Sunday, March 2, 2008

Peru Surgery Trip

As some of may have heard I recently spent 10 days in Peru on a humanitarian trip with a group called The Hope Alliance. This is a great charity group that organizes medical trips for many different areas, but does a lot of things in Peru. We went to the south end of Peru and worked first in the town of Nazca and Palpa. The area is specifically known for the Nazca lines, which are large figures that they made in the stone and dirt (as big as a football field in some cases) and because it never rains in these areas these figures have lasted centuries. They are so large that you can really only appreciate them by flying over them.
The conditions for surgery were much more primitive then we are used to in the states. We had to operate at about 85+ degrees and the humidity was 80% usually. When we had a full day of surgery I couldn't drink enough to stay hydrated and we would have have nurses wipe our forehead so we didn't drip sweat into our operating field.

This is was a pretty typical O.R. Room.

This was one of the wounds we treated. I will let you count toes here.

We had an anesthesiologist that didn't show up one morning and so while we waited one of the local tour guides said there was some Incan ruins and mummies in the back of this persons house. These were heads of people who had been beheaded and then they would bring there heads back as proof they killed them. It was a little creepy to say the least.

This picture was hanging in every operating room that we did surgery. I thought this was an awesome poster, and you can always use a little divine intervention in the O.R.

This little guy was in the hospital for pneumonia and I gave him one of the blankets Juli made and set me with.

This sign was at the entrance of one the hospitals we operated at. In case you were wondering how to avoid getting TB.

On our trip we were mainly there to do surgeries, but one day we went to a small village where the only doctor had left and so we ran a clinic. We were supposed to see 4-5 of the sickest patients in the area, and when we got there we had 200 people lined up at the door. I think we saw around 130 patients. It was CRAZY!!!!!
The first 5 days of our trip we worked and did surgeries. The last three days we traveled and saw some of the sites. This a church built by the Spanish who came and conquered the Incans. The thing that was weird was inside of this church their were walls and portions of the old Incan temples and they built right on top of them.This was inside. You can see the precision with which they built. There is no mortar between these stones. They just line up perfectly.
This stone was estimated at 120 tons and all the stones were moved from a quarry that was miles away.

We went directly from Nazca which is around sea level to Cuzco that is over 11000 feet elevation. I took the picture of the New balance sign for my Dad who may as well own stock in the company because that is the only kind of shoe he runs in.

These pictures were from a place called the Sacred Valley near Cusco. On the right if you look close there our tombs in the side of the mountain. It was incredible to see where the Incas lived the valley was miles below, and they would build their homes at the top of the mountains. Anywhere they built there were hundreds of the terraces shown on the left that they would plant crops on.

Here is a few people in their traditional dress. The thing you found out very quick with them is that every time you took their picture they wanted money.

These next few pics our from Machu Picchu. This place was so amazing. It was like walking onto a city that had been frozen in time. It was a very surreal feeling, and one I believe you can only truly experience by going (which I would HIGHLY recommend).

We did a hike on a mountain adjacent to Machu Picchu and on this hike we hiked nothing but stairs and ladders for 2 hours straight. One of the ladders we went up was 120 rungs long. Most of this trip all you could see was the jungle until you got to the very top and walked out on a ledge and this was our view. The hike up was a killer, but it was real scary coming down with legs that shook like a leaf (2hrs of the stair stepper at 10,000 feet will do that), and having thousand foot drop offs around you.

Needless to say the trip was incredible. Both the touring portion and the medical side of things were something I will always remember. I have so many more pictures (and stories) and so if you want to see or hear more come on over.


Holmes Family said...

Wow!!! What an awesome and great experience. I love the picture of Christ standing behind the surgeons. And also the fact Juli made a blanket that was given to the little boy! Thank you so much for sharing this experience. Take care, Jess

tamiz said...

Very fun! Too bad you couldn't bring your wife with you!
Tami (Juli's cousin)

JoHanna and Michael Weller said...

You are such a great Guy! I love the fact that you can put the knowledge you have gained and your talents to work for such a great purpose. What a blessing!

C&H Martineau said...

Way to go Colin! I have always wanted to go to Machu Pichu (Sp?) and hear is is actually a pretty spiritual place. ...yucky foot picture.

Brad and Tahnie said...

I posted a comment forever ago...looks like it didn't show up. Anyway, Brad and I had watched a special on Peru and of course they had mentioned this place. I would love to go there someday!
Now I call that you do a new post!

Lingards said...

This was truly nifty!!
(Tami's sister, Juli's cousin)

Mandy-Joe-Chase-James said...

Okay--I know you are busy but a new post please--how are we supposed to know what is going on if you don't tell us--huh? I admit--I am nosy and I like to know what everyone is up to--so post dang-it!!!!!! j/k
Love ya

Holmes Family said...

We are going to have our blog be access only. I would like to invite you to continue to view our blog. If you want to please send an e-mail to