaign,
it was a success, as to the communication involved... Well I'd have to call
it for what it was, and that was a fail.
The boat didn't leave until Tuesday night late after we expected to
leave first Sunday, and then Monday. What was funny about that is that the
Doctor flew out on Monday to avoid the long Lancha (ferry type boat for
cargo and passengers) trip (18ish hours). That right there was a slap in the
face to the rest of us, and reaffirmed what we all already believed about
You have to realize that the doctor gave us two decisions, the river
or the river. Not even kidding. And then with no respect for our return
dates, scheduled the campaign to last beyond when some of us had scheduled
to fly back to the States. Great team spirit there. So from the get go, no
one wanted to go up the river except the doctor and we went anyway.
Before we even got there though, we went through a flat tire on the
truck, and since we are in Peru, no one believes in carrying a spare, so one
of the guys had to catch a taxi back to pick up the spare sitting back at
38. I went back to 38 as well to pick up the van to expediate things. Then
we figured out that the Lancha wasn't leaving till the next day, so we went
to the clinic at 8 for the night.
The doc calls late enough that some are already in bed and others,
including myself, were getting ready for bed, and he demands that I drive
back to 38 to leave the van there and then return asap. That took me all of
2 seconds to determine that to be a stupid idea. So I suggested an
alternative: I'd drive back that night and come in the morning. The Peruvian
I talked to was stuck on what the doctor said, so he had to call the doc
back and explain to the doctor that either I was going to take the van back
and stay at 38 or I wasn't going to go. I ended up at 38 that night with
Guess what went down the next morning? The doc wanted to know why none
of the Peruvians went back to 38 to work. Logistically, it wouldn't have
worked out anyway unless the doc was willing to pay for 7 taxi fares, but it
especially would not have worked out that morning either. One of the
Peruvians actually stood up for himself and told the doctor that it was a
bad idea. Good for him.
We arrived in Inahuaya approximately 40 hours after starting our
journey on Tuesday because the lancha spent 10 hours stuck on a sand bar. We
all just slept in our hammocks, so it was no big deal for us, just took a
lot of time.
The doc put us right to work when we got there, which was expected,
but unexpectedly, he stuck to his word about us taking the Sabbath off and
we went boating and then hiking out to a hot springs. It was a good day and
I'm really glad and surprised that the doctor actually let us do it. That was
also the last day that we got to hang out as a complete team, Peruvians and
What was really nice about Inahuaya was that they really appreciated
us. They gave each of us a room in one of their hostels, they cooked for us
(We brought most of the food), and they even provided free transport from
Pucallpa to Inahuaya. It was the really nice treatment.
On Sunday it was back to work in the clinic, I pulled Pharmacy duty
that clinic because it's what I could do. Didn't have much interest in
pulling teeth or doing triage because there are others more skilled at doing
Monday night we played futbol against a team from Inahuaya. I'm not
sure who won, but it was a lotta fun! We played on a cement court about the
size of a basketball court with teams of 5 or 6, I don't quite remember. I
played arcero (goalie) and took some hits, made some saves, but most
importantly, had fun. The girls took a turn after we finished playing and
played Volley ball with a team from Inahuaya. There were some young girls
playing, like 8ish, that were playing and they were good!!! It was crazy
Monday was just another clinic day for most, but for me, I got to put
my prize IT skills to work. Didn't do much, but did have a go at getting
their satellite internet working. Turned out to be a problem with the other
end, so there was nothing I could do. Next, I had a go at getting a printer
to work, but unfortunately I was without any driver software and using an
older version of Windows, so I was once again unable to be of much help
other than to diagnose the problem. I had no prescription for them to get
I will say that having a chance at even simple problems like that,
reminded me of why I want to get an IT degree, it's what I love doing and
come on, everyone wants to be friends with an IT guy, right?
Monday night I also discussed return plans with the doctor. He was
surprised when I told him I would be unable to afford a flight back to
Pucallpa (200 soles), but after much thinking and a couple of phone calls,
he offered to pay for one ticket between we and Jonathan, we accepted at
first, but then he also told us he would not be paying back the money he
owed us for getting the tire fixed on the truck and putting gas in the
conve. That would come to cost me 150 soles and cost Jonathan 137, I
couldn't put out that much on the ticket, not since a Lancha trip would only
cost 35 soles.
What really got me about that situation is that later I found out that
the Mayor's wife was the one paying for the ticket, not the doctor, and he
was using that to his advantage. He would keep us in Inahuaya for a couple
days longer, he wouldn't owe us any more money, and he would make himself
look good in the process. This was all to be accomplished through slew of
hand tricks. That man is crazy.
So after that attempted robbery, Jonathan and I decided that were
would head out on a Lancha. Word had it that there was to be a Lancha the
next morning early, so we arose with the girls who were catching a boat to
Contamana, the nearest town with an airport because they were flying back.
We headed off to the port to wait the next Lancha, and wait we did.
By lunch, after hearing that we should expect a Lancha at any moment
for the last several hours, it was told that a lancha was coming at 6 that
evening, so we headed back into town for lunch and came back out at 3 and
waited some more. We eventually set up hammocks and fell asleep. It was
about 4 or 5 that next morning when the lancha finally did decide to show
it's massive face, and we then found ourselves en route to Pucallpa after 24
hours of waiting.
What sucked about that little bit right there, was that was when I had
to say my goodbyes to all the Peruvian workers, Cecilia, Wendy, Loren, and
Hanna. That might be the last I ever see some of them, but I'm hoping that
proves to be false.
Goodbyes are my least favorite things, next to going through major
transitions and I'm going through both even as I type. Tomorrow the first of
us are outta here, Sunday four more of us are gone, and then two weeks
later, Hanna and Loren, the last two, head out.
There are positive things about it all, I mean I am going to get to
see all my friends and family back home, and that is a great thing. I'll see
all these people again, of that I am sure, in fact it's looking like it'll
be going down the end of this summer! So I'm not too worried about the whole
I will say that I am planning on sitting down with that doctor and
having a nice chat about how I feel about what's gone down this year. I
don't plan on being a jerk about the whole thing, I just want to offer
helpful criticism. The only reason I'll be able to talk to him is because
he's abandoning the team out at Inahuaya and returning, by plane, here to
Pucallpa tomorrow. Funny guy.
But hey, things happen that I can't control, I can just express my
opinions about them. I do think that it would be therapeutic for the doctor
if he spent the 36 hours of a lancha ride to get back to Pucallpa, but he
can do what he wants.
In my search for help, I did find an intriguing passage from Ellen
White, "None should consent to be mere machines, run by another man's mind.
God has given us ability, to think and to act, and it is by acting with
carefulness, looking to Him for wisdom, that you will become capable of
bearing burdens. Stand in your God-given personality. Be no other person's
shadow. Expect that the Lord will work in and by and through you." Ministry
of Healing [498-499].
Good thoughts there. Hope you enjoy them! I sure did. I do believe
that the more one gets to know oneself, the more he/she will get to know the
creator. At least that is how it's been working for me, I just have to put
out the effort.
Will summarize all my expenses when I get back to the states!
Hope I didn't bore you too much. Stay strong my friends!