Bikes

On the weekends we sometimes like to do a little exploring. A few weeks ago Benjamin, Stephen, John Paul, and I made it up to the top of Capitan Rumi on our bikes. This can be a bit of a challenge, not only because you are pedeling uphill for a few miles, but you are at 10,000 feet when you reach the top, which causes a little extra breathing. The boys did great and we were all rewarded with the beautiful view as the sun began to set. The best part of this ride, however, is the decent. Unfortunately, a rock that was agled differently then Benjamin thought caused him to fly over the handlebars and also resulted in an immediately flat tire. We were very thankful that he survived with little more than a few scrapes on his elbow and side. His guardian angels were definitely watching out for him since he and his bike ended up about 15 feet from the rock he hit. Fortunately Stephen had a repair kit and pump in his backpack and we were back riding in about 5 minutes.

The next day some of the neighborhood kids wanted to try and go up the mountain. I had mentioned to them a few days before that we should all try and go sometime, but I really wasn’t wanting to climb the mountain two days in a row. 🙂 After riding almost half way up, the boys were all pretty tired and I didn’t argue when they all agreed to take another trail down the mountain. No wonder they were tired. Only one of the bikes had the ability to change gears. Another had gears, but no derailers or cables, therefore he would stop and physically move the chain to a different gear.

For the past month or so the doctors in the Peruvian health system have been on strike.  This past week, the strike ended (from what I’m told), yet Diospi Suyana continues to stay quite busy.  Most mornings I pass a long line of people as I ride up the hill with my bike.  We can only take a certain amount per day and its based on a lottery system, so some patients often wait a few days before they are seen.

Many are awed by the hospital once they get in.  We start out with a worship service and I’ve witnessed people taking pictures and videos of almost the whole program.  During this time they get to here the good news of the gospel, listen/sing to good music, and sit in a clean a beautiful chapel, something many have never experienced.

 

Benjamin and JP heading up the mountain

Benjamin and JP heading up the mountain

Passing the only house on the mountain.

Benjamin passing the only house on the mountain.

Taking in the mountains at the top.

Taking in the mountains at the top.

Fixing the flat.  He flew from the rock at the botom of the pic to where they are at now.

Fixing the flat. He flew from the rock at the botom of the pic to where they are at now.

The trail on "the edge"

The trail on “the edge”

Heading down.

Heading down.

The neighbor boys taking a rest on the way up the next day.

The neighbor boys taking a rest on the way up the next day.

The line oustside the hospital.

The line oustside the hospital.

The morning worship service.

The morning worship service.

A little traffic while riding my bike to work.

A little traffic while riding my bike to work.

Admiring the rainbow over our house with the neighbor boy Heber.

Admiring the rainbow over our house with the neighbor boy Heber.

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What a Process!

Finalmente!

Finalmente!

Its amazing, but Stephen and I finally have our Peruvian driver’s license! It took over two months and 7 trips to Abancay (a 1 1/2 hour drive), but we can now put this experience behind us. 🙂 It normally takes 4 trips, but we ran into some additional hiccups.

After turning in copies of your DNI, your diploma, a notorized letter stating you have an address in Peru, and some passport photos, you can get started with the process. The first visit is for a physical and psychological evaluation. They also have you take a short IQ test during this time. Of course all of this is in Spanish, so the 40-50 question psych test was a bit challenging. I actually scored 1 point below the mimimum amount, but the instructor said since Spanish was not my first language, he would pass me. 🙂 At the end of the test you have to draw a picture of a person for them to evaluate. Stephen was done before I was so I was able to hear the instructor giving him a hard time about his picture. “Eyes don’t look like that,” and “Where is the ground? Is your person just floating?”

Visit #2 we were expecting to take the exam, but didn’t know it was only given on certain days. Of course we were there on the wrong day.

Visit #3 we took the written exam which we had studied for. We were told the majority was multiple choice and then it had a section where you have to write in the name of a triffic sign, “No Voltear a la izquierda” (No left turn) or “No Camine por la Pista” (Can’t walk on the hwy). Unfortunately, the multiple choice test was nothing like what we had studied; they said it was the correct test, but it must have been for a different type of license since it was asking mechanical questions or what you should/shouldn’t do while driving a bus.?? Anyway, when I questioned the lady overseeing the test, she proceeded to give me all the answers. So we “passed” the written part.

