Tuesday, October 10, 2006

10/10/06 (Day 28): The Ministry of Health - A glimpse into Libby's training

"It was a hot sunny morning. We arrived at 8:20am and met up with Ann who wanted to see how we were working, what we were doing, etc. She's a fourth year Peace Corps Volunteer who served her first 3 years in the Dominican Republic and then transfered for a fourth year in Peru. We did some brainstorming with her to figure out our Community Contact Experience (one of our homework assignments as trainees) because none of us feel like we have a defined community contact. The main reasons: (1) There are only 6 main people who work at the health post. Two tecnicians, a pharmacist, an obstitrician, a nurse and a doctor who is always with a patient in a closed room. And there are two Peruvian volunteers who are helping with the Rubella vaccine campaign. But during the morning the place is packed iwth patients and staff, including us, running around like crazy. (2) Time frame - the morning is busy, the close promptly at 2pm and there is no time for 'personal contact time.' (3) Vaccine campaign is a crazy time for the health post... Between October 1st and November 5th they have to vaccinate 200 people per day in order to meet their goals and this is where their focus is. (4) It's far away from our Peace Corps training center, so the logistics of meeting and giving presentations are tough.

Anyways, we talked with Maria the HR woman about our project (a handwashing campaign at a little preschool way up at the top of the mountain) and she talked to the woman in charge of vaccinating that day and agreed to aim their day's energy at that particular neighborhood, known as the "quinta zona." She would help us to make a community contact of the school's director or president so that we could arrange the date and time for our handwashing presentation.

We had a bit of a communication mix up with the vaccinator who had told us that she's meet us up the street on the corner where we could make copies of our community health diagnostic survey that we wanted to leave with the doctor for his review. We had all of the vaccines and couldn't find our health post contact... So we ate a delicious local fruit called the Chirimoya.

So... we all hopped into a collectivo and paid 1 sol (~30 cents) for him to bring us up to the top of the mountain where we hoped to find the vaccinator and the kindergarten. We didn't find the vaccinator, and when we asked for directions to the preschool we were told by a community member that they students weren't in school today because they were resting after a yesterday's big field trip. Just our luck. But the same man told us that he knew where the preschool's president lived, Maria, and she came to meet us at the preschool and invite us to come back on Friday to finalize our plan.

Later that same day, I also had the opportunity to meet the president of one of the local 'comedores populares' or soup kitchens. Rosio asked me if I could do a series of talks with the women/mothers who frequented the kitchen on such topics as (1) self esteem, (2) stress, (3) communication tools, etc. I'll start next week. This will help to fulfill the requirements for my 'mini-project' for my spanish language and culture class."