June 16
Today we saw patients from 8am to 1pm in the medical clinic, completed post operative cataract checkups, and packed up the clinics by 5pm. Some of our members left for a night in Cusco, while others headed for macchu pichu. Everyone took time to enjoy the beautiful country of Peru through hiking in the mountains or walking the streets of Cusco. I went to machu picchu with 36 other team members on a bus and train through ollantetambo. We arrived at our hotel in aguas calientes just in time to sleep before waking up at 5am to get to the top of machu picchu for the sunrise. Our tour guide Freddy showed us the bus stop for our ride up, and we were definitely in for an adventure. The bumpy dirt road to the entrance was barely wide enough for two lanes and large buses brought us up and down the mountains. Finally at the top, we made it to the first platform to watch the sunrise over the mountains. We even sang happy birthday to one of our surgeons! Freddy then took us around the city and explained a lot about the Incan culture and the history of machu picchu. Tons of pictures were taken but none can capture the feeling of being at one of the seven wonders of the world. When leaving the park we stamped our passports and made it safely down the mountain to eat lunch and shop in the markets before getting on the train back to ollantetambo. The train was different this time around because we were able to see the river the train was meant to follow. Peru Rail also entertained us with a dancer in costume and a fashion show. The bus from the train brought us straight to the airport in Cusco to start our long travel back to the US.

We’ve been so fortunate to experience health care in Peru through working with the Ministry of Health and the hospital in Calca. We learned that when hiccups happen, you find a way to fix it because people depend on it. A tiny example is my on the spot learning of Spanish when taking medical histories. A Promise to Peru has many friends all over the US and Peru, for which we are so thankful. One of our emergency physicians said it perfectly when she said “the patients need you, and you need them.” A simple smile or a hand on a patient’s back for comfort goes a long way, even in a completely different culture. We provided quality compassionate care alongside Peruvian physicians with the help of more than 50 volunteers, and if you’re interested in joining us next year or donating to our cause please don’t hesitate to contact us!

~ Chrissie Chevalier, OMS I