The next week (visit #4) we went for our driving test. Unfortunately they didn’t tell us the week before that they would all be in Lima. Therefore they told us to come back the next week. 🙂

It can be difficult to change your schedule every week, so we had to wait a couple weeks before we were able to get back to take our driving test (for visit #5). The test is giving about 10 minutes from the center of town where they have set up a little driving course. You wait your turn with about 50 other people and get to perform for the whole audience. Fortunately we were able to parallel park, stop at the red light, and back into a parking space using only our mirrors. When we completed this they made us sign some papers and told us we could pick up our licenses anytime after the next Wednesday.

Three days later we got a phone call telling us we had forgotten to sign the “RICK” after our driving test. This had to be signed before they could issue our license. We would have been glad to sign the crazy “RICK” when we were in Abancay if they only would have told us! One more quick trip (#6) to sign the “RICK.” They then said we could pick up our license in about a week.

Ten days passed and Stephen called to see if our licenses were ready. Nope, not yet. So we wait another week and call. Great! They are ready!

When we arrive (visit #6) they can’t find our licenses and finally a guy comes out saying that when we signed the “RICK” we signed on the line and it was supposed to be only in the white blank space. Seriously! The lady watched us sign it and then looked over the paper and never said anything about our signatures needing to be in the white area instead of on the line!

After voicing some frustrations he told us to sign on a blank piece of paper and he would have our licenses ready in 10 minutes. In 20 minutes we had them in hand. Haaa. So it seems they have the ability to print them in the office; why coundn’t they have printed them for us 2 weeks before right after we signed the RICK???

We’ve tried not to dwell on that too much. 🙂

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Waiting at Abancay’s “DMV”

Everyone watches while you drive.  !!

Everyone watches while you drive. !!

Stephen backing into a parking space

Stephen backing into a parking space

What!  You can't find my records!   These are right next to chairs in the waiting area.

What! You can’t find my records!
These are right next to chairs in the waiting area.

They love their stamps!  Nothing is official without 5-10 stamps on it.

They love their stamps! Nothing is official without 5-10 stamps on it.

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Crazy Afternoon

Today was busy. We had multiple patients that somehow had appointments, yet weren’t on our schedule (this somehow happens in every country). We also had a few show up today because they couldn’t come yesterday, which was “race day” in our town. The Camino del Inca, which is a multi-day race around Peru, passed through Curahuasi yesterday, which was definitely the highlight of the day (watching cars race past you just a few feet away is pretty exciting). I saw the car of Mario Hart pass by! I’ve never heard of him, but all my patients were talking about him. Anyway, a few of our patients had difficulty coming because the road was closed for a few hours during the race.

This was my afternoon.

Its hard turning away an 83 year old lady (who lives by herself) that traveled 2 hours to see you, so you just squeeze her in. She walks stooped over almost 90 degrees with a small, well worn stick she uses as a cane. She had fallen almost three months ago and fractured her radius. The local clinic in her village wrapped it up and sent her home. Finally she came to our hospital 3 weeks ago with a severely mal-aligned bone that was pretty well healed. At this point we couldn’t do much except some therapy to help gain a little motion (could hardly move her fingers).

Next I had a patient that had surgery on his knee (meniscus) back in 2001. He has just recently started having pain again and probably has little cartilage left in his knee. If in the States he would be looking at a total knee replacement. As we talked I learned that he has been coming in with his young son for wound care. Apparently his 5 year old boy was with him one day while working in the fields and started playing with some gasoline. Don’t exactly know how it happened but he accidentally lit himself on fire and has second and third degree burns on his chest and legs.

My next patient was fairly rutine back and shoulder pain (I think she has a rotator cuff tear). Fortunately she lives in Curahuasi and is able to come consistantly to therapy. She has been consistantly improving, but each time asks if there is something she can rub on her shoulder to heal her rotator cuff tear. Wish I knew!?

The next guy fell off the second floor of a house and fractured his humerus. Once again he didn’t come to us until the bone was almost totally healed and obviously out of line. He has very little movement in his shoulder or elbow. Lots to work on. Side note: Its amazing how many of my patients have fallen off a second floor. I would guess 10-20% of my patients have had this experience! When you look at the houses you can see how it happens since railings just don’t seem to be a necesity.

