August 9, 2016 — Amazon, Peru (Day 10)
Today we boarded the bus at 8:30 and arrived at the port to take the boat to the middle of the Amazon jungle! We reached Cieba Tops Lodge at around noon and had lunch in the hotel before boarding the boat again to treat patients. Noteworthy was the fact that our clinic is a floating watercraft, wobbling through the calm waters of the Amazon River, bringing hope, love, and medical services to the residents of the Amazon.
Along the river, we spotted humble dwellings such as straw huts and wooden bungalows, and children swimming in the far-from-pure waters of the river, without fear of contaminated water, muddy banks, precarious rocks, and dangerous terrains. These sights served as a lecture in a course-pack, reminding me of how privileged I am. I never had to hunt for my food, plant vegetables, pick fruits from trees, raise livestock, drink from turgid waters, or swim in waters that are potentially permeated with bacteria, viruses, and parasites. I know that, no matter how hard I try, I would never understand the joy of the locals in receiving vitamins, the beam in the kids’ eyes on getting brand new toothbrushes, and the indiscriminate trust and gratitude in the eyes of the villagers as we prescribe over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol or Tums and improvise by handing out antibiotic eye drops for them to use on their infected ears.
Hippocrates once said “wherever there is a love of medicine, there must be a love of humanity.” Today, my eyes are opened to another dimension of humanity, a land overflowing with natural resources untainted by our modern “technologies” and “daily comforts,” and its gift of natural resources; therefore it is imperative that I embrace it while I pursue my love of medicine.