Friday, July 1, 2011

Last Day in Piura!

I can’t believe that this month is over it has flown by so fast. It feels like yesterday that we arrived here and that we were just meeting people for the first time. I go out into the streets and villages now and see friends and maybe we have cared for. I have grown to love this country and its people. The trip wasn’t always easy, but it was a life changing opportunity and I loved it!

The last few days were consumed with eye surgery. The ability of eye is amazing, and something that I never thought of before this past week. The surgeons that came down here literally took eyes and granted people better vision if not vision in general in a matter of an hour. We saw over 80 patients in the last four days and corrected their ability to see. These surgeons literally changed lives forever. There was one 14 year old boy that had congenital cataracts and was completely blind in both eyes because of it. With congenital cataracts typically they should be removed before age 6 to give the child a better opportunity to see well. However, the surgeon’s heart went out to this boy and agreed to try to take out his cataract. The surgery went well and he came in for his post-op exam yesterday and was able to recognize shapes! It was a miracle! One of the surgeons got pig eyes for us to practice doing the surgery. And I took out my first cataract today!!! I have such an appreciation for what they do, the way they move their hands every so slightly is incredible. I could never do it.

Last night was our last mass here at the church and the electricity went out for the first part of mass. To compensate for the lack of light everyone held candles and it was beautiful. We had to say goodbye to our family and friends for the last time. It was so sad and I was crying before church even ended. We received many hugs, kisses, and thank yous. ”Our mom” made us jewelry, the men from the drug rehab center made us jewelry, and I received holy cards from several people. Our friend Stephanie drew each of us a picture and gave us a sea horse that her family preserved. Her dad thanked us for everything we had done for Stephanie and her family. And he gave us each a beautiful painting that he made, this is how he makes a living here. Everyone is so generous and wanted to express their gratitude to us even though they have such limited resources. I will miss the people and their generosity and love.

Tonight we fly into Lima and will spend the day in Miraflores tomorrow! Then Sunday it is back home to my family, American food, hot showers, good internet connection, and no more spraying my bed with bug spray every night. Although I am sad to leave I can’t wait to get home! Can’t wait to see you all soooo soon!!!! GOODBYE PERU, HELLO UNITED STATES!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Another amazing day in surgery today! Learned even more today and everything went in smoother today. We also got to see the results of our patients from yesterday and all surgeries were a success! I met a patient from last year that had a major complication with his surgery that resulted in him becoming blind. However, this patient was not upset or mad at the doctor’s for this complication. Rather he came in to thank the doctor’s for trying to fix his eye and was appreciative for what they have done for him. This would never happen in the United States, more likely this would result in some kind of lawsuit. Again I am just blown away by these people's gratitude.

In the afternoon we were able to do a few pterygium surgeries. These are external eye surgeries, but also involve doing a graft on the eye. Doing these surgeries were very exciting because Stephanie’s mother (Stephanie our dear friend from church that we took shopping) was one of our patients! I was able to assist in this surgery and all went well!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Medical Team has Arrived!

Amazing day! The medical team arrived yesterday and we began cataracts surgeries today! The surgeons that we were working with were amazing and the skill that they have is incredible. One of the surgeons that we were working with was an amazing teacher and I learned so much in just a day. I will never take for granted the ability of the eye or my ability to see ever again!

To give these people back their gift of sight was incredible. Cataracts are caused by UV damage to the lens in the eye. In the United States the lens will become cloudy or yellowish in color. The cataracts in some of these patients were so bad that they were black in color and a lot denser than the ones in the US. This makes the surgery more difficult to do. The surgery consists of making very precise incisions into the eye, removing the entire lens, and replacing it with an artificial lens.  

A very exhausting, but exciting day today! Tomorrow we will assist in more surgeries and also do post-op exams on the patients we saw today to make sure all is well one day post-op.  

