To finish off a very productive week, all of the volunteers were able to take a tour of Peru’s jungle in La Merced Saturday, Sunday andMonday. We left our house in Huancayo Saturday morning and traveled for about five hours into the Peruvian jungle. Once we arrived in our beautiful hotel Los Portales, we washed up and jumped in the pool. While the stay at the hotel that evening was quite long, we made the best of it by swimming, 14 oct 2010 … playing volleyball in the pool, and playing soccer. After a few hours we walked into the town’s square for a yummy dinner and delicious organic ice cream. The next morning, the real fun started! We ate breakfast at the hotel and headed to see a very famous and well-known celebrity figure. He’s been in a few American movies and in tons of commercials. We had the honor to meet the one and only Pepelucho, the capybara of La Merced. He was very calm and still as we all took pictures with him. He’s very used to being famous! After our encounter with Pepelucho we went to a butterfly sanctuary, where we were able to see a whole butterfly exhibit, not to mention a boa constrictor, turtles, and alligators as well. After the exhibit, we made our way to the waterfall. The half hour drive to the waterfall was so worth it! This enormous fall stood at several hundred feet high and the white water was gushing down creating a medium-sized pool. The volunteers were more than ready to jump in and swim in the exotic waters. Following the small trip to the waterfall we visited a coffee shop/museum and were able to taste authentic Peruvian coffee. Not to mention being able to smell the most expensive coffee in the world. This coffee is made with the excrement of a small animal called coati. Even though we weren’t able to taste it, it was for sale and simply being in its presence was pretty amazing. It was a very good end to our second day there. Monday morning we prepared ourselves for the notorious jungle hike. Before we went on the actual hike, Neto, our homestay dad, took us to an indigenous village where we got to see and hear the local language and dances. It was a very neat experience. We then made our way to the actual hike. Our jungle tour, Jordan, was very friendly and made sure we were all knowledgably ready for the hike. For example, he gave us a thorough demonstration on what to do in case we got bit by one of the three poisonous snakes in the jungle. Luckily, no one was hurt in the process of the hike. Even though the hike was hard due to all the scaling and going upstream through the waterfalls, each time every single volunteer was able to complete each waterfall, the feeling of accomplishment was greater than the fear of doing it. Although the next morning the feeling of sore muscles would also be overwhelming! We all had such a great time spending a few days in the jungle! But now, back to work!
After a magical weekend in the jungle, we start our third week of work in the clinics and schools. The volunteers at the Huari clinic have been working very hard on the parasite campaign and their work continues this week. All of the samples have been taken from the Huari elementary school. Some of them have already been collected and sent to the lab. The results presented that almost half (about 24) of all samples (56 samples) tested so far were positive for parasites. This shows why we are doing this campaign in the first place. There is a great need for parasite treatment and education to prevent this condition. The volunteers kept handing out more sample cups in different grades and will be collected by the end of this week to be tested. The clinic at Chupaca will begin the parasite campaign next week. They will be testing 20 kids ages 1-5 in the barrio Santa Rosa, where there is a great need for parasite treatment as well. The volunteers that are at the Huari School keep working very hard to teach English and many public health topics to the kids. Our volunteer work in Huancayo is going very well and everyone is learning a lot! We cannot wait to see the end results of the parasite campaign and all of our hard work being paid off!