Our first full day in Cusco was on Saturday, April 4th. While our group of medical professionals spent the day training midwives, doctors and nurses in Belen Pampa hospital, the others went to the town of Iscuchaca to visit and orphanage. We donated supplies to the orphanage (pots and pans for their kitchen), school supplies and enjoyed activities with the children.
Today, our whole group traveled 3 hours to the town of Sicuani for a day of training with maternal-fetal health professionals at Sicuani hospital. Non medical participants provided support, coordinated the distribution of newborn and delivery kits to the Sicuani medical professionals, helped in workshops, documented the meeting, administered the evaluation process and served in the maternity ward in the hospital.
The first stop on our day of cultural and historical training was at the Llama farm, where our group learned about the various types of llamas and, historically, what their pelts were used for, which, primarily, was for yarn to make blankets and rugs. We also received a lesson on the dyes used to color the wool and that the source of the dyes come from the berries and parts of plants.
Next, we got our first glimse of the Sacred Valley and continued discovering and learning of the critical role this area has had in providing food sources for many people. The climate, rich soil, plants and waterways provide an ideal place for grains and vegetables to thrive.
We passed through the village of Pisac, on our way to the ruins. We learned about how terraces where vegetables and flowers are grown, have different climes based on their elevation, which limit and make possible growing different plants.
Our next stop was to the village of Ollantaytambo. Along the way we followed the route of the Urubamba river, a huge waterway that provides a neccessary water source for the farms along its banks and which, eventually, empties into the Amazon river.
Travel to the Sacred Valley. Market in Pisac or Pisac ruins. Then on to Ollantaytambo ruins and catch train to Aguas Calientes. Ollantaytambo is a town and an Inca archaeological site used, during the Inca Empire, as the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti who conquered the region.
Next, we boarded a train that took us to the town of Aguas Calientes, which sits at the base of the ruins of Machu Picchu. Aguas Calientes is the base where millions come each year to learn of unique archaeological sites that hint of the rich heritage of the Peruvian people.
After our visit to Machu Picchu we returned, by train, to Ollantaytambo where we boarded a bus that took us three or so hours, over a 14,000 foot mountain pass to descend into the Peruvian tropical jungle to the town of Quillabamba, to continue our medical training.
After finishing our training at the Quillabamba hospital, we traveled back to Cusco by bus. Our medical team went to a suburb of Cusco called San Sebastian where they trained police and fire fighters on skills needed to respond successfully to people with injuries and other urgent needs.