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The other group of Marquette Nursing students joined us down here today. Five more students and one instructor will be here for our last week and they will be here for 4 more weeks. It was a great day for them to arrive because it was "Our Mom's"  birthday today. So after church we had a little birthday celebration for her after church, including cake and candles. The cake was a great hit with the kids, and Kiara had frosting all over her face. It was a great little birthday celebration! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Shopping Adventure

One of the best days in Peru! To start off we finished our project and did our presentation today. So it is finally done and it went extremely well! But that doesn’t even begin to compare to this evening.  We had the best evening  with the girl, Stephanie, that I talked about in an earlier post about her clothes. Two nights ago we were at church with Stephanie who now sits with us at every mass. She was telling us how she had a presentation on Friday and was suppose to wear black pants and a nice top, but was very worried about this presentation because she did not have clothes like this to wear. We wanted to go out yesterday and buy her an outfit to wear, to surprise her but we had no idea what size she was. But luckily last night at church she told us that her instructor moved her presentation until Monday. So we told her that we were going  to take her shopping today for black pants and a white shirt. She instantly said “No, no she wouldn’t let us do that.” But after we were very persistent she agreed and started crying and hugged and kissed us all. We sat with her at mass  and right after communion she started crying and I asked her what was wrong. She said ,“I am just so happy.” This brought tears to my eyes to see a young girl cry because we offered to just buy her an outfit. We take gifts so for granted, and expect presents on our birthdays and holidays. The people down here are filled with the gratitude for us taking the time to even visit them, yet buy them a gift.

We were all so excited to take her shopping and at 5:30 she met us outside the church and we set off for the center. We walked into a clothes store here, which was nice, comparable to like a Target but with just clothes. We played stylist for her and she was in the dressing room and we found her the perfect outfit that she loved for her presentation.  We also got her another pair of pants that looked so cute on her. She thanked us a thousand times in the store and hugged us multiple times. When we were walking back to the church she was smiling and saying, “I went from one pair of pants, to three pairs of pants in one day.” That really was difficult to hear, that this 17 year old was wearing the same pants everyday. Yet this is the only girl that I truly know who understands the importance of inner beauty.

Seeing the excitedment and joy on Stephanie’s day today made for one of my best days here! Stephanie is a beautiful girl inside and out and I am so blessed that she has become a part of my life here in Peru.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Another Fiesta!!

Last night there was another fiesta held for us in the one the villages. Even though we weren't thrilled about going because we had to work on our project, we had a blast dancing the night away with the children. These fiestas are so well put together, with balloons and hats. They are so fun for the kids and we enjoy them too. These people just keep giving and giving despite their deprived situation.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sorry for not posting more often this week, but our big aggregate assignment is due on Friday and every spare moment that we have is being dedicated to that right now. So I will write just a brief story that happened tonight before I need to return to work and get to bed somewhat early. This is a picture of Anne and I with Jackie, one of my favorite parish nurses sitting in the back of a pick up truck leaving home visits.

I continue to learn something new from the people here every day. I became close with a 17 year old girl that comes to mass almost daily with us. Her name is Stephanie is in her last year of secondary school (high school) at one of the parish schools. After mass I was talking with her and she gave me a picture that she drew for me at school. We continued to talk and she started crying when she was telling me a story about how a girl at school that day had made fun of her for her outfit. I felt so bad for her and I told her that I loved her outfit and that when we left I would give her some of my clothes that I brought with me. She thanked me for my offer, but said that she doesn’t need them because she has a few outfits and other people need them more than she does. She also said, “It doesn’t matter what you wear, it matters what is in the inside.”

This is said so often by people in the United States , but we don’t act this way. Back home I would never think about wearing the same outfit in the same week, yet even in the same month. Americans care so much about the outward appearance and judge people right away by their appearance. For a 17 year old girl to recognize the importance of inner beauty and truly believe that is so impressive. To open up your eyes more to this culture Erica, our Marquette family’s mom, out of the nine times I have seen in the past two weeks, eight of those times she was wearing the exact same shirt, pants, and shoes. Yet is she is so grateful for what she does have and for the things that we give to her. Both of these stories made me feel so guilty for the times that I have thought about online shopping. I wish to bring home and apply the lessons I have learned from these amazing people. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

La Playa!!

Finally we got to take a break from all our hard work in the community and got to relax at La Playa (the beach!!)! We were a little worried this morning when we left because it was very overcast and cloudy outside, but here the sun never seems to disappoint. Because after the hour drive to the beach the skies were clear blue and the sun was beaming down on us. I actually might get a little tan on this trip after all. There was a little resort at the beach that we were able to enjoy their facilities, like their pool and lounge chairs. Which was extremely nice because they recommended that we not swim in the ocean water. I was able to go for a nice run on the beach and we started a little game of soccer. Then we all reclined by the pool and went swimming for a little bit.

