Amazon Promise August 2007 Trip Reflection
I can't stop talking about the unforgettable experience that I had in the jungle. The medical team and crew were my family for the two week expedition, and I felt right at home. As unfamiliar as the terrain was, I had complete confidence in the crew. Not only did I make wonderful memories, I established friendships that I was remember for a long time. From the moment I was picked up from the airport, I was taken through a whirlwind. The smells and sounds of the city and jungle have been permanently imprinted in my memory. After our long clinic days, I would return to the lodge to reflect on how we helped the people in the village. The one question that kept on reoccurring in my mind was: will our work be sustainable when we leave? How will these villages be able to receive medical attention when they need it? I struggled with this question by thinking about the clinics and how the pharmacy gave the required medication and how the wound care station provided lice washes and scabies treatments, but I still wondered how Amazon Promise was going to continue providing quality medical care. I was impressed to see that one step to solving this problem lied in the individuals that were in each village who were responsible for the sick people in the area. They were known as the Promoters of Health, and throughout the two-week trip they were able to learn how to suture, start an IV, and how to take a detailed patient history. This was one way that I saw where Amazon Promise is trying to ensure that the people in the villages are receiving proper medical attention. Another exciting addition to the program is the new clinic in Belen. I was so honored to attend the "minga" where we collaborated with the local people and cleaned the building site. I have faith that this clinic will help improve the quality of life of the surrounding area. I think this is such a sustainable way to help the city of Belen.
I was pleasantly surprised by the living conditions throughout the two weeks. The service and accommodations at the Yacumama Lodge exceeded every expectation that I had. Louisa's cooking each day was heavenly and kept me looking forward to each meal. There was no doubt that she prepared the food with love. Along side Louisa, was the enthusiastic crew that made the trip entirely effortless. I was expecting to carry all of the medical supplies, and instead I was helped off the boat and led to a completely stocked clinic.
I would proudly describe the clinics as organized chaos. The chaos part is not due to the medical team and concise direction, but it describes the overwhelming groups of people that wanted to see the doctor. I was blown away how the clinic days flew by and how many patients were able to pass through. I vividly remember sitting in the pharmacy and admiring the simplicity of the operation. I appreciated the faith and confidence that my fellow members had in my abilities because that alone allowed me to grow. The opportunities to work at multiple stations and ask several questions gave me the freedom to learn. This open and loving environment made the trip completely worthwhile. I was able to love and embrace the patients as well as learn from them. Hands down you can consider me a devoted supporter of this program, and I will always be of service to the members. I can't thank you enough for the chance to accompany the group on this trip and be a part of this special operation.