It has been a few weeks since the project in Peru has finished and I have had a good amount of time to reflect on the experience. First let me share a picture of how the clinic looked the day we left it, with the foundation for the new rooms finished and the brick work well under way.
Here is a review of the project:
Our Goals: Our project will serve to facilitate good health practice and services in the community through our construction of a medical clinic. This will increase access to medications and increase education about health topics. It is also a networking opportunity to increase cooperation between the community and Nourish International.
Actions taken to work toward these goals: We worked on the construction every day for 4-5 hours. We tried in the first week to walk around and talk to community members, but that was largely unsuccessful (no one seemed to want to talk). We joined a community meeting once in the second week so that we could introduce the project and ourselves so that people weren’t wondering who we were. During the third and fourth week, we took turns lodging with members of the community to get to know a family better, have cultural exchanges, and connect with the community. We also connected to the youth in the community by helping to teach at the schools and playing with children during our lunch break.
Our Impact: We made progress on the clinic construction. We did not quite get to the point where the clinic can begin taking patients, but it is closer to being functional. The construction project, the clinic itself, has a great potential to have impact on the community through offering reduced price health care right in the community of those who will need it. It will help to improve their health, increase their productivity and ability to be more successful.
I think we can all say that it was a good summer. There were definitely some bumps, bruises, and trials along the way, but the lessons that we learned about Peru, international development, and being flexible were all extremely eyeopening. Peru was nothing like I expected. I honestly had my expectations grounded in ideals and past experiences that maybe were not relevant to this project, but I learned to fight through my initial disenchantment and take my experience in through the eyes of a learner, looking at everything with a bit of wonder and curiosity rather than judgement.
Thank you Peru, MOCHE Inc, and Nourish for the experience. I will never regret being a part of it.