Out of the four medical centers that The Denan Project (TDP) is funding in some of the most impoverished parts of the world, namely Ethiopia, Peru and Mongolia, I must admit that our medical center in Uratari, Peru speaks to me the most. Perhaps it’s because I saw the community people building it themselves, brick by brick…perhaps…
In addition to the routine due-diligence activities, this time I had a special reason to be there. I wanted to work with the six high school students from The Pingry School (including three volunteers of TDP) who are visiting TDP sites as part of their leadership program organized by The World Leadership School.
[This report was originally written during my visit to TDP’s project sites in Peru in late June, 2018 in order to share the experience with my fellow board members and other volunteers at TDP.]
Day 0: A Country of Mountains, Jungle and Ocean
Soaking in the ocean air after a 17-hour journey from Munich to Lima. So began my third visit to this enchanting nation where you can climb the High Andes, turn to the Amazon rainforest, and touch the Pacific ocean.
It’s been less than three years since Liz and I visited Uratari. What a fabulous surprise we were in for when we returned with Dick, and Jarret this May. The new ultrasound machine and ambulance were just the icing on the cake. The tiny, roofless, partially-built clinic had turned into a thriving little hospital, complete with a doctor, nurses, a dentist, pharmacist, lab technician, and most importantly, patients filled with hope.
The celebration of the local officials was also joyous, (we even got gold medals). But the recognition really deserves to be directed toward Dick and his colleagues. For Liz and me, the satisfaction of knowing that we are involved in a small way, was celebration enough.
After meetings with Herben Alvarez, the mayor of Limatambo (a terrific guy), we visited an amazingly modern pre-school, which is a prototype for the one planned for Uratari. We then saw the medical outreach program thriving in Pivil. In the ancient church, the doctor performed ophthalmology exams, while the dentist was at work nearby. The micro-loan beekeepers were proudly showing off their new projects, as were the guinea pig farmers back in Uratari the day before. On our way home that evening, we scouted a possible location for a future trout farm.
We were again honored to be invited to the baptism of the Mayor’s son; a beautiful ceremony in a 16th century church, followed by a four-hour party. Every step of the way, day after day, we were accompanied by our amazing partners from Tengo un Sueno; Salvador, Coti and Lourdes Herencia.
Driving through the magnificent countryside each day, we couldn’t help but feel enormous pride in bringing medical assistance and commerce to people who, by circumstance, live far more difficult lives than we do. We look forward to our continuing support, and especially our next visit to Peru.