Saturday, August 30, 2003

It's the next day and just beautiful! Ramon had to leave early for work and I got up and went on a walk/run up to Sacsayhuaman, the Inca Ruin above Cusco. This is my second walk/run but I've been walking everyday. So all in all I'm getting used to the altitude. But, I still can't run all the way up to the ruin! It's much different to run here than Eugene. Half the damn town there runs around in skimpy running clothes but around here everybody dresses more warmly and there are not many runners. So when I show up looking like I belong in Eugene, I get lots of looks and whistles! And a guy even stopped me and asked how old I was. ha!

It was just beautiful up there though. Once you get out of the town it's not unusual to see Andean women with their children and llamas just resting in the grass. And today from up above, there was a gathering of some sort at the ruin and people all lined up in uniform with band music. I have no idea what that was about! After running maybe 4 minutes at a time, and walking 6, and so forth, I got to run all the way down and then go to a little cafe and have fresh mixed juice and a pastry! umm!

So I'm off top the mercado with my camera and some cash!

Friday, August 29, 2003

All is going well 16 days into my arriving here in Cusco. Albeit I'm a little bored! With trying to hook up with everyone, it's has been difficult to take off anywhere very far from Cusco. And while I love the city, I'm not one much for the tourist scene. But, as to the work scene, a couple days ago I got to meet Padre Rene', a 28 year old priest who has a small parish in a town called Huallyabamba. He's the one who has been helping to find me another clinic job.

(I should mention here, with my level of spanish, I get to 'almost' understand everything. And, interestingly enough when I think about how often I have gone on and on about something in order to be understood, was it that damn important?! Especially now as I wander around in the somewhat pleasant state of befuddlement. For example, I did not realize he was not paid to be the priest, and that he also works in a nearby larger town Urubamba, I think within the school evaluating the teachers. And so, he lives in Huallyabamba. And, I thought I was working in Huallyabamba, but as it turns out that will be where I live also when working there!

So, because of this 'understanding' issue, I arrived to his family's home to discover that I did not understand after almuerzo with his family we would be leaving for Urubamba and spending the night in Huallyabamba. (The reason for this particular misunderstanding was that it happened on the phone. There is even more misunderstanding for me when arrangements are made by phone!) And another surprise was to find out the clinic is actually in Urubamba and as I said above, where I would be living was in Huallyabamba. So, I had it all wrong!

Padre Rene was as sweet as I imagined and I was surprised to find him so young. It's funny how you picture people. He explained there is a parochial sponsored clinic for the poor in Urubamba. Visits can cost up to 2 soles and medicines are very cheap. But if people can't afford it they don't have to pay anything. Now there is no doctor but he believes one is starting on in September. (I hope!) So the clinic is only open sporadically. He showed me photos of his becoming a priest at the big cathedral in the Plaza de Armas. His mother fixed us almuerzo. And as usual, my spanish always lightens up any meeting!

We left for Urubamba by bus. He snoozed all the way! And, I love Urubamba! I got to spend some time there when I studied spanish my last visit. So we arrived first to the school and then went to the clinic. But, another surprise, immediately on arriving I was asked to give injections for 2 men who have leischmanis. (I am spelling it wrong!) It's a parasite they got from a bug bite that causes cutaneous ulcerations. So these poor men have to have shots for the next 1-2 months IV. And the lesions are not too pretty either. So as I mentioned I did not come prepared! No books, no supplies and no camera. And then we come to the Laurie/ misunderstanding issue! I thought the sister said the injection was to be in the deltoid and then she handed me 3 ampules of mediclne totaling 15 ml and I came unglued! ie., no es posible aca, indicating my deltoid! I then interrogated the sister in my best spanish about the medicine, (I have NO experience with this particular problem; ie., is there any programming that can fix this?!!), if there was a doctors' order, how much they each weighed, etc. We had since resolved the issue of IM vs IV ! Well I got the prescription but no other information but a smile and the package insert, again all in spanish! eeeks. Luckily much was familiar and made sense. So, I agreed. Nothing like jumping right in. We went to meet the men in the clinic. It is actually very well stocked compared to the one in Sipascancha Alta. But, again all the medicines have spanish names! And the records they keep are all in spanish including the names of the diagnosis. (NOTE TO SELF: TAKE A MEDICAL SPANISH CLASS!!) Anyway I computed and recomputed the dose, drew it up (15 ml), asked them if they had had any problems with it and gave it antecubital. Some supplies we're used to were not there, like gloves, or extra needles, or many 4x4's. Then it was time to clean the wounds! Thankfully they knew what had been used before with the docor in Cusco! So what a trip! But we did it! And in spite of my not knowing where everything was, the men just were so trusting and grateful. It really reminded me of all the basics.

