Thursday, July 2, 2009

New Adventure

We are off on a new adventure.  We are headed to Panao, Peru to receive a medical mission team from the States and to translate for them as they strive to meet the needs of the people here.  This is new and challenging on several levels for us:
  • We will be translating for the doctors and the patients, so we will be working our brains in both directions - English and Spanish, and also in more detailed terms (medical Spanish).
  • We will be working in an area that we are unfamiliar with.  Billy has been in Panao for a day or two to help set up the pre-mission stuff, but other than that, we don't know the people or the area or the culture there.
  • We will be piloting the new database system that Ron Phillips wrote especially for this purpose... we will be logging every patient using a fingerprint scanner and typed data.  In this way, we can track patients and better monitor the medications that they receive and the doctors that they see.  In the past, there has been an issue with people mysteriously changing identities ;) and getting back in the patient line, only to receive opposing medications, etc.  Not good.  Hopefully, the new system will work like clockwork and all with be wonderful!
  • This area is relatively new to "gringos" - like the first gringos in the area were within the last 20 years.  So we are still strange creatures to this people group.  Also, we will be facing the legend of the pishtaco... an Andean legend about gringos/light-skinned people who come to steal organs or suck the fat out of children to use in American factories as machine oil.  I know it sounds ridiculous to us, but it is a very vivid story/belief in many minds here and we are hoping that it doesn't pose a problem for us.  :)  When Billy was setting up the pre-field mission stuff, lots of people hid around corners and children yelled "pishtaco, pishtaco!" and ran away.  
We'll post more about the trip when we return.  Please pray for safety and for many medical successes as we work to serve the people of Panao in the coming week.