The following patient I first saw about 1 month ago. He had been in a bad motorcycle accident and fracture multiple ribs, laid open his lower leg, and fractured his ankle. At that time I had given him a few exercises to gradually improve his ankle mobility. Today he returns so we can progress his exercises and start to put some weight through his foot. He lives about 10 hours away, so he left his home yesterday, stayed in Abancay last night, then traveled to the hospital today.

Juan comes in next. He is a 14 year old who had an infection in his hip which required surgical intervention. During that time he became very weak and is currently coming to therapy 2 days a week. He usually comes in with his twin brother and I have come to really enjoy his sessions. The boys are always smiling and making jokes at each other, along with asking good questions and helping me with my Spanish. He has greatly improved over the past 3 weeks.

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Juan telling me about the race car drivers.

My next patient was having pain in his upper back. When I asked him if he can had an accident or fall he informed me he was traveling in a bus when it rolled. Unfortunately this isn’t really all that uncommon as there are lots of buses traveling these extremely windy roads.

The last patient of the afternoon was unable to lift his arm after being robbed and beaten about 10 days ago. After evaluation it seemed he might have a rotator cuff tear in his shoulder, but since it has been less than 2 weeks I’m hoping its still just pain and swelling that is inhibiting his movement. After teaching him a few exercises he wanted a picture of me treating him to show the people back at his village. I should have then asked for a picture with my phone, but by this time I think my mind was ready for some of Konika’s good cookin’.   🙂

 

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The twins fascinated by the free weights.

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Small World

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I little over a year ago I probably passed within 1/2 mile of the guy on my left

There is a small Morman church here in Curahuasi and as many of you know, young people of this denomination usually are required to do two years of mission work.  Over the last few weeks I’ve gotten to know one young man since I’ve been treating him for his knee.  This past week his friend came with him who had just arrived from the States.  As we got to talking we both found out we were from TN!

“Yea, I’m from Chattanooga area and I previously worked in Cleveland, a small town about 1/2 hour  from Chattanooga.” I said.

“What, I’ve been attending Lee University!” said the young man.

As most of you know, Lee University is in Cleveland TN and we spent the next 15 minutes talking about all the common places we knew and even of the dumpy taco truck stand I used to go to for my Mexican fix at lunch.

Who would have thought I would run into someone from Cleveland, TN in the middle of Peru?  It really is a small world!

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Race through the Canyon

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Loading a combi

“Where are the taxi’s for Cusco?”

Usually there are half a dozen taxi’s waiting to take passengers to Cusco, but today nobody is yelling, “Cusco, Cusco.”

This isn’t good because currently they are working on the hwy between Curahuasi and Cusco and only let cars through at 9:00, 12:00, and 3:00.  If we can’t make the 9:00 pass through, we’ll be waiting for 3 more hours.

After a few minutes we find a combi, a small twelve passenger van that can take us to Cusco this morning. The kids are not fond of this as you get to share the trip with 6-8 other people, some of which may have an unpleasant odor.

We begin down the extremely curvy road towards the Rio Apurimac.  Just before the river there is a police checkpoint.  Our driver pulls over and gives the officer his papers.  For some reason another man also comes over and they all start talking in a very aggitated manor.  Our driver exits the vehicle and talks with the officials about 30 feet away.  I can’t tell what they are saying, but it seems like it is the usual thing;  hands fly in the air, heads shake, fingers are pointed at the papers, more hands in the air, and then they shake hands and we head on our way.

Five minutes later we are stopped again. There is construction on the hwy and we have to wait 5-10 minutes for the 9:00 a.m. pass-through.  Four or five years ago the river washed much of the road away and they are finally fixing it.  We watch our driver get some breakfast on the side of the road and start eating.  During the 8-10 months needed to fix the road, people have set up make-shift stands selling food and refreshments, taking advantage of the stopped travelers.  Suddenly a car goes by and everyone quickly rushes to their vehicles.

“Its open!”

Our driver crams the rest of his breakfast in his mouth and jumps in the van.  Like most of the other vehicles we quickly jocky for position.  Though it is a two-lane road, we are 3 wide, all headed in the same direction. Picture a Nascar race after a restart. Our driver passes as many trucks as possible. I guess the reasoning is the road gets very windy going up the 11,000 ft mountain on the other side of the construction.  Easier to pass now.  He passes 3 trucks on the left but then gets blocked so he tries to pass on the right. We are getting squeezed for space and the river is on our right (about 50 feet below us).  We narrowly make it past the truck, but not without swiping a “Slow, Workers Present” sign sitting on the right side of the road. Horns blow and everyone continues to advance as much as possible.  During a wide section of the construction we are 4 wide. The kids seem pretty used to it and continue listening to their mp3 players as the lady behind me snores.

