July 30, 2010
5 am is starting to be the common hour to wake up these days. Life in Peru begins at dawn. I am starting to appreciate my early mornings and how much work can get done in one day if the time is spent productively. The past weeks I have been drawing many of the first aid pictures that accompany the health manual DESEA is putting together. It has been challenging to put such complex practices on paper but in communities where illiteracy is not a foreign phenomenon the health concerns are still present. It is important to create tools which can be used in emergency situations that are comprehendible.
We began our four day First Aid training workshop two weeks ago. Four of the Qhalis (community health workers) were attending. The first day we went over some “obstruction of the airway” in adult, children and infants. The Qhalis were very eager to learn the different techniques and life saving practices. We spend six hours a day teaching them First Aid. The little space we were we taught them was located right next to a school in the community of Chaypa some 4200 meters high. By the fourth day, the Qhalis had learned as much as certified medics are learning in years. Their sharpness and motivation to learn First Aid was incredibly inspiring. The fourth day was all about simulations. Six students from the Becky Fund had a grand time playing with Halloween left over’s such as fake broken femur bones, fake blood and some glue-on cuts. We dressed up as victims and staged different scenarios such as car accidents, choking incidents and a bus crash. The Qhalis waited outside as we prepared the scene. When the door opened signalling that we were ready, they rushed in, threw on some gloves and started attending to us as though it was a real life situation. They did such a good job using all the skills they had learned. At the end of the day we decided to stage a scene on the playground. We invited the school children to come watch their health workers in action. Again the Qhalis did a flawless job of providing First Aid. By the end of the activity, our Quechua speaking nurse Vilma asked the children if they can trust their health workers. The children shouted a big “SIIIII” and started clapping in approval which surely put a smile on each Qhalis face.