I only have a week left in Collique! I can't believe how quickly the time went!
On Monday of this week Blanca, the OSA program director, took me to a place called San Genaro which was about a 2 hour trip from Collique. San Genaro is another non-profit organization that is very similar to OSA. San Genaro provides educational, nutritional, physical, and spiritual support to more than 50 poor children in the area, and feeds about 80 children daily. Blanca wanted me to experience another organization that is impacting the lives of kids and families in Peru. The staff members at San Genaro were so welcoming and excited about my visit. The kids eat lunch there everyday, just like the kids here at OSA, so they were even gracious enough to feed me! We also wanted to make a visit here to pass out warm hats and scarves that women at South Main (my church in Houston) made. The children were all beautiful and so grateful for the gift.
On Tuesday, I went with Gloria again to distribute more prenatal vitamins. Gloria had A LOT of patients today, so we only passed out about 10 bottles and then she had to go back to the clinic. Because we finished early, I waited in Gloria's office with her while she did her check ups with her patients. I felt awkward being in there at first, but apparently this wasn't unusual...other patients and staff members kept walking in and out of the room during her appointments too. This made me so grateful for the privacy we have in the US when we go to the doctor! I was also shocked at how unsterile the examinations were. Things such as the examination table were not cleaned between each appointment, and all the women used the same examination gown. Also, without getting too graphic, the nurse used the same gloves for two different check ups! She only rinsed her hands with water between appointments. Although I was shocked by a lot of this, I was glad I witnessed it. Now I understand more what its like to receive medical attention in a poor country, and will be forever grateful for the healthcare we have in the US. Gracias a Dios! Another thing I thought about during Gloria's appointments, and something I've been noticing throughout my whole experience here with pregnant women, is how non-existent the excitement of pregnancy is. I've been thinking a lot about it, and I think because it is just so common, the women don’t get as excited about having a baby. Or maybe the baby wasn't wanted in the first place. Many of them don't get excited about the gender of the baby or what they're going to name it. In the United States, its the opposite. We rejoice with expecting mothers by throwing showers, suggesting names, and buying presents. I really doubt most of the women in Peru get this same attention.
I had an amazing morning yesterday teaching my second Estimulacion Temprana class! In these 2 hour classes, I have been teaching the women how important it is to show love and affection to their babies in different ways so they can mature and develop. I was so excited because 8 mothers and their beautiful babies showed up to the class! Most of the babies were from 1-5 months, and a couple were from 8-12 months. I had a lot of great activities planned, but was nervous about how they would go over with 8 babies (9 including Diego) in the room! But thankfully, everything was a success and, for the most part, all the babies were content and happy! I taught the mothers many activities to do with their babies that would stimulate their senses of touch, vision, and hearing. I also showed them how to make a couple really inexpensive toys that would stimulate their babies such as a rattle made out of an empty coke or water bottle and little bells. Most of the women cannot afford to buy many toys for their children, so this was a good alternative! I also gave out prizes of blankets and toys if the mothers answered a question correctly. We had such a great time in this class that I'm already looking forward to next Thursday! Let me know if you have any ideas of activities we could do with music next week!
I am already dreading leaving Collique next Friday! Its not because I'm not excited to come home (I am, Mom!), but because its going to be VERY hard to leave the amazing kids I've been spending every day with. They have impacted my life in great ways! Its also going to be very difficult to leave all the OSA staff members, who have been my family for the last month and a half! Please pray that it will be as easy as it can be to leave everyone next week!
I love you all! Thanks for reading and praying!