Monday, July 18, 2011

Can you translate this for me?

Before starting our busy and final week in Peru, we went out to dinner for Meg and Chelsea’s birthdays! Both got to celebrate here in Piura, so us and some of our missionary friends went to this AMAZING restaurant named Cappuccino. It was so nice to get out for a little bit and enjoy food that was NOT chicken and rice! It was a great way to end our weekend and start a new week. 

(Right: the other missionaries and two staff workers who came with us.)
(Below: Our end of the table! Yayy for being 21!)

Now that the medical team is here, we are working with them all this week. There are two different settings, there are hernia surgeries here in the clinic at the church and then two family practice doctors are heading out to the local villages and running free clinics. Marianne and I started out in the free clinics; little did we know that we had to be full out translators today. We did the intake assessments for the patients who then went to see one of the two doctors then got medicine from our makeshift pharmacy. Everything was in one room; the two patient rooms that consisted of curtains hung on strings, the pharmacy had a table off to the side of the room and then Marianne and I each had our own little table near the doors. The intake assessment forms consisted of name, age, address, allergies, current medications and chief complaint. So I was in charge of translating from Spanish to English and then writing it in English for the doctors. Let’s just say after 65+ patients in a matter of eight hours, I have expanded my medical vocabulary greatly. I did all the pediatric patients and I must say I really enjoyed my time working with the kids. Even though I can’t say much to the kids, I was able to get many of them to stop crying or focus for a little bit so I could assess them. Towards the end of the day I had three little girls who never left my side, even when I was doing other intakes. They were really cute and kept asking me questions, most of which I didn’t understand but they still thought I was the coolest person which boosted my self-esteem. Most of the children had cold, flu like symptoms but there were a couple interesting ones such as a rash or spinal problem. If I must say so, I do believe I have become a Spanish professional at assessing a child with cough, fever, vomiting and/or diarrhea. The downside to the day was that most of the new missionaries speak zero English. I understand not everyone will know or learn Spanish for a week, but the thing that bothers me is when they just talk really loud and really slow in English thinking that these Peruvian people, who have little or no education, are going to understand what they are saying. They then get frustrated and in the middle of me working with someone else they barge in and say they need help. I don’t mind TRYING to help but I really have to focus on what I am doing and can’t do multiple things at once. As frustrating as it was at times, I also felt pretty accomplished considering they really needed both Marianne and I to translate for them. As much as I learned, I am mentally exhausted. I never knew that eight hours of listening to Spanish then trying to write in English would be so difficult! I caught myself so many times writing the symptoms in Spanish and ended up having to scratch it all out. In some ways it is good because I catch myself answering in Spanish even though I am talking with English speakers. I even found myself thinking in Spanish today! I think this is on the path to becoming fluent. J I am sad to say, we have no more siestas. L We worked from 7:30am-6:30pm and we got about a 45 minute lunch. So I am going to be exhausted by the end of the week!
Above: Ceclia and I at our little intake table!

 Below: My three little friends 

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