Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Home Visit

So I went on a home visit with my friend Diphile with the physical therapist at the mental health was very different than my first home visit. After arriving at the clinic we went to catch a bus...very different than any bus I have ever taken...The buses dont come to a complete stop here...they are overcrowded and you have to get a head start to jump on as people pull you in...the seats are tiny...maybe its because I am so tall, but my legs were unable to fit in front of me, and people screaming...there were even women with children strapped to their backs running for the bus and it still did not make a complete stop....we were on there for about 25 minutes as we made our way across the city...grabbing people as we went.

We finally arrive at our stop and I look up...there is a staircase....a very long staircase making its way straight up the mountain...our visit was at the very top...with the altitude we were out of breath by the time we got there. When we arrived the therapist knocked on the door and asked the girl for her grandmother...she came out to approve our visit and we walked through the tin door and into the house. The house was a square room...smaller than my freshman year college dorm room if you can imagine...there was an old bed across one wall with a beaten up mattress pad and a girl with severe cerebral palsy...she was clubbed foot and had a hard time expressing any facial expressions...we took natural orange essential oil and massaged her joints and muscles...but that is about all the care they can afford to give...the oil is more exotic and professional than anything else they have...but obviously not enough... on the other wall was a stove with all their food in it, one corner all their clothes with a small table and the other wall was the door. In the middle of the room was a large swarm of flies...the grandmother raised 4 girls in this concrete and wood room and they owned one rooster and 2 dogs that wandered outside...a bit of a reality check to say the least...we were informed that this was the poorest community in Ayacucho.

We then went to another home visit...which was down the mountain and several blocks away...when was definitely larger than the first home, but not necessarily more aesthetically pleasing...there was a boy, Joseph, strapped to wheel chair...he had such severe epilepsy that his body became paralyzed due to the extensive amount of seizures...he was also very aggressive so he was strapped into the wheel chair...the therapist did the same type of minor treatment on him, spoke with his little sister who looked out for him and were on our way back to the clinic...Ill never forget that room in the first one and have never seen the various scale of poverty as I had that day...details are hard to describe...but grateful I got to see it, because it provided me with a better understanding of how desperate people may be, but at the same time those girls who lived there were so happy...laughing and playing with anything they could was as if they did not even realize what they were missing.

Went to the orphanage this afternoon and got to play with babies...they were so beautiful...the facility was a lot nicer than I had expected...the nuns run that and the nursing home here and those are the 2 nicest places in Ayacucho and Huamanga that I have seen so was not depressing in any way and they looked very well cared for, which was refreshing and fun to be there.

Ha...heres something rather funny...another volunteer got locked in her room today...the lock broke when she slammed the door and no one knew....until they had heard her screaming and pounding 20 minutes later...she was in there for a long time...they had to call a locksmith to come and physically remove the door....she was understandably rather frustrated....but it was pretty entertaining...something a little light hearted finally...anyways...thats all for now!

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