Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Here's an account of our first day in Huarocondo, according to Brent:
We woke up at 5:30 to get ready for departure for Huaracondo to work finally! My first time in over a week, and brenna´s first. We were driving thru fog until we broke thru the mountain pass and were above the clouds, and now among frost! Got to Huaracondo but we didn't pass thru where we were going to pick up our translator, Matiasa, so I had to hop a taxi into the nearest big city...okay "community" and look for her. Brenna and I were so worried about finding her (we were calling her cell, her family, but no avail, and imagining her waiting for us at the wrong place) when by quite a tender mercy I suddenly got receptoion, and she did too, and we talked briefly, when reception cut out. But it was enough to get in touch and I took her back to Huarocondo, and we began to work. It was fun at first, b-c we had a list of people getting stoves that day, and we set out. But quickly that list was extinguished and we were set running around the hot empty village looking for any way to find more people to analyze. We got lunch for 3 soles each, and it was pretty funny. 3 soles! One dollar, we got a drink, soup, and main entre. Pretty basic, but still amazing. We recruited a young woman to help us find all the houses in the community who had recently gotten stoves, and set out analyzing them. The place is so small, that anyone would know where everyone lives. We were really blessed b-c our goal was 15 people that day, and we got 18! She was really good to help us. Once we had her, it was smooth sailing. The attitude was different in this community than others, though. Some people said no, or hid from us, or were evasive. But once Matiasa talked to them in Quechua and told them that we were about the new stoves, they would beam and open right up and be so proud of their new ovens. We later found out that when they heard we were doing medical research they were worried we were going to "examen" their whole body or something. It was choice to work in such a high elevation w-in the mountains there. A lot of people were gone at the mandatory city council meeting where you have to attend or get fined, and it ran 5 hours! Booo. But the analysis is always fun during the fact. It´s what we came to do, and is gratifying to cary out. Brenna and I tag team it, she takes down the gps coordinates, I do the questionnaire, she does the blood oxygen levels, and records that and the spirometry. Matiasa explains the consent and the spirometer, and then we bounce! The spirometer is the most difficult part of it all. They have to blow with great force into this machine...and they think it's funny or embarrassing and often don't give it their all, which is critical for the outcome. Way fun. We then caught the bus home, where Brenna and I talked about the day and all things. We watched the stars. Came home and took the laundry to the mat, and were dog tired, ready to retire, when we ran into David (ProPeru staff), who invited us to dinner. It was 800, so I was so grumpy to comply at first b-c it was bedtime, but when we met his really educated Peruvian friend and went to the place mentioned for dinner, we had wonderful eats and a really educated, late night dinner conversation, talking about American, Peruvian, and world issues. Very stimulating. Then home to bed...sooooo tired.
Here you can see a few fun pics of our research adventures. The lady with the colorful satchel is our cute little translator. Notice the one lady with her recently improved stove with a chimney! She was so proud!