August 4th, 2016– Travel Day!
After recovering from the 5:00am wake-up call turpor, a brief continental breakfast, and a heavy dose of packing and weighing, we gathered on the bus to take us to the Jorge Chávez International Airport for our flight to Iquitos. We descended at noon onto the Iquitos International Airport and was instantly greeted by the hot, humid tropical air and the sight of palm trees. We landed in Iquitos amidst the beating of drums, the dirt roads, and cuddly kids leaning on our baggage cart– sights so foreign that it leaves uneffaceable memories.
We enjoyed a wonderful authentic Peruvian meal at a nearby hotel and did our introductions and ice-breakers, concluding with descriptions of research projects and acknowledgements of previous mission trip personnel. At 3pm, we boarded the bus once again to head to our clinic site and set up clinic. Personnel in uniforms stood guard at the entrance of the clinic, as if protecting a battalion from invaders, making me realize just how much esteem the people of Iquitos place on their medical infrastructure; possibly due to the scarcity of healthcare resources. We loaded our supplies and medications into different rooms and enjoyed the power of teamwork.
One thing I learned today was that water in Iquitos cost a third of what it cost in Lima, and that beer bottle caps are toys for little children. Tripeds and motorcycles replaced cars on the streets, indicative of the poverty of the people of Iquitos.
Our night ended with a dinner provided by the mayor’s office, and traditional dance performances. What a lovely way to top off a busy yet fulfilling day.