9th Annual Maternal-Fetal Health Summit

Learning together with Peruvian doctors, nurses, and midwives

Posted by Michael Huntsman March 15-26, 2018

There were 32 of us in Peru this year. It was such a fun and amazing group. Doctor Sean Esplin and two sonographers that he works with at IMC, and their families, Amber Eastman, and her son Caiden, and Amber’s parents John and Sheena Harr. Linda Walker and her husband Darryl and their sons Austin and Cole, and daughter Kaitlin. Mark and Nicki Dowdle and their grandson Josh. Patty Wheatley and her friend Debra. Scott and Carla Waldram, Orlo and Laurel Maughn, Lynette and Gary Mittelsteadt, Dave McClain and his daughter Lindsay, and the Monroe’s; Matt, Shannon, Kate, Abby, and Luke. And, Bardett and Annalee Fausett. And, Chad Fugate and I.

e arrived in Cusco on Friday after leaving home the day before. We use Friday as a day to recover from traveling, get use to the altitude (it's over 11,000 feet here), and walk around the town to get our bearings.

Early Saturday morning we drove from Cusco, 120 miles to the west, through beautiful green-covered mountains, with snow covering some of the distant peaks, to Abancay, Peru. While we were away, Dr. Esplin and the sonographers stayed in Cusco and trained Peruvian medical professionals on ultrasound techniques.

While our medical professionals trained doctors, nurses, and midwives at the hospital in Abancay on difficult deliveries, helping bables breathe, treating post-partum hemorrhage, and suturing women who tear during delivery, the rest of us walked to an orphanage located 6-blocks from the hospital. There are more than 100 children at this orphanage. We had the time of our life doing activities with the children, basketball, soccer, putting bows in the girls hair and painting their fingernails, playing marbles and with balloons, and learning of their talents. They sang to us and we sang to them. One 15-year old boy wanted to show John Harr his drawings. They became quick friends and weeks later, John mailed him some art supplies. I played a game of horse with one young man. He was short and young but boy could he make baskets! At the end of our time with the children, we went to the market and bought food stuffs; bags of rice, potatoes, corn, and such to donate to the orphanage.

After the orphanage we visited the young men and young women at an Abancay Ward. Patty had put together a gift bag for each of them. They each even got a CTR ring!!

On Sunday morning we went to church which is located literally against the backside of our hotel, at least the church soccer field is. After Church we had some cultural and historical training at Sacsayhuaman. We rode in a bus to the archealogical site, toured the site for 4 hours, then walked back to the Plaza De Armas in the center of Cusco. It rained a bit while we were there, with loud thunderclaps at times. On the way back we enjoyed some hot corn on the cob. Different from sweet corn, Peruvian corn or "Cuzco corn" is a large-kernel variety of field corn from the Andes. The kernels are larger and chewier and have a starchy, hefty texture, rather than a sweet taste. We were given salt and white cheese to eat with the corn.

On Monday, we began our cultural and historical training with a tour of the Sacred Valley, going to Corao, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and on a train to Aguas Calientes, which is the town at the base of Machu Picchu.

On Tuesday everyone enjoyed exploring the ruins at Machu Picchu with a hike to the Sun Gate. In the afternoon, we took the train back to Cusco, where our medical team did training with the Bomberos (Fire Fighters).

On Wednesday morning our group split up. The Sonographers did more training in Cusco, while the non-medical humanitarians visited the village of CasaCcunca and had activities with the school children. CasaCcunca is located in the high Andees above 12,000 feet.

The rest of the team went on a 240 mile bus trip to Puno and Juliaca. we visited the Uros Islands (and two schools there) an orphanage, and some historical and cultural training.

The Final Frontier

The dreams of yesterday are the hopes of today and the reality of tomorrow. Science has not yet mastered prophecy. We predict too much for the next year and yet far too little for the next ten.

Reaching for the Stars

As we got further and further away, it [the Earth] diminished in size. Finally it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful you can imagine. That beautiful, warm, living object looked so fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would crumble and fall apart. Seeing this has to change a man.

To go places and do things that have never been done before – that’s what living is all about.

Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

As I stand out here in the wonders of the unknown at Hadley, I sort of realize there’s a fundamental truth to our nature, Man must explore, and this is exploration at its greatest.

Placeholder text by Space Ipsum. Photographs by NASA on The Commons.