Clearly, we are all very hard working nurses...

For lunch we enjoyed all kinds of Peruvian foods from a local restaurant including foods like celviche, yuka, banana chips, chicken, and fish. It was all very good. I also got to enjoy my first alcoholic beverage down here today. It is called a Pisco Sour, a Peruvian specialty. It is similar to a margarita in a way, but better.

After laying out for a little longer we got back into the van and headed up the coast a little further to a harbor (pictured to the left). We preceded to get into this little wooden boat that was operated by what appeared to be the first motor that was invented. This motor needed to be cranked to be started, then it would smoke for a little bit and eventually turn on. A little nervous about what we were getting ourselves into. But it turned out to be wonderful the boat took us around the harbor and we discovered hundreds of sea lions. These sea lions, were not like the normal sea lions you see at the zoo. They were huge, like fat haha.

Could not have asked for a better day today especially with all our hard work this week at sites and then working on our project. It also felt more like a day of traveling and it was great to see different parts of this beautiful country.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Two Firsts Today!

Working at the hospice today allowed me to incorporate many new nursing skills! One patient, David, is 96 years old and is not doing to well. He can not eat and he receives his meals and pain medications through a nasogastric tube. The tube is replaced about every 10-14 days. Today was the day to change the NG tube so I got to place my first NG tube!! Everything that I learned in lab paid off and I successful got the tube into the nose  and down to the stomach. This is David in the picture to the right.

Another exciting first was that I got to change a patient's supra-pubic catheter. Which was a completely new experience for me as well! Actually, this might of been the first time that I have even a supra-pubic catheter, so to actually have the opportunity to change it was great! Then we continued the morning by doing dressing changes which is never to exciting, its actually pretty gross. The picture below is with several of the other Hospice patients after we did a group activity. They are all such sweet people, but require lots of nursing care and love.

We have our project due this next week so we have been spending much of our free time working on it. However, tomorrow we will actually to get have a break from school. Sunday afternoon we normally have off, but tomorrow is an extra special day because we get almost the whole day off and we are going to the beach!! Maybe we will actually get a little tan on this trip after all!! Sad that I won't be getting to spend Father's Day with my Daddy though. I miss him very much!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Shopping with Our Family!

This afternoon we got to take our family to the market to buy them some presents from the money that Marquette Nursing Students have raised throughout the year. They were in need of a new bed frame, mattress, sheets, and three blankets. So although it was nothing super exciting for the children we were able to buy them this. It was quite an adventure walking through the market with the three kids. Then we loaded everything into the truck and went to their home. Setting up the bed was a challenge for us, by the time us four girls got one screw in the worker that was with us had the other three already done.

Christian then gave us a tour of their home which was very clean, for being it being a mud/sand floor. This is a photo of their back yard in the back left corner is where “the bathroom” is located. The bathroom is simply a hole in the dirt, and they do not have any running water.

In this photo below all us were sitting on the new bed and all the sudden we were getting closer and closer to the ground and we were afraid that we broke the new mattress. So we all quickly stood up, but when we looked the bed was perfectly intact. What happened was the legs of the bed had sunk into the ground because it is just dirt it was resting on.

The family was extremely thankful for our gifts and it made for a great day to see our family all smile as we left!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Everyone is feeling much better today and the busy days are continuing. I spent yesterday morning in bed to recover and by the afternoon was doing much better. There is a nurse midwife that works in the parish clinic here at the church that I was able to work with for the first time. The clinic is actually a Pro-Vida Clinica (Pro-Life Clinic). It is run by Cecelia, a nurse midwife. Although it wasn’t a super busy afternoon for her we saw about 5 patients together and it was a lot of hands on work. In a way it was like OB clinical, but got to do a lot of hands on work. Cecelia said that people here really trust nurses a lot and especially trust us being from America. So they were more than willing to let me examine them with Cecelia. I love this stuff so I had a great afternoon!