I am hoping there is indeed a doctor starting there in September! I explained to them I wanted only to be careful and that this nurse (ie., all!) NEVER aim to harm and if they don't know something ot is best to not do it, in the aim to not harm! So, they were sweet and assured me I would start out slowly and always have someone around to help me with the spanish and the Quechua. And I am thinking how perfect it would be to work with a doctor in Urubamba and learn from them and then take a bit more experience to Sipascancha. (And , of course medical spanish will help also.)

So then we went by combi (a sort of van) to Huallyabamba which is about 10 Km away from Urubamba and flat. Padre Rene' and I talked about bicycles and he will find me one for the commute! By the time we arrived to Huallyabamba, thev van was just crammed with people! We arrived first to the church. Part of the building is a beautiful old church-no pictures yet- and attached to it is another building in process of being built. He's very proud of it! (When I asked him if it would be possible to live in Urubamba instead of Huallyabamba at the church, he appeared very hurt! So , I dropped it and will just live in the church!) He showed me what will be my room, provided they don't run out of money! A rose garden is in front of it! It's like a hacienda. (NOTE: Who would ever think there would be the day that I, of all people would live in a church?!) So we had a small cena (dinner) of cafe' and pan (coffee and bread) with some of the local kids. And then we went to a neighbor who I would stay with for the night. Her name was Lucy and what a doll! She's a teacher in a preschool in Urubamba. I met her family, 3 children with one she introduced as a 'mi hija muy especial', (my special child), her daughter with Downs Syndrome and 2 others, a brother, her husband, and her uncle. They all made me feel right at home, right down to clean sheets, another hung up over the window to keep out the light, and a pot to pee in so I wouldn't have to negotiate getting to the bathroom during the night. I slept OK but truthfully did nothing but think about what how different my life would be for the next year! She let me know that if the room at the church isn't finished for me, I can always stay with her. And, the next morning it was time for 2 more injections and the ride home. We decided I would return the 17th of September! I'll work all day on Wednesday because the town is busier with the mercado, and half days on Thursday and Friday, every other week. And, I'll have a bike to get back and forth!

So it's set up! Two clinics with great people to help. Lots of kids, too. And living with them! I set up my medical spanish class to start next week at Rossana's school and to follow that will be Quechua. Next week I'll do some shopping for supplies for the clinics and my rooms. And I will try to remember to ask Rosanna if I can use her address so folks can send things if they like.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Here is a beautiful photo of a young girl and her sister. When I arrived she was very shy and did everything to avoid my glance. The next is of the mothers who prepared the almuerzo (lunch) and finally the mother of the baby and young girl now pictured with the child. Incredible, huh?

The first shot here is of the primary school. It is really colorful! When we arrived, the teacher had taken the kids for a walk and they were scaling the side of the mountain above Sipascancha. It seems from what I saw they're taught much about their indigenous culture with the days lesson about Pachamama, displays about medicinal herbs and foods grown in the mountains, namely many many varieties of potatoes. The next couple of shots are back where they are eating or waiting to eat.

These photos are of the kids outside eating. There were so many! Some were very shy, but once I showed them their pictures on the digital screen, they warmed up to the idea. They all get in lines and a couple of the kids hand out the bowls. The the mothers bring the pots outside and one by one the kids get their bowl filled. After eating they wash them, either by climbing all over the big sink to reach it or using another spiquet nearby.

Here is a shot of the mothers washing the vegetables in the big sink outside the cocina (kitchen). The colors of their clothes are incredible. The next shot was of a little baby in the corner. His mother was one of the women cooking. He doesn't have a diaper and right before this shot he peed like only little boys can, like a spray covering a few feet!

