Monday, December 21, 2009

Even paperwork can be an adventure in Peru

We are still working on getting authorization for the medical team from Beaumont Bible Church. It's interesting how in Peru this is an interesting and even adventurous thing.

This morning I went out with Dr. Alejandro Landas, the dentist who is helping me with this (he is head of the health department post by Munay Wasi and works with the NEW Munay association.)
I went to meet him at his office at 11 sharp, per his request, and had to wait for twenty minutes while he finished with a patient. When the drilling sound stopped, three VERY small nuns in large brown habits came out of his office. It seemed so much like a comedy sketch that I had to struggle a little to maintain a straight face as I set out with him to the Health Department, a complex maze of buildings, to pick up the document that certifies our doctors to work in the country.

When we got there we were informed that the document was still on its way (it's been coming for two days) and would arrive tomorrow.

Then we went to the Regional Hospital, a complex maze of blue buildings, to look for the Health Department Director for Apurimac, figuring that the mere existence of the document would be enough to allow us to plan the medical campaign. He wasn't there, but we did see dead bodies from a wreck over the weekend being loaded on a truck. I thought I was imagining the smell until I saw a group of nurses with their noses covered.

Now off to the Health Department again, but uphill this time, to look for the Director. He wasn't there, either, So Alec called him on his cell phone and found out he was at the coliseum. So off to the coliseum!

Arriving, we found nothing happening. Turns out that the balance had run out on Alec's prepaid phone, and he didn't hear WHICH coliseum. So off to the other coliseum!

This coliseum was a scene of pandemonium. It was the site of the municipal chocolatada, where the children were being given free chocolate and toys by the city. Mobs of children in their school uniforms were pounding on the closed doors, and mothers were grabbing the presents and trying to send their kids through again. Policemen were on hand to prevent this happening. We made our way through the crowd, the policemen letting Dr. Alec, a known health officer, through.
Inside we found the director, presumably on hand to watch out for injuries and have his picture taken for the paper. Also the Hospital Director. After a few minutes waiting, and watching the children come through for their presents, we met with them both. The Health Dept. thought we needed another document as well, the Hospital didn't think so, but the Health Dept had the final say. So tomorrow when we get the first document from the Colegio de Medicos we will use it to apply for a document from the Ministry of Health.

A guard let us out the back way, avoiding the crowd, and off back uphill to the dentist's office.

One item done on today's list. Next to the bank, where the ATM gobbled my card . . .