 

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Ready for the restart

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Passing through

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The lady ahead of Sydney sleeping much quieter than the lady behind me.

Its interesting the construction crews really don’t try to provide any order; its basically a free for all as they let both sides go (its about 4-6 miles of construction).  Usually somewhere in the middle you have to stop as cars from the other direction are taking up areas where there is only one lane.

Now we are diverted down into the river basin for ½ mile.  It takes me by suprise as I’m looking at the road directly in front of us while our driver takes a quick left.  For a second I think we are headed off the embankment into the river.  The snoring behind me gets louder.  Finally me make it to smooth pavement once again and continue on our journey to Cusco.

We end up being a little late for church.

 

In the river basin

In the river basin

 

Winding up the mountain on the other side

Winding up the mountain on the other side

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The New Diospi Suyana Movie

For years there has been a movie/documentary about Diospi Suyana Hospital in German and Spanish, but now we finally have one in English! If you want to here the story of how faith in God can produce amazing results, take a look at this movie. Somewhere during the last few minutes you may see someone you recognize (for at least 2-3 seconds).  🙂  Here is the article and link to the movie from the Diospi Suyana Website:

 

The English film is online

The movie

The moving experience now available in English

Jakobus Schneider and Micha Spannaus have once again achieved a perfect result. Watch it online or order a copy from our German office.

Watch the movie here

Klaus-Dieter and Martina John had a fantastic vision; to build a top quality hospital for the descendents of the ancient Incas in the Peruvian Andes. They would need millions of dollars, thousands of supporters and many dedicated co-workers ready for the task.

Watch in amazement as people from all around the wordl rally to support them. The leading Peruvian newspaper “El Comercio” wrote: “It is impossible not to believe in miracles after hearing the story of the John family!”

Diospi Suyana will both encourage your faith and challenge you. Featured in over 400 TV and press reports worldwide, this “Hospital of Faith” will inspire you as it has countless others.

 

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Run Curahuasi!!

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Stephen giving instructions and a little worship thought before the race

My brother started a running club here in Curahuasi when he arrived over a year ago. Since that time it has slowly grown from a couple boys to a consistant handful of both boys and girls. They typically run 3 days a week and then he organizes a race about once every 6 weeks. Last weekend we used the truck to advertise the race, using kids from the running club to help us. They really enjoyed riding around town passing out flyers to the other kids that came running up to the truck. However, I’ll be honest, I was just praying we could get through this without someone falling out of the truck. And when you are driving, its also a little scary when the kids come running out from their houses for a flyer and then chase or run alongside the truck.
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Kids piling in the truck all eager to pass out flyers

This past Sunday we had a 5k race. Its always amazing to see these kids racing through Curahuasi. They are running in conditions that would be outlawed in the States. The roads have many open manholes (a few 6 feet in diameter), they have to navigate around construction equipment and piles of gravel, and all the while they are dodging bulls, sheep, dogs, and chickens. Furthermore, many run in their old rubber sandels (made from old tires).
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Kicking it to the finish line!

But the best part of it all is at the end (I guess that’s the best part of any race). Many of the parents now come to the races to watch their kids. Those who have camaras often bring them. You can see the look of satisfaction and sense of accomplishment on the kids faces when they cross the finish line or step up on makeshift podium (concrete block and stool) to receive their prizes or trophy. One of the boys who started running last year had a little extra weight and was a little timid around some of the other kids. Now he is one of the fastest boys in town you can see the improvement in his confidence.
Awards ceremony

Awards ceremony

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Benjamin and Konika passing out small goody bags after the race

 

It often doesn’t take much to make a difference in a child’s life. A good role model can make a world of difference, especially when many of these kids don’t have a father figure. Stephen is making a difference and I’m proud of the work he is doing with the young people of Curahuasi.

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Hard to Breath

Marriela informing me her right side doesn't hurt anymore (where the drain tube was)

Marriela informing me her right side doesn