These pictures are from Sipascancha Alta. I am pictured here with Sister Nelly, in one of the greenhouses built 2 years ago. It was funded apparently by some friends in Spain of Parela, one of the teachers, and the church. They have vegetables year round now and are very proud of it. I saw types of squash, potatoes (of course), broccolli, different types of greens, corn, beans, garlic, etc. Pictured in the center is a view of the hills that surround the small town. It is very high in altitude, nearing 14, 000 ft. (After returning back to Cusco, I had quite a headache and am hoping when I work there I get used to it, as I will be there 3 days at a time every other week.) The third picture is of one of the mothers stirring one of the two pots of soup that will feed the 200 kids and workers in the project. When I arrived they were peeling potatoes and chopping the vegetables. Apparently they don't have much in terms of meat so often their diet is vegetables, corn and beans.

These photos are also from the restaurant. The box in the center of the first picture was full of oranges. You can barely see the small stove. The boy in the center is a doll, isn't he? And the final picture is of a few of the children and I and Washington's mother outside the restaurant.

Here's some photos from Ollantaytambo and the project Washington, pictured with me, has started to feed the children who walk long distances to school and often have little to eat. We are in the 'restaurant' and you can see someone has painted pictures on the walls for the kids. It is otherwise a stark room with little in it but 3 tables and a 2-burner stove. (But the energy of the kids and mothes livens it up a bit! In the third picture, the kids are washing their bowls, so to pass onto the next child.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Buenas dias mis amigos todos! I hope this day's entry finds all of you well! I'm really excited to tell you about two of the projects I visited!

The first was to Ollantaytambo. The day before I went I finally got to meet Washington in Cusco, who I 'll call Washi. He introduced me to his equally sweet brother, Paul who went with me by bus to the village. So as I mentioned, this guy, Washi is incredible but will disagree if you say it to his face. He is but 21 years old and with an incredible vision for many of the villages in the region of Cusco. His project now involves about 100 children, possibly more because he started to register everyone, and now finds he has many more children arriving without their little nametag but he can't turn them away. So all this happens in the tiniest of spaces. He has a pretty barren room, with a small stove and only 2 burners with 2 huge pots of food cooking. There are 3 tables and only 40 bowls. He buys the food in a nearby larger town and has mothers take turns cooking for the kids. The kids arrive after school and because there are only 40 bowls they take turns. So packed in this little room are all these kids, all ages. It is amazing to see. Once finished they wash their bowl outside where there is a little spiquet. These kids are so poor and apparently walk up to 2 hours in all sorts of weather to school and often without programs like what Washi has, they do not eat enough. And everyone, I mean everyone loves Washi! There are people who want to see him be the mayor! His vision is to have similar 'restaurants' in other towns like Ollantaytambo and to have busses to transport the children. He has asked me to help with teaching the families about better ways to care for their families. ( Apparently there is a problem with parents beating the children and likewise, husbands beating the wives.) When I said, 'Why would they listen to what I say because in the US, with situations like this people often get defensive and having people know can sometimes compound the problem?' And he said to this that here in Peru it is not the case. The people just do not know better. They respect the word of others from other countries. So it looks like we would visit the families together in their houses and first make connections and then do what we could...sounds cool to me. It would be a privilege to work with him really! So the day there was great. Everyone, the mothers, the kids, and just people about town was so genuine and truly welcoming to me. Paul took his responsibility of geting me there and back very seriously and was just so sweet. What a mom these guys must have! And Ollantaytambo is beautiful and I don't think it would be hard to be there for a few days a month, or more!

The next day I went to Sipascancha Alta with 2 nuns and another woman Parela, who is a teacher. This town is very high in altitude, over 400 meters compared to Cusco. It is beautiful. We went in a 4-wheel drive truck and it only took a couple of hours. We arrived to first find a pretty large project they have involving greenhouses. There are 2 huge buildings constructed by the local people but funded by some people in Spain as well as the Catholic church. This now allows the people who would ordinarily not be able to grow any vegetables now have them year round. In addition there is a school for 200 kids, with both a primary type program and then one for the older kids also. And like Washi's progam, there are mothers who take turns cooking the almuerzo (lunch) for all the children, but here in their cocina (kitchen) they cook over a huge fire, again in these incredible large pots enough for the kids as well as the people working directly in the project. Yesterday they made a soup with a strange kid of meat! I did not ask! ¡No se! (I don't know!) But, it was good! The people again were incredible and the kids very very curious about me! So I was introduced as the nurse from United States who would be working in the clinic and helping the people of Sispacancha Alta. They then clapped and all hollered 'gracias Laurie'. How sweet. Not long after that I was approached by 4 or 5 kids with cuts and sores to their feet. (I did not bring any medicines or medical equipment with me yet as I wanted to wait and see what they needed of what I had. I only brought books and vidos and pencils.) So the first thing is that these ids are so dirty. Continually their noses are running. Their clothes all native and very Cusquenean but very dirty. But I'll tell they are so pretty with beautiful eyes, dark skin, and the most sincere of expressions! ¡Que bonito! And with only sandals, it's obvious the cuts and sore are never kept clean. So we spent a long time just washing their feet! And then all I had was iodine to put on the wounds! Their feet look like they belong to an adult. It was eye opening to say the least. So the clinic is sparse really of everything. I will bring what I have and try to find more here as far as things for wound care and also things to help teach more about taking better care of yourself. They want me to be there 3 days per week every other week and can drive me there. There is 'the penthouse' de Sipaycancha Alta recently built for the volunteers with the projects and I can stay there but will need to bring a bed. I will eat with everyone and not need to be cooking, but was also warned about being very careful with both the food and the water as it isn't as clean up there and the risk of bacterial infections is higher than that of Cusco.

