Thursday, April 5, 2012

Peru: Idaho condor 2012

It was great to be back in Peru. The sights, sounds, and smells were all a vivid reminder of the past. It was hard to believe that it had been 8 years since Luke and I had been back to Peru together. Luke and I went down with three friends in the summer of 2004 and spent three months in Ecuador and Peru. We attended a Spanish immersion school and traveled and explored as much as we could. For the past three years Luke has gone back to Peru with Idaho Condor and I couldn't wait to be able to join them on an expedition. This year finally worked out for me and I joined Luke on the humanitarian trip that provided medical and dental services to the small villages outside of Cuzco Peru. The villages were chosen because of the lack of access to care these people face.
Overall the trip was amazing and unforgettable. Since Luke and I left South America in 2004, we always knew we wanted to go back and to find a way to help educate and provide services to this population. Looking back now it is interesting to see the progress we have made in our lives that help us have this opportunity. I am so thankful that we had the chance to do this and I hope to continue to do more in the future. I can't wait until Brynlee and Chloe have the chance to go down and help out and to realize how much they have and how bless we our. An experience like this really impacts your life, you really re-evaluate what is important and make you so thankful for the little things you have.
I love culture. I love people watching. I love watching little children play and seeing how it is no different than children in any other part of the world. I love mountains and breathtaking views.... Hence the following photos. I tried to do my best to capture these in my photos. I am still trying to figure out my camera, and am so far from being a very good photographer, but I hope you can get a feel for what we did and saw.

Cuzco city tour: These are a few of the sights and people in and around Cuzco. In Peru, it is getting to the end of their rainy season, so everything was so green...and there were flowers. It was beautiful to see, especially where we were coming from a brown and slightly snowy Idaho.

Our first village we visited... I will never forget. We were in a high mountain village, over 11,500 feet in elevation. It was breathtaking, and when we pulled into the village we were welcomed by the all of the people in the village. It instantly brought tears to my eyes. The women and men were all lined up in a large group and were dressed in their traditional clothing and welcomed us with flowers. We provided care in the community school rooms. They were not very large but we were able to get a lot done. Our police escort, Polito AKA Wilson, gave the children in the village toothbrushes that we brought. He was great to have around...he is amazing with the children and loves to educate them. He taught the kids how to brush there teeth and then gave them all a fluoride treatment. Besides medical and dental treatment, the villages are also provided with hair cuts, OBGYN care, and eye care. We also like to paint the little girls fingers with nail polish. There fingers are usually covered in dirt, but at least their nails look pretty when we are done. After we finished our clinics the village provided us with potatoes and corn, an offering of thanks. Then the village challenged us to a game of soccer before we left. It was fun to watch and we put up a good fight. We stayed in this village for most of the day so I have a lot of photos here... oh and before we left the village, luke ran down the mountain with a 2 boys from the village.

2 year old Twins. These two were so funny to watch. They loved playing in the dirt. They kept burring their shoes and fought with each other. They reminded me of my girls.

The bleachers. (logs)

Luke was teaching them about his watch with altimeter

Throughout the week in Peru we went to other larger towns. We were really busy and I was not able to get as many photos but here is a collection of them. We provided a lot of care and education to the towns especially in the schools so I have a lot of photos of our dental education to kids.
The lines of people waiting to be seen

I was pulling teeth here, yes it's true.

My new little friend. She gave the biggest hugs to all of us.

We ended our last full day clinic in the Sacred Valley. The views to the village were AMAZING! It again was unforgettable and I tried to take so many photos of the landscape, but it just doesn't do it justice. I attached photos, but just image it 10x's more than what the photos show. Again we provided services in the village school. It is often the best place to provide care due to it being somewhat centrally located and it is typically the largest place we can all fit into. The people in this town were awesome. I loved it. I took a lot of photos of them here.

Too stinking cute

Looking out from the school yard. Rain clouds descending on the far mountains

I loved this lady. She was kind enough to let me take a photo with her.

These were her poor worn hands. They showed a lot of hard work and arthritis.

They loved disclosing tablets!

This is real. I know it looks fake, but it was the views from the village, unreal right.

Our final event was a trip to Macchu pitchu! It was great to see it again.

Our trip was amazing. I know i've said it many times, but it really was. Our group as a whole worked so well together. I have a new level of respect and appreciation for those who came down with us. It was so fun to get to know everyone. I also wanted to thank Luke. He was the expedition coordinator. It is a huge job...and he put together an great trip. Also, thanks to Luke's mom for watching the girls while we were gone.