As a long-term volunteer with SVH, I was fortunate enough to share a piece of my experience with my family. In September, much to my surprise, my dad and step-mom – George and Sophie – came down to visit Ollanta to see what exactly I had been up to for the past 6 months. George is a surgeon and Sophie is a nurse practitioner at Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Prior to their trip to Peru, they collected donations from Fairview: everything from ace wraps and latex gloves to pain medications and vitamins.
Their participation in SVH didn’t end there. My dad and Sophie were eager to venture into the remote villages where we work to provide primary medical care and get a true feel for life in the Sacred Valley. So we piled into a combi and drove the 3 hours to Kelccanka, one of the communities I had been in charge of during my time as Program Coordinator. They met our two promotoras, Beatriz and Ana Cecilia, who helped them with triage and patient intake. I served as my dad’s translator and we saw a handful of patients together. Sophie remarks, “Treating patients in a makeshift mobile clinic was a humbling experience. It was hard to believe that the young man with the fever and raging tonsillitis was not going home to rest but back to the fields to continue hoeing in the dry, rocking soil.”
I could tell that Peru touched both of their hearts in a special way, just as it had done for me. Right before the holidays, my dad and Sophie gave a presentation at Fairview Hospital to share their experience with their coworkers and some of the people who had generously donated medications and supplies. About 60-70 people attended the presentation to learn about SVH and their experience working the medical clinics, as well as to witness my dad in his poncho and Sophie in her traditional weaver’s skirt. The turn out was greater than expected, and I am thankful to my dad and Sophie for sharing their experience with our community.
Written by Former SVH Project Coordinator Amy Veinoglou