Whew! So it was all incredible. I will meet the person of the third project next week, I think Tueday. There is a small clinic there also and Parela believes I could work out something similar with them but work on the alternate week. Their are similar problems with colds, flus, infections and of course the need for more education about health and taking better care of oneself!

I am so excited! Nervous too. So soon it will all be more together and then I'll know where I will continue to live in Cusco when in town. As soon as I can I will post pictures of all the people I´ve met and the projects themselves. And I will add more as it alot to remember at one sitting. Love you all, Laurie

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Hola todos mis amigos y familia!
It is later on Wednesday. I am really excited! I met Washington Gijaba Tapia today who nearly singlehandedly is taking on a project of feeding the poor children of the area around the town of Ollantaytambo. He tells me the children walk over 2 hours to reach his restaurant and and between Monday through Friday. he feeds over 100 kids! He is young for the incredible vision he has and the most enthusiastic, genuinely sweet, incredibly intelligient guy I have ever met. We, along with his friend, a young woman of a nearby community, and I talked about his town, his dreams, and his excitement of having someone like me around to help. Very cool! He apparently has let the mothers of the area know I am soon to arrive and there are plans already to teach me Quechua! And Washington promises me I will be Peruvian in a year! We had lunch and then met his brother, Paul who studies here in Cusco. Paul was anxious to use his english with me and will help me with my spanish. And tomorrow Paul will meet me and we'll go by bus to the village where we'll meet Washington, visit his 'restaurant', hike about the valley a bit, and meet some of the mothers and many of the children! I'll get bring a few of the things I have gathered for the kids, but will have to await the packages I mailed before I can give them the rest. And then Paul and I will go back to Cusco!
And, I also finally spoke to Padre Rene', who has asked me to help in the clinic in his village of Huallyabamba. I will get to meet him next week on Tuesday here in Cusco and together we wil go to visit the village and the clinic! And of course not to forget Friday I will travel to Sipascancha Alta (Apparently. I have been spelling and pronouncing it wrong!) with Sister Nelly and Parela. Washington tells me I may not like it there as it very high in elevation (but beautiful). We will see...
I am starting to see there are so many places I can help. And with the distance to travel particularly between Sipascancha and Cusco, let alone Ollantaytambo and Huallyabamba., to take it all on maybe impossible. I am hoping after seeing everything for myself I'lll know what to do.
So tomorrow and Friday I will bring the camera and if I can I will download photos of the towns and the people I meet Saturday or Monday! Wish me luck! L.

Yeah, I am in Cusco! The first shot is of the little plaza outside of Rossana's school, Machu Picchu Spanish School. Once I have my clinic schedule down I plan on taking more Spanish and Quechua language lessons here. And, Rossana has kindly offered me the use of her computer for future photo downloads! (Friends: make special note of this place, because it is where you too can study spanish!

The second photo is of the Plaza de Armas in Cusco. It has just been beautiful here everyday as you can see. Blazing blue skies, bright sun, colorful people, ancient churches and sometimes a hubbub of activity.

These shots while tiny (I am still learning this download thing!) are from my party Oregon Cardiology and I think Cameron had for me my last day after some 12 years of working with them. It was great! The first shot is of me and some of the girls, Jan's daughter, Jan, DJ, me, and Suzi! We go way back to when I worked at the lab before I became a techno geek with the device programmers. I love you all!
The second shot is of me and my favorite doctor, not to mention friend. I can't thank Jamie enough for all the years of both personal and professional support in everything from times of personal crises (eeks), to being one of my coaches when running a marathon, and of course, to standing behind me at Oregon Cardiology. ¡Muchas gracias mi amigo mejor!

