Four years ago, FNE traveled to Urubamba, Peru as guests of a medical mission still in the process of defining what its mission would be and how it would be accomplished. As observers, we explored the issues, supported the efforts, and most importantly; we listened. We listened to the medical professionals and students who invited us, we listened to the Peruvian doctors and healthcare workers who welcomed us, but most importantly we listened to the communities in which we spent our time.

Shortly after returning home, we were invited to travel with the mission that following year, this time as a partner responsible for logistics and communication along with investigating sustainable solutions to the health issues we had encountered. Our second visit to Peru proved even more successful than our first. The number of communities visited increased, nearly doubling the number of patients seen by the clinic. The major health problems we saw consisted primarily of chronic joint and muscle pain, no doubt a consequence of an economy almost completely reliant on grueling agriculture, water or food borne bacterial infections, and cataracts. The clinic ran more smoothly as it had been streamlined and set up specifically for each community visited. The clinic’s patient education crew worked hard teaching hundreds suffering from muscle and joint pain how to move and work utilizing proper body mechanics. The pharmacy prescribed hundreds of antibiotics for those living with bacterial infections prior to sending them to patient education where they were then asked about where they get their drinking water and how their food is prepared prior to being given information on good food and personal hygiene. Finally, community members presenting with cataracts and other eye related issues were given vision tests, fitted for eyewear when applicable, and added to a database the mission was maintaining.The third year marked the most significant growth and change for the mission as the focus had changed from a mobile clinic providing access to general healthcare and wellness to a mobile clinic providing general healthcare that was now also specially equipped to support large numbers of patients presenting with chronic pain, bacterial infections, or vision issues. Most notably, FNE became involved with the mission’s cataract surgery program which successfully restored or improved vision to all 50 of its recipients for the second consecutive year.

Next summer, FNE will be returning to Peru for its fourth consecutive year and in addition to supporting the medical missions efforts, FNE is looking to start improving the region’s health utilizing educational and social-development projects similar to those currently underway in Nicaragua in an effort to improve health utilizing methods and resources that remain unused. FNE is investigating the possibility of partnering with communities to launch personal and food hygiene educational projects that will run independent of the mission on an on going basis. FNE is also looking to collect data on how it’s potable water and housing projects might impact the health of some of the communities the mission has been visiting. Overall, FNE is eager to continue its relationship with the medical mission and to begin sharing it’s mission of facilitating, collaborating, and empowering both those involved with the medical mission and our neighbors in Machu Picchu region of Peru.