Abortion is completely illegal in Peru and any form contraception is looked down upon because of the great influence of the Catholic Church in this culture. They teach Natural Family Planning to their patients and this is well accepted by the people. However, premarital sex is also looked down upon and when someone does become pregnant the parish does a lot to help those in these situations. For example, there was a 13 year old girl that became pregnant and her parents basically disowned her. The father of the child was also completely out of the picture because of the shame his family would face because of the pregnancy. Cecelia did a lot for this girl during her pregnancy and the church had recently built a shelter, Casa del Maria, for girls in this situation. This 13 year old girl lived in the shelter for her entire pregnancy and recently had her baby. Luckily this girl’s parents accepted her back into their home after the birth of her child. However, for those that don’t have a home to return to they stay in the shelter for as long as it takes them to get back on their feet.

Then today I went on home visits out in the villages. I really enjoy doing the home visits for several reasons. First, it is a very humbling experience to be welcomed in the homes of these patients and see the conditions they live in. Second, the patients are so happy you are there and truly appreciate everything that you do for them. From taking a blood pressure, to giving a bed bath, and to dropping off new medications they are filled with gratitude Third, I leave these home visits feeling like I made a difference in their health, life, and day. The first patient we saw today recently had both her leg amputated because of neuropathy from her diabetes. She was bed-bound and the daughter was unaware that she had to turn her in order to prevent pressure ulcers from forming. This resulted in the woman having a stage two pressure ulcer forming. We provided the daughter with information of how to treat this ulcer and how to prevent ulcers in the future.

This afternoon, I had the opportunity to go to Casa del Maria, the shelter for woman I just talked about above. It was such a fun afternoon; we gave the moms and young daughters’ manicures and spent time coloring and painting. The newborns slept for some of the time so the mothers were able to relax and enjoy some rest time. I painted one little girl’s nails pink and put gold sparkles on and within a minute the gold sparkles and pink nail polish were all over her neck and face. I guess a three year old doesn’t quite understand “don’t touch anything until its dry” haha.  

Pictured below: Continuing bounding by coloring and painting with watercolors.

Monday, June 13, 2011

This morning I worked in the nursing home, it is a beautiful nursing home and the patients are so kind. I got my cheeks pinched a couple of times by these sweet ladies. I assisted one woman in feeding her her lunch. After every bite that feed her she would say “mucho gracias.” Just so appreciative for everything that I would do for her.

Instead of our usual chicken, rice, and potato dinner last night we got lucky and had a salad. Unfortunately, this change of menu resulted in all four of us getting sick. All of us started our wonderful Cipro antibiotics and hopefully will have a better day tomorrow. My instructor put me on bed rest for the afternoon, I feel like a pregnant woman. However, an afternoon off with some antibiotics will hopefully let me catch up on some rest and feel better.

I haven’t had the chance to post a picture of our MU family. So here this is: Mom is Eric, Dad is Edwardo, son is Christian, daughter is Kiara, and new baby (4 months old) is named after two Marquette students from last year-Jessica Stephanie. Note the Marquette Apparel on everyone!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Believe it or not Piura has a NICU!

We got to tour a Santa Rosa Hospital today, it is a bigger hospital in Piura and the only hospital in Piura that excepts insurance. However, it is still only a level 1-level 2 hospital. Any patients that have severe health problems or complications need to be transported to a Lima hospital to receive level 3 care. Lima is an hour and a half plane ride and most people end up taking a bus because it is to expensive to fly. There was one really sad case of an infant that had many congenital disorders including down-syndromes, cardiac, and respiratory problems. The mom had taken the infant to Lima to seek some treatment, but could not afford to stay in Lima and pay for the food. So she returned to Piura receiving some treatment for the child, but not nearly to the extend that she needed. So now the child is staying in the Piura hospital receiving not enough care and either waiting to die or waiting for adequate money to return to Lima to receive the treatments. And because of the major health problems the child will need to receive treatment for the rest of her life. It seriously broke my heart to see this baby, knowing it probably had no future. It continues to amaze me at the lack of resources this country has and how they get by. American hospitals are huge when compared to Piura and have more than 10 times the patients. This being a bigger hospital has 22 beds total for their adult unit, at the hospital I work at we have 22+ beds on oncology, 40+ beds on cardiac, 22+ beds on neuro, 22+ beds on GI, 22 beds in the ICU, etc… Below is a picture of the ICU at this hospital it had two beds total.