I finally got some pictures on board! My friend Rossana let me use her lap top at her school and Alex, another friend and employee showed me how to do it!! So attached here is Leslie making a toast with a cold one to all of us while at our friend Shelley's house in Astoria. Leslie was kind enough to drive me and my pack and 70# duffle full of goodies to Astoria when I left Eugene and then of course once in Astoria, it was a party. This is after she and her husband Scott so wonderfully put up with me at their house in Springfield for a month! I had a ball in spite of long hours of working, helping a friend out and collecting the donations for the trip here. ¡Muchas gracias tambien!

Below is the next day and we, Josiah, my son, Brigido, Claudia, Shelley, I, and Dulcie and Harley are hiking just east of Astoria. This was the first successful shot with the camera using the timer and it was accomplished thanks to Josiah! Again as you can see we had a ball. When I look at these pictures I just can't believe how lucky I am to have such wonderful friends and family!

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

So it is the same day. The photo did eventually upload but it took a long time and it was difficult to tell at what rate it was uploading. So I will try again maybe tomorrow. A funny thing happened today. It was about that policeman, Mauricio. I ran into him again and he asked if I would like to meet him in the Plaza San Blas. So being broad daylight I thought, 'What the hell?' So while waiting up there, it was just beautiful. There is a huge fountain; the sun was shining, someone was playing music and lots of kids were around playing. So the policeman shows up, but in hs regular clothes and out of his uniform and I think, 'He has got to be Josiah's age if not less!' So he is very gentleman like and asks if I would like to eat a little, so I say, yes and off we go into this little cafe just above the fountain. He chats with the people in the front and the next thing I know I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and fruit salad in front of me. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. So we talk and I can definitely tell he is interested in me, and that this is not about his job, and a big part of this thing about my friend Ramon is that he just can't believe why the women like the musicians and not the policemen. So I ask him his age and he tells me--26! I tell him I have kids close to his age! (Sorry, J&C!) So he begins to list in spanish, (all of this, mind you, is in spanish), all of his family members who have wives or husbands younger than each other! And he keeps saying to himself how he always loses out to these 'musicos' and simply does not know why. Ha. I have to say, he was not pushy, thank god. I made my exit gracefully and he was a real gem about it. So how about that? And the mystery continues as to Ramon.
¡Hola todos mis amigos! I am trying to upload some pictures from back home before I left. I am not sure if this is working right or not! So I will write while it is doing whatever it is doing as far as the photo goes. So, I miss you all. It has been both good and not so good since I have arrived. I expected to be a little sick from the altitude and was, but it was only for a couple days. The weather and Cusco itself has been beautiful. I am staying with my friend, Ramon until I make more definitive plans for my volunteer work. But, I am not sure how long I will be comfortable with this. More about this later. His apartment is in San Blas and it requires one to go up quite a few steps to reach. But it is reasonably well lit and once inside feels safe. It is tiny, and 'very Peru', for lack of a better description. There are beams across the ceiling with a skylight and a small loft above with the cocina (kitchen), bathroom and sitting area below. The walls are a sort of plaster material and white. My friend had some business to do in Lima and I am here alone and will be for the week or so. So much of my time has been reading, resting and walking about Cusco. I managed to do my grocery shopping in the Mercado de San Francisco. I am afraid I paid more for my food than the average Peruvian, but consider that a minor price to pay to having communicated what I needed! So it was cool to be meandering through it. It is really fairly big with about everything one can imagine. Music blares, people are everywhere and it is alot for the eyes to take in between the textiles right down to the hunks of raw meat in the food section.
So as to the work it is slowly coming together. I met Sister Nelly and a teacher, Parela, that works with her in the community of Sispaychancha, 3 hours I think south of here. The day we were to meet in the Plaza it turned out there was some a huge fiesta and it seemed questionable I would even find her, but I did, lo and behold in front of the church! We all talked in spanish and what was said in regards to their clinic was that they have 'un medico solamente visita un ves cada mes' or a medical person visits only once a month. They want me to be there a few days a week possibly. They will post a sign, I guess saying 'nurse in' or something to that effect! We will visit it for the day on Friday, I can't wait! It seems everything will be up to me as to the days I want to be there, or even if I want to do it all. Parela also mentioned there is a room in the clinic for me or I could stay with her when I am there working. So, I also had an appointment to meet Washington, a young man from Ollantaytambo, who on his own has a project for the street children. But, he didn't show! There I was in the Plaza with part of the donations I had collected for the kids waiting, and mind you, looking very obvious. And because he didn't show, I ended up giving some of the things to the kids approaching me for shoe shines, postcards, etc. (sucker) As it turns out tho, we'll meet for real I hope on Wednesday and I'lll try to have something left to give him! And finally the priest who has asked for help in a another clinic has been also difficult to find. I have a new number to call for him in Urubamba. I will try again later. But, Parela, who knows Padre Rene, has suggested I consider working a few days in one clinic one week and then a few days the next week in the other and then alternate. I really liked her and feel she will be helpful in making a good arrangement for everyone. Both clinics have similar needs, the main being helping advise regarding nutrition, as well as to see people with colds, flus, skin infections and the like. I probably will not be teaching much english, or at least it looks that way now. So I wish it would come together faster than it is, but just have to be patient I guess.
I have also gotten to see some of my peruvian family that I lived with when here before. Rossana has opened a very nice small spanish school near the Plaza. I joined her, some of her employees and students for 'la cena' (dinner) last night. She also mentioned knowing the only cardiologist (ha) in town and wanting me to meet him. I think she is worried about me working in these tiny villages! She will also help me find a small apartment to have of my own for when I am in Cusco, but I want to wait until I know more about the work. Tonight I will get to see the rest of the family. I'm looking forward to it. She is excited at the prospect of my friends visitng as she is keen on finding more students!
So if sound a bit on the cautious, or careful side, it is because things are not just quite together yet. I have had second thoughts about staying with my friend and am thinking about moving into Rossana's house this weekend. While it has been comfortable at Ramon's, there have been a few things just making my internal red flag go up. There is also a lot of mystery to it and I don't quite understand why. And oddly enough this morning, while walking to the cafe, I met a policeman, who stopped to chat with me. No less about my friend. ¡Que sorpresa! (What a surprize!) As it turns out this policeman has noticed me walking about...that being strange in itself as normally when walking by they stare straight ahead and don't make much eye contact. He then out of the blue mentions my friend and advises me to be careful of these native Cusqueneans, especially the musicians! We then went for a Coca Cola (popular here) and talked more both about his job being to make sure the turistas are safe, carefully telling me to watch out for these musicians, not to mention asking me alot of questions otherwise, both about me and the US. He asked if policeman were good in the US. I said, 'Well, there are some instances of bad policeman who are not so honest', and then I asked, 'how about right here in Cusco...? He smiled. So all in all the encounter was odd.
I'm not sure what to make of it but will continue to put one foot in front of the other, get things going with the work, and maybe find a quiet place for myself here. I will also talk to Rossana and Edgar more tonight! I will keep you posted! Now let's see about the photo...not sure it worked! Much love to all of you! Laurie

