Monday was the first day of summer camp. Forty-three kids loaded the bus going to camp for a week of fun. The first day was completely normal, with swimming, archery, horsebackriding, Bible studies and other camp activities. SIM's camp is located in a valley in the desert about an hour from Arequipa. It is so dry that without irrigation even cacti wouldn't grow. There are places on the drive out to camp where one can't see any plants at all. It looks like moonscape. This makes it a great environment for planning events. One doesn't have to have a contingency plan for rain. When Mary Beth and I got married, we didn't even consider what we might do if it rained. I was told that in the early 2000's the camp went almost 10 years without it raining! So we were all a bit surprised when Monday night we could hear sprinkles on the roof of our cabins! And the rain kept going off and on the rest of the week. Mary Beth and her team did a great job changing plans to keep the kids occupied. We almost canceled our mud games because everyone thought they'd be too cold to do while raining, but the rain stopped and it warmed up enough to play in the mud. When we planned the camp we thought it would be a lot of effort to prepare the mud. It clearly wasn't!
Last week was SIM Peru's Spiritual Life Conference near Lima. Our fantastic speakers were Bob and Kamrin Evans from the Bay Area in California. SIM Peru missionaries come from 9-12 different countries (depends on if you count where they were born or where their passports say they are from) so we pick English for presentations since we have new people that don't speak Spanish yet and our Swiss and German missionaries speak excellent English. But some words are new to them. During one of the talks Bob used the word 'vicarious' and was asked what it meant. It means to experience through another person's actions.
Wednesday, was the tenth edition of the Race to the Rocks, a 7.2 km race on the beach. I've reached that stage in life when my kids are beating me in about everything, including foot races. I have chosen to vicariously claim their victories as my own, as was the case in Paul's victory in the race!
Last night, I was preaching at a church for the first time. I asked for a volunteer to read a verse and one woman raised her hand but then declined when she realized that she didn't have her reading glasses, so someone else read the verse. A bit later, I asked for another volunteer to read a three-verse passage and the woman without her glasses volunteered again. She stood up, looked straight ahead and without her bible recited all three verses word-perfectly from memory! I was amazed until I realized that the guy running the projector was putting up all the verses on the screen behind me!
Today was the CONREDE track meet. It pits the doctors, lawyers, engineers, nurses, accountants, etc. against each other on the track and field. I went into the 1500m planning on winning the event since I can usually run it 10 or 15 seconds faster than last year's winning time. Unfortunately, I got an asthma attack about half way into the event and didn't even finish. How embarrassing! For the last two months I've been forced to quit really hard runs because I can't breathe. I've seen a lung doctor and even did a treadmill test with a cardiologist and it appears to be exercise-induced asthma. I guess I'll have to stick with the longer, slower runs or the really short ones (100m to 400m) that don't give the asthma time to close my bronchii. Our team coach had been encouraging me to throw the shotput at the event, so I was signed up for it. I've only thrown the shotput once before in my life at a school 'Parents Olympics', so I don't really know what I'm doing. All the other competitors signing up for the event were bigger than me (not a very common occurance in Peru). I was chatting with a team mate before the event who looked like an olympic shotputter. "I'm not very good, he said. It's all technique." I was dubious. He looked like he could throw me 10 meters and a shotput probably much further. God has a sense of humor. I won the event. I'm not convinced it was due to my great technique, as you can see below:
I make a lot more house calls in Peru than I would in the USA. I don't have set clinic hours, so I'm able to go to a patient's house if needed. I've had to hike to some places, like once when I went to see a patient with Huntington's Chorea, who couldn't walk. Today was my first 'car call'. Pastor Simón asked me if I would see a patient in Clínica Arequipa with multiple leg fractures from a car accident to see if she would qualify for financial assistance from our Medical Assistance Project. After I saw her, Pastor Simón asked if I would see another lady from his church who had been told that she had pancreatitis and sent home. "Okay. Where is she?" I asked. "In my car!" Simón said. He's a taxi driver and had brought her to see me and had her wait in his car while I saw the first patient.
Pray both patients recover.
I could post a picture of yesterday's baptismal service in a river that would almost make you think it was the Jordan. But you've seen lots of those photos. You've not seen a Fast Foog stand. Unfortunately, it was closed, so I can't tell you what fast foog tastes like. Probably tastes like chicken.
We have a cute kitten named 'Red'. When I have pediatric patients I let her come out and entertain the patients to help them not be so scared. Tonight, Red decided that my Quechua woman's braids were the funnest thing ever, so I finally had to throw her out to finish seeing the patient!
Last night we bought a queen-sized bed from some missionaries that are leaving Peru for our guest room. I set out the single bed it replaced in our front yard so we can sell it.
We had two guests come to stay with us today. One of them we've never even met before. When she arrived we pointed out the bed in the front yard and said, "Our house is full, so here's your bed!" "It's very nice," she said politely. "You're joking, right?" she asked with a bit of a worried look on her face. "Yes! We're joking!" "Oh good!" she said, relieved. Then she wanted a picture!
btw, the bed sold two days later.
Saturday, we had a work day at church to complete some of the walls with bricks. I think I prefer more natural light and open portions, especially since the weather is so comfortable all year round here. But closing things up will make it a bit quieter I suspect. A metal riser fell on the foot of one of the 'hermanos' (brothers) who was leading the masonry work. I was pretty sure it was broken so I took him to a clinic with an x-ray machine. Yup! It's broken! Can you find the fracture? The first person to correctly identify the broken bone wins! (Wins what? Notoreity.)
I'm going to cast it tomorrow if a walking boot doesn't seem adequate.
Update: Marcy Ganow was the first to correctly identify the fracture in the 2nd Metatarsal!
"Did you bring Pedro's growth chart?" I asked the parents of the smiley 10-month-old. "We don't have one. We're very careful about vaccinations." Pedro's uncle had warned me that Pedro's mother had some pseudo-religious-energy belief system, so I felt they were just the type of patient that God had called me to Peru to help. I was starting to get an idea of what he was warning me about. "Has Pedro gotten any vaccines?" "No. We don't want him to get autism or heavy metal poisoning." I explained that vaccines no longer contain mercury preservatives and that the author of the study linking autism to vaccinations years later admitted to making up his data and that there is no real connection between autism and vaccines beyond the fact that kids under 5 years old get both. I then went on to point out how my mother had polio and my dad lost his only two sisters in childhood to polio and whooping cough, completely preventable diseases rarely seen today. Lastly, I pointed out that you have to be careful what you read on the internet. Whatever stance you might have about anything, you can find someone who has a webpage defending that view. "There are even several web-pages defending that the earth is flat!" I pointed out, expecting affirming nods. No affirming nods noted. I hope they were too busy processing what I had said about vaccines to nod their heads about the earth being round.
Since I can't put patient pictures on my blog, instead we found this parking spot amusing:
They don't let tree planters get in the way of painting in parking stalls.