When we were touring the surgical unit there was a C-section that was going on.  We were talking to the head nurse when someone came up behind me and handed me a mask, gown, footies, and gloves and rambled off something in Spanish that I did not understand a work of. But next thing I knew I was standing next to the neonatologist with the newborn in the assessment room. Similar to the United States they actually conduct a whole head to toe assessment and monitor the child’s respirations with respiratory equipment near by. They also give Hep B and Vitamin K right away, which I was impressed by.  The neonatologist had me come back to a separate assessment room and let me hold the infant and be a part of the assessment. For all C-sections they have a neonatologist present and he included me in everything. Seriously best thing that happened to me since I was down here! He even let me hold the precious little newborn!

After I completed the assessment with the neonatologist then we moved the new baby back to the NICU where they stay for two hours for observation before they go to the see the mother. The NICU here was nothing like back home they had one incubator and then just had a few cribs along the walls. This would not be the place for woman with high risk pregnancies to deliver, they would be much better off in a Lima hospital. After we safely delivered the baby to NICU I talked to the doctor for a little bit and we was like I could tell you want to work with babies you just have that expression and that is why I asked you to come back. Apparently even my body language sends these messages out now. My fellow MU nurses joined me back in the NICU and we took this picture below.

Then our big treat for the day was that we got to go to the supermarket and we found a little ice cream stand on the way and got ice cream. When walking around the actually city of Piura we have to have staff come with us. So it was just us four girls walking downtown with our three body guards. Our evening was spent doing yoga and working on our project that actually has a little stressed out right now. 

The Emergency Room in Piura. This is actually the adult unit where they would keep inpatients if needed. Only curtains separate the rooms, and rarely are the curtains ever pulled

Finished my teaching project! Thank you Dr. Exner for the tooth brushes they will go to good use! I taught the 3rd, 4th, and Kindergarten students at Madre de Buen Consejo.

This really hit me hard when I was walking through the villages to do a home visit.  We came across these little boys taking a shower in the street. Few houses in the area have running water and almost everyone has to keep buckets of water in their house for cooking, showering, and cleaning.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Have been having some computer and internet problems and that is why I am behind on posting on here. Also, we have been just incredibly busy and I haven't had a lot of time either. Our typical schedule is we get up and have breakfast at 8 and then move to our first clinical site from there we normally come back to the church and have lunch (unless we have been asked to have lunch somewhere which has happened a few to many times this week, because then we don't get a break) after lunch we typically have a break for about an hour or so unless we aren't eating here then no break. Then we move to our next clinical site, different from the morning. Return somewhere around 6pm...shower...go to the church at 7pm. The mass is in Spanish here, but surprisingly it goes by super fast, Padre is very entertaining and captures your attention even though I don't understand a word he is saying normally. After church we talk with parish members, including our MU family. Then finally eat dinner about 8 and by this time we are exhausted and try to write in our journals and send out a few emails but then are in bed pretty early. The days go by so fast, but we are always so tired. Luckily, this afternoon we have the afternoon off so we can get some school work done and just relax for a little bit.

Some of my clinicals have been at the hospice, nursing home, Emergency room, and doing home visits. Going to the hospice on my first day was awesome. The hospice here is for the dying, but also cares for people that are chronically ill and are unable to care for themselves and don't have family. Several of the patients had very severe pressure ulcers. Stage 4 pressure ulcers for those of you that are not nursing majors I will spare you throwing up your breakfast, and for those of you that are nurses I will let your minds wander but yes bones were present. I changed the dressing on these wounds and packed them. The patients that had these awful ulcers did not get them from the hospice the nurses here are very giving. They normally come in from home with them or got them while in the hospital. The hospital does not always provide the best quality care.

The Emergency Room was great and just such a different environment then a United States hospital. When the internet decides to start working better here I will upload a picture of what it looked like. I also got to work in the peds unit at the hospital which I obviously loved and was caring for a three month year old baby girl that was having a very difficult time breathing and though possibly had pneumonia. It was so sad. They also do not have adequate resources here and hand washing and wearing gloves is optional most of the time. I bring my own gloves and hand sanitizer and can not sanitize often enough.