Thursday, August 14, 2003

A quick note to everyone to say I have made it to Cusco! The most harrowing part of the trip was just in between NYC and Newark for me. It was supposed to be a direct connection but required me to take a bus, then another train and with all the bags I was sweating like a brick (why is that the saying that it is?). When I finally located the airport and what I thought was Continental Airlines, I was again in the wrong place and then asked someone for help. It turns out he was a native Peruvian! And well with my obvious sweating, halter top and slightly tight pants and destination, all he could do was smile at me, and personally take me to the right place on another train with only one squeeze to my butt! So that was the highlight of that part of the trip! The remainder was easy really. Not one person asked to look in any of the bags! That was GREAT! (I could´ve taken more!) At the gate I was surrounded by Peruvians waiting to go home and I least I thought I could feel the difference already! It is a sense of a sort of ¨live and let live¨attitude. We were late getting into Lima, but again no problem, I got the green light, again not requiring me to have anything searched! I spent the night in a beautiful hotel, Hotel Melia, but could hardly sleep for the excitement. Arriving in Cusco I was met by my friend Ramon and now am taking it easy at his place until connecting up with the people I will work with. His place is very quiet and in the San Blas barrio. It is close to the main plaza in town and we walked slowly about today to the plaza and the market. (I am acclimatizing to the altitude and trying NOT to be sick!) So, it is great to be back. I´m nervous about how it will all come together but will continue to just trust it´ll work out! And I am reminded spanish is NOT my native language, at least not yet! I will write more soon! I miss you all. Laurie

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Hello again friends--just noticed while viewing the web page that when i clicked on my name to test if i could send an brought me to the Yahoo site. Well how 'bout that?! it isn't supposed to do that! So, if you notice that when trying to email me from the web, just send an email your usual way and use my address

Friday, August 08, 2003

Hi everybody!

