As I enter the final week of my stay here in Perú it feels like I have judged it about right. I have sort of run out of things to do without traveling 10 or more hours by bus and this is not to my liking. Equally, I am beginning feel in need of more direct contact with family and friends and to pine for a few home comforts.
That said the week has not been without interest. Bruce Perú as an organisation has continued to bemuse me and whilst I have enjoyed my volunteer experience I need some time to reflect on its value to the children and general situation in this fascinating country.
I have begun to feel impotent as to the varied needs of the children and families and this was brought home on Tuesday when we visited the mother of Jobita and her younger sister. The family lives across the valley necessitating a tough descent and climb to some adobe houses high in the adjoining hill. The house was small comprising one room and a yard - there is a mud floor and several cuy (guinea pigs) hiding underneath the two beds. In the room Jobita's mother was lying in some pain. Evidently she has recurring stomach problems and had been passing blood. We found a taxi and took her to our helpful doctor who diagnosed a severe infection in the reproductive organs and we transported her to hospital where she was admitted for bed rest, tests and treatment. It turned out her husband has a drinking problem and Jessica, the teacher reproached him forcefully with his failings towards his family and he was duly contrite;
Unfortunately, the next day the mother discharged herself against advice and we are now unsure of what to do.
Lessons have been going OK but I have become increasingly concerned as to the lack of reading material and today bought several books to begin a class library. I also snapped individual and group photos which I have had printed, one for each child, and tomorrow I will take in a cake and say my goodbyes.
Otherwise the week has been without incident except Ivette the volunteer director fell on her face getting out of bed and seriously bruised her nose. She also went to the doctor but thankfully nothing was broken. Also today, Mia Mullarkey from Ireland turned up – she had been a previous volunteer director and had returned to collect some luggage. Maybe she is a distant cousin and by further coincidence she will share with me the same flight to Madrid!
Last evening we went to a great restaurant to say goodbye to Hailey the most longstanding volunteer, a charming 19 year old. The restaurant also has some volunteer projects attached, mostly for children and had a marvelous decor something like a children's wonderland with masses of soft toys and some great models suspended and periodically diving down from the ceiling. The top floor was a mass of cushions apparently for those with more amorous intentions!