Home visits are a very very humbling experience. The nurses from the parish go around to as many homes as they can and give medications, monitor hypertensive patients, and diabetic patients. Having these people welcome us into their homes just makes me appreciate my life even more. To think that anyone one of us could of been born into a country like this and live in these conditions yet somehow we are all lucky enough to be born into the homes and families that we did just makes me so grateful. Even just to be born into the United States makes me grateful, not to mention being born into the amazing family I was born into and being surrounded by the great friends I have. (Again I will try to get some other pictures up of these homes, when the connection is better)

Unfortunately, one of the other nursing students I am with from Marquette, Hailey. Injured her finger on Tuesday while working in the Emergency Room. All the clinical sites are lacking supplies and they did have the proper equipment that we have in the US to open glass ampules and Hailey cut her finger while preparing an injection. At first no one thought her cut was a big deal. But after seeing a doctor, getting xrays done, seeing a hand specialist, and getting MRI she is on her way back to the United States today to have surgery. She is hoping to return to us down here, but that is still very much in the air. Say a prayer for her that her surgery goes well and that she can return.

Wednesday night the people of a nearby village had a fiesta for us and it was so cute. They were so happy to put this fiesta on for us. At first I really did not want to go just because I was so tired and I knew we would be up late, but it was so fun. They decorated with balloons and the other supplies they had and we danced the  night away. The little kids fought over who could dance with me and who could sit on my lap. Just another way that these people are so grateful for us coming down here.

Say a prayer for the Peruvian people down here and for our Marquette nurses that we continue to stay healthy and safe. I pray for all of you back home and hope that everyone is doing well. Enjoy the warm weather. Miss you!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Internet was not working well last night here so couldn't upload photos this was a picture of our group with the men from Vida Nueva. 

Me with Kiara. Kiara is 4 years old and is part of our Marquette College of Nursing family that we adopted. She is so sweet and so full of energy.

Monday, June 6, 2011


So many things I would love to share with you all today and I don't know where to begin and don't have the time to share it all...

The first thing that comes to mind is the meeting that we had with Padre Jose today. Padre Jose is an amazing man orginally from Brookfield, WI he has done so much for the poor and has really been the master mind and hands in the buildup of the Parish and all that they do. During our meeting Padre shared a story that has been passed down with us that really touched me and makes my time in Piura feel even more important. His story went like this....

"A man was walking along a beach at low tide the morning after a large storm. Thousands of starfish had been washed-up onto the beach and left stranded.
As he walked he came across a young girl carefully picking-up the starfish one by one, and carrying them back into the sea.
“What are you doing ?” the man asked.
“I’m putting these starfish back into the sea so they don’t dry out in the sun and die”, the girl answered.
“There are thousands of starfish washed-up on this beach”, said the man, “and you’re just a young girl saving one starfish at a time. What difference does it make” ?
The girl looked at the man, then put another starfish back into the water. “It made a difference to that one”, she replied.
The man stood in thought for a while. Then he began to help the girl collect starfish and put them back into the sea."

I continue to be amazed by the people of Piura always giving all that they have even though they have nothing. For example, we went to the drug/rehab center for men today, Vida Nueva (New Life) and they told us our stories of their stuggles with addiction.We listened and received a tour of their home but before we knew it it was time to move to our next clinical site. We really did nothing except come and spend time with them and promise to come again soon. In gratitude for us coming they gave us a huge picture of Jesus to be hung  College of Nursing at Marquette that they had made.  They gave me a picture frame they made from newspaper being rolled and painted and also gave me a braclet. And on top of their gifts they asked us when we would be coming back for lunch and whated we wanted to have--if we wanted duck, their fattest rabbit, or chicken? They had nothing and still wanted to give us the best.

I also got to meet our Marquette Nursing family today that we adopted. And they were the greatest just sooo thankful for everything that we have done. It was so touching to meet them because we have heard so much about them, but to actually meet them put such a different perspective on everything. The little girl, Kiara, took incently to me and was climbing all over me not wanting to let go.

After being in Piura for only three days these people have already changed my life. If Americans could only act like these people half of the time we would be in such a better world.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Exhausted and running on no sleep from last night made for a long day today in Piura. We toured some of our clinical sites including the emergency room, nursing home, and orphanage. After seeing the emergency room I really hope nothing happens to any of us here.

The people are so friendly and loving. At the orphanage and even just after church everyone is giving hugs and kisses, and are the most genuine people in the world. I have never received kisses from so many people in one day :)

Love my family and so thankful for their loving support all the time!