I am so sorry but I cannot send pictures at this point! I am at a little tiny public library in a village called Claverack, New York. I did find the USB connection but cannot get my pictures to display...i wonder what this just might mean in the Andes Mountains!!

So for those of you I haven't kept up with in the past few months, I made the decision to resign from my job and follow a dream of working as a volunteer nurse in Peru. I am returning to the Sacred Valley near Cusco and will be there for at least a year working with a small clinic, as well as helping in a project feeding street children and teaching english. I have made friends there and even have managed to get some funding, thanks to Kathy Garcia and CMMB. It has been a journey starting with the decision to do it and I am so grateful how SIMPLY everything has lined up in the process!! And, here I am, days away from leaving with 5 packages enroute to Peru full of books, coats, paper, pencils, toothbrushes, toothpaste, first aid supplies not to mention the 70 pounds of supplies I am carrying with me on the plane and my backpack!! I am so thrilled it came together!! (At least I think it has...will know more when I get there--in 6 weeks the packages are supposed to arrive!)
So now and until Tuesday morning I am staying with my family and sweating! It is hot here--like a steam bath. The last time I was in what felt like a steam bath it was in Bolivia in the jungle...this is a little different from that! ha ha! It is relaxing; I am having a nice time; and hope to see old friends and more family while I'm here.
And, for those of you who may have ANY suggestions as to how computer illiterate me can download some great pictures of everyone in Eugene and Astoria who sent me off in such a great way, I will take it! I am a bit worried by not having any success yet here in the states and just what that might mean in the middle of nowhere at a public computer?! (I guess this might be just the beginning of not always knowing just what will happen!)
I love you all!

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Hola amigos!
Well we will try to do a post from upstate New York! As I review my web page I see an entry from when I was in Astoria that I didn't mean to post (ie., "you"...) I thought I deleted it...but...maybe not! ha! And while in Astoria, I spent a couple hours writing a post and then trying to add a photo, only to lose it all!! So here we are in NYS and we will try again! (Marti, if you see this, HELP!)
So I have to just say first to ALL my friends from Oregon Cardiology, Eugene, Springfield, and Astoria, and the world, I am so lucky! Thanks so much for the GREAT send-offs! I will really miss you all! And, I really can't thank each and everyone of you enough!
And second, I want to publicly (lets hope this makes it to the "public") thank all the people and businesses that helped me get together everything I am now able to take to Peru. And that includes all the jackets, books, paper, pencils, pens, toothbrushes, toothpaste, videos, teaching supplies, money, bandaging and first aid supplies, over-the-counter meds, not to mention everything else you all did for me in this process, including but not limited to great dinners, knowing how to settle me down, use of cars, use of space, housing me, conversation, advice and comments, and finally, and really, the most important, all the encouragement you all gave me everyday to follow a dream!
So here goes, I will try to remember everyone and please forgive me if I miss your name: St Vincent's and Rebecca, Father David and the people of the people of the Newman Center, Sharon Forrest, for helping me to find Padre Rene, Sister Nelly, Washington, the wonderful people working in Peru, Rossana and Edgar of Cusco, Dave at Flicks and Pics, Bimart, Everett's Pharmacy, Dr Samy and his staff, my friends at Oregon Cardiology, my wonderful patients at Oregon Cardiology, Catholic Medical Mission Board...Vanice Feldman, Clyde and Maydell Mclain and their daughter, Jack and Marti West, Olivia West, Chris Prescott and her family, Harlan and Evelyn Tharp, Kathy Garcia, Leslie and Scott, Rita, Beauvais, Josiah and MIca, Heidi and Grant, Chelsea, Jamie, Lora, Terry, "the girls", Ramu and Loni, Deb, Jed, Cameron...(geez, I hope I didn't forget anybody...if so please forgive me!)
So, for now I am unable to check my email...or even send any. And, I will wait on the photos for now! So, until the next entry..maybe it'll be from Peru!