Thursday June 19, 2014PartyPeru (Small)

Today was a big day for the Community Health Committee. They set up shop inside the community church examining ears and testing hearing. It was amazing the things they pulled out of some of the villagers’ ears. Tess said, “It was amazing to see Lauren and Samantha pull an ant out of one man’s ear, and a little girl had so much wax build up in her ear that she could not hear very well at all. After they cleaned her ears, her hearing was much better, and it was awesome to see how much they could help her.” I am part of the Community Health Committee, and I know nothing about ears or ear health. I was still using Q-tips to clean my ears…which is really bad by the way, but everyone let us learn what they were doing so we could be a part of it as well. One of our Mentors, Dr. Sonkens showed me an eardrum that had a hole in it, but had healed over. Seeing and learning about all of this was so interesting.   Many of the villagers were very concerned about their hearing. Many of them use small motor boats that are very loud to travel down the Amazon or for fishing. This can impact their hearing severely. After we tested their hearing many of them were relieved to learn that their hearing was actually very good. Those whose hearing was fading however, were able to be fit with devices that amplify noise to assist them with their hearing. While this clinic was going on, the rest of the team was hard at work on construction. They were still working on the garden, and nailing the wood for the walls of the kindergarten. Most of our projects are really close to being completed, which is very exciting. We have an awesome group of hard workers that, with lots of help from the locals, have made these projects materialize quickly and efficiently. And when I say lots of help…I mean LOTS! Erin was working on the kindergarten. She said, “the men from the village would hammer in the nail the majority of the way, and then to include me would let me do the last little bit to finish the job.” It is amazing to work with the people from the village. They do everything so efficiently and we have learneClinicPeru (Small)d lots from working with them.

Some of our construction projects have changed since we first arrived here in Yanamono 2. When we arrived in the village the first day, many of us noticed the mass amount of standing water surrounding the community center and elementary school. For anyone who has been exposed to or researched anything about tropical diseases, you would know that this is a prime breeding ground for disease carrying mosquitoes. This group came into this village with the intensions of making a lot of sidewalk in the village. This project would make things more convenient for many people in the village, but would not benefit their health. Jeff and many others in our group realized that if we could use the cement that was destined for sidewalk as rain gutters to move the stagnant water away from the buildings, it would eliminate potentially hazardous mosquito breeding grounds. The flexibility of this Youthlinc team is amazing, because now we can implement a project that is sustainable and impacts the community’s health positively in the long term.

June 20, 2014

Today the Community Health Committee started off their health lessons with a bang. While the children were at school working hard on their English lessons that have been occurring every day, the women of the village came to the church and participated in a variety of health lessons. To start the morning off YogaPeru (Small)right Cassie led the group in Yoga. She said, ”teaching yoga in this little Peruvian village was probably the hardest class I’ll ever teach, however it was easily the most beautiful. It made me realize how universal yoga is. I taught them about mind, body and soul. So many of them moved through the asanas with ease and grace. There were women there from 14-80 years old doing yoga. It was absolutely incredible.” After her yoga lesson, Tess, Kristen and Raquel gave a lesson on CPR. They taught them this life saving process, and the women practiced on Tess and Parker. Then Tess gave a lesson about teeth and dental health. They all did so well on their lessons, and the women were very engaged. Well they must have done well because we had the same crowd come back for Parker’s and my (Kenzie) lessons after lunch. Parker taught about basic hygiene and sanitation as well as skin and water protection. We all chimed in towards the end about basic prevention for vector borne diseases like dengue and malaria. We told them about how the aedes aegypti mosquito that carries the dengue virus likes to live and breed near residential areas, so clearing standing water from around their homes is essential in preventing disease. We saw this one little lesson impact some of the women almost immediately because some of them went home and started digging drains around their houses to clear the standing water after we finished for the day. Education is so empowering, and I am grateful that we were able to give them some simple advice that could potentially positively impact their health. After Parkers lesson it was my turn. My lesson was on reproductive health and family planning. I was a little nervous as to how it would go. I did not really know what to expect with cultural boundaries, and I wanted to make sure I was respectful. I was very pleased that the women took to the CylceBeadsPeru (Small)lesson very well and were open to discussing reproductive health with me. After the lesson we made cycle beads, which are bracelets that help an individual keep track of when they are more and less fertile to assist in family planning. This is an awesome lesson because it is a natural method of family planning that, while maybe not fool proof, is a method they can use if birth control is not available, or they want a natural method. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with these beautiful women. Also I just wanted to mention how amazing and patient of a translator Raquel is. None of us would have been able to do our lessons without her. As always those on construction were working hard, and the drains are almost completed already! Angelina is working on the mural, and we can already tell it is going to be beautiful.

After we got home from the village the fun did not stop. We went on a jungle walk and boat rides down canals of the Amazon. Deek one of our tour guides is a dangerous animal whisperer. On an hour walk in the jungle he picked up and showed us a bullet ant, tarantula, and a coral snake (which is extremely poisonous). This was a cool experience to see the biodiversity and hear all the sounds that make up our surroundings. After dinner we had our nightly reflection. Suddenly all the lights went out and our guides came out with a cake singing happy birthday to Tess, Caleb and I. This quickly turned into a full blown fiesta! We all got up and started dancing had cake and had our own jungle celebration Heliconia style!!! Definitely a great way to celebrate our birthdays!

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