Monday, July 4, 2011

Proud to be "American"

This morning, I started off back at the hospice with Marianne. To our surprise we were told that we weren’t doing dressing changes that day, but taking vitals of all the patients. We had only spent time with the three patients last week so we were both excited and nervous to be meeting and working with everyone at the hospice! They were all so cheerful and very cooperative when it came to taking their BPs, temperatures, pulses, etc. Most of them who are more coherent knew the routine and exactly what to do without any prompting from us! One of my favorite patients would have to be Felix, who is in a wheelchair and can barely talk, but every time we walk by his room, he gives us the biggest smile I have ever seen on a person without many teeth. He was so fascinated the entire time Marianne and I were taking his vitals. He even looked at the meter when I was taking his BP, just smiling and laughing the entire time. He joked with us and flirted with us by asking us our ages and saying things like we were the prettiest girls he had seen. He even asked if we would take a photo of him but wanted us to be in the picture.  Here it is:

 Surprisingly, taking vitals for 12 patients took us about two hours (we did a lot of chatting and sitting with some of the patients) then we just charted the vitals we had collected in PAPER charts! I am so used to the computer charting system in the U.S, it took a few minutes to read and understand their method.

Rather than having lunch back at the parish, we went out to San Jacinto and had lunch with our Marquette Family. For those of you who I haven’t told, Sacramento Santisimo has a Family to Family program here. Families from the U.S (usually from the 4 major churches affiliated with the parish) financially support a family here in Piura. For $25 a month, the family gets a large food package. It then is up to the individual U.S families to decide how much more they want to support the family through helping to buy things for their house(shack), helping to pay for school, dental work, etc. Even though the nursing students that come to Piura, change each year Marquette still wanted to sponsor a family. So we have a wonderful family of five, Alex (Father), Erika (Mother), Christian (8 yr old boy), Kiara (4 yr old girl) and Jessica who is 5 months old. (Jessica was named after a nurse Jessica who came down last year! Many of the families here, name their children after their family members in the U.S, HOW COOL!)  We had a great lunch made by the parish and then we were able to just hang out. I played ball/tag with Christian and some of the kids in Meg’s family (Her family has been sponsoring them for many years). It was so much fun getting to run around and the kids absolutely loved it. Even though I can’t communicate all that well with them, I still feel a strong bond growing and I can’t wait to see where our relationship with them will be at the end of our time here. 

 Baby Jessica: What a chubby baby!!
This is Kiara (she didn't want to be in the group photo!)

Group Photo of the family and the Marquette nurses! 

 This afternoon Meg did her teaching project to the women of Vaso de Leche. She taught them how to properly wash their hands and why it is SO important! She did a great job and the women really loved it! Marianne and I are teaching First Aid on Wednesday (which we found out this afternoon!), so we are frantically trying to put together something simple for the women. It actually isn’t that hard because there are these two books called, “Where there is no Doctor and Where Women have no Doctor” which are GREAT books that basically that teach about health for people who either are not in the medical field and/or do not have many resources available! I think every household in the U.S should have one because they have such great information. (Mom and Dad, if you ever need a gift idea for me *wink wink* J ) So we have gotten all of our information from here which has actually made it easy and now we just have to put it all together! My REAL teaching project is still in the works, and I should be doing that sometime next week!

Decorations put up by the workers in our dining room area!

After mass, Sacramento Santisimo made us an American dinner of burgers, hot dogs, baked beans and potato chips. They even had dinner entertainment! Two groups from the school the parish has built came and performed some traditional Peruvian dances. They were absolutely amazing and to finish up the night they even shot off fireworks for us! They made our Fourth of July feel as if we were right in our backyards in the U.S. It was such a great way to end the day. Especially after the fiesta tonight, I started thinking about how the Peruvians here were so excited about America’s Independence Day. Most of the have never been to the U.S and they still wore red, white, blue and waved little American flags. It was so awesome to experience but I couldn’t help but to feel the irony in it all. I don’t ever recall celebrating another country’s Independence Day in the U.S. We get so caught up in our “American” culture that most of us don’t even realize that our ancestors came from those foreign countries, and that is what makes us American. Being here and seeing things from another point of view has really made me aware of such cultural differences. I really am going to work on being more aware and accepting of cultural differences when I get back to the U.S. If I don’t, I would feel as if my experience here and the knowledge about this culture I have learned and grown to love would go to waste. 

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