Back to Lima, Peru.

Greetings from Lima, Peru! Healing the Children Rocky Mountains, along with some of us from Healing the Children Northeast are back at Sergio Bernales Hospital in the Comas section of Peru. We will be here for a week, providing surgery for children with clefts of the lip or palate, as well as plenty of speech therapy before and after surgery.

Our team hails from the New York area, Denver, New Orleans, Tucson, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Miami, Austin, Nashville…I think that covers all the travelers. We were on the road for up to about 24 hours, hitting the sack in Lima at 3 AM on Sunday…too bad we had to be back on the bus to head to the hospital by 630 AM! Lima traffic is beyond anything seen in the United States, and you can beat some of it by making an early start. 

This trip, we screened the children on Sunday, so that the hospital was quiet and we could take over a whole hallway. Well, it wasn’t quiet once we arrived! The families who knew us from previous trips ran to see us, hug us, kiss us and show us how the kids had grown. We were so thrilled to see how well the kids were doing. As always, we had a great system for taking photos, starting charts, surgical evaluation, anesthesia, pediatrics and of course, the last hurrah, speech! As organized as we try to be, somehow it always gets pretty chaotic, but by the end of the day, about 80 children were screened and most were given appointments for surgery or speech therapy.

Can you guess that our scheduled afternoon off never materialized? We ended up going straight to our favorite restaurant, abutting the ruins, for a well-deserved dinner. You can guess that some of us were ready for our favorite Peruvian drink, Pisco Sour, after such a long couple of days.

After our wonderful meal, which included nuggets of cuy (look it up) and alpaca prepared rare, we went back to our hotel for some solid sleep. The majority of our meals this week will be buffets at the hotel and take out boxes at the hospital, so it was a special treat to take the time out to break bread together as a group, in the shadow of ancient ruins, after a hard day of work and getting to know each other. Tomorrow is another day.

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About Shari Salzhauer Berkowitz

Shari is a speech language pathologist and assistant professor of communication disorders at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY.
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