Touring Lima

Started our first real in Peru by traveling throughout Lima on our own. And I think I have a new love for traveling, I loved every second of wandering through a foreign country not knowing anyone. I still might think I am a little too invincible though because I was not afraid of approaching anyone or entering any building. First to anyone that thinks I am a bad driver, you come to Lima and get in any car and you will think that I am best driver in the world. The way that these people drive is crazy! There was so much traffic, horns sounding every second, people swerving in and out of every lane, and to be honest I do not know how we did not die. 

We went to many different plazas and parques. One of the most interesting places that we went to was San Francisco church there we were able to view the catacombs of many priests. We walked through caves almost in the basement of a church and there were millions of skulls, tibias, femurs, and every other bone imaginable. It was eerie, creepy, and everything in between there, but at the same time we really cool.

Already in the first day we were determined to eat Peruvian food and went to a local restaurant for lunch. I ordered some chicken dish that was very good, but also had the opportunity to try Ceviche, a Peruvian favorite, it was actually pretty good. 

We walked around much of Lima and asked Donde es....? many times, but found our way around to many of the sites of interest. We concluded our night by going to the Parque de la Reserva where we watched the Water Circuit show. It was this beautiful park that consisted of many fountains. I posted a brief video of one of part of the show it was amazing what they were able to do with these fountains and pictures don't do it justice. It was here that we also met three people from Milwaukee that all attended UW-Madison and one lives two minutes away from me. Such a small world!!

Lima was fun and a cool place to visit for a day to experience the culture, but I could not have spent more than a few more days there with running out of things to do and way to crowded and loud for my liking.

Oh and I forgot to mention that dogs really are everywhere, there weren't a ton in down downtown Lima, but taking the taxi into Lima we saw thousands roaming the street. They better watch out I warned them about my  pepper spray!

Now we go to "sleep" in the airport (I will not sleep a minute in this loud, busy place) and then board our place to Piura at 6am and then the work begins!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Finally Here!!!

Well we just made it into Lima! Today has finally come and now that we are here it is actually real for the first time. I really haven't allowed myself time to think to much about this trip because of school and work and then exams and then back to school, and now I am just here. In a way I feel unprepared for all of this, but I can't help but be so excited for the unknown at the same time! I am excited to be in foreign country completely independent, but nervous to not be around those that love and support me daily.

Packing last night was a struggle, thank you to my bestest friend, Carrie Seibel, and my family for all of their help in that. I thought I was doing such a good job packing. However, upon arriving to the airport today I soon found out what I thought was my "successful packing job" was actually quite a failure when the suitcase I was checking in could only be 50lbs, mine was 79lbs. Luckily, the women working the desk were so nice and seeing that much of my luggage was for the people for Peru, put the extra 29lbs into bags and checked it in for free. The children of Piura will now be getting their toothpaste, toothbrushes, and toys (and I got to keep my 5.4lb container of hand sanitizer)! Thank you United!

Being on the airplane and sitting down for the first time in a long time with really nothing to do really allowed me the first chance to process this trip. Sitting there I found it so ironic that I am considering myself lucky and privileged to be leaving my familiar life of cell phones, air conditioning, and hot showers and entering a life of dirt floors, cold showers, and no relief of the 86 degree weather. The people from Peru would be viewing this in the complete opposite view point.

Getting into the airport was so exciting and seeing a different culture and city is amazing. Trying to take it all in was so overwhelming.Our hostel that we are staying at is really cute and the people are so nice. I am so glad the church recommended one for us to stay at though because there were so very interesting looking hostels that we came across on our way here. Here is a picture of the man that came to pick us up, he even had a sign for me! So cute! I am traveling with Emily and Michelle and luckily Michelle is a Spanish minor because trying to communicate with even the customs people presented a challenge with just being able to speak English, Michelle saved us many times. Hopefully, my Spanish skills will start to come back slowly because right now the language barrier is already making me nervous.

Tomorrow we have a full day of traveling in Lima and will try to get some rest tonight before we start the first real day of our adventure!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I leave in one week from today! Crazy! I can't believe it's actually here, I don't think it will feel real until I am actually down there. We learned in class today that there are lots of wild dogs down there. I am scared to death of dogs! (unless it is little Riley of course, who I will miss like crazy!) They better stay away from me....I don't know if I can bring my pepper spray out all the time.

I called my wonderful dentist today, and he is donating toothbrushes and toothpaste for me to bring for my teaching project on oral hygiene. Thank you Dr. Exner!

Better start packing!