Another day filled with interesting work and people. Edward (a Yancana Huasy therapist) came bright and early at 7:30 a.m. to take Sammie and me to Yancana Huasy by taxi. Our colleagues are very security conscious and do everything possible to ensure our safety. This morning Sammie broke one of the cardinal rules by partially opening her window to take a picture with her (very nice) camera. Edward, sitting in the front seat, called her on it right away and she put the window up (after snapping the photo). We joked that Edward has “ojos” in the back of his head. He showed us that he could see what she was doing in the side view mirror! After all that, the picture was out of focus. This level of concern may sound extreme but we know Peruvians whose cell phones were snatched from their hands through an open taxi window; stories abound regarding thieves who are on bicycles, grab things through open windows and are gone before anyone can register what has happened.
We arrived at Yancana Huasy for a teaching session with their therapists. Dana Corfield of Equip KIDS translated for me. I shared an introductory presentation about 24 hour postural care, particularly night-time postural care. This postural care approach has been pioneered by Liz and John Goldsmith in England for many years now. In January I went to England to study with them for a week, and am thrilled to be bringing their approach to the United States and also to share it in Peru. I believe this approach has the potential to prevent vast amounts of human suffering amongst individuals with movement problems, while being non-invasive, inexpensive and empowering for families. For me, there is everything to recommend it! To read more about this work, visit www.posturalcareskills.com.
Following that session, Chris Ventura (OT) took over to teach a workshop for parents of children who are receiving wheelchairs this year. She covered basic principles of seating, care and maintenance and then adjourned to a practical session outside.
There parents learned about the different types of wheelchairs and practiced wheelchair mobility/safety skills for caregivers on ramps and steps. At least 70 parents participated, by our count. Some brought their children, who will participate in our clinics next week. Chris and the entire Yancana Huasy therapy team do a wonderful job working with families and this was a great example of their educational role.
All educational sessions completed, we went out to lunch! Papas a la huancaina (boiled potatoes covered in a delicious cheese/chile sauce) and arroz con pollo (green rice with chicken) were accompanied by maracuya (passion fruit) juice. Chris had her favorite, ceviche, and gave me a taste. It was all delicious. The fresh tropical fruits here have spoiled me – I am no longer even interested in the bananas and mangoes available where I live in Montana. They just cannot compare with fresh fruit grown in-country and eaten at its peak.
To round out a very full day I visited with Fr. David Farrell, President of Yancana Huasy and the first person with whom I communicated in 2005 when I learned of the place, which has become so dear to me. Afterward he put us in a secure taxi to send us home and here we are – getting ready to welcome 13 people (including my husband Rick) in the wee hours of Sunday morning! Laura Miklautsch arrived last night and Rossy Gilchrist arrives tomorrow afternoon, at which point we will be complete. And the clinic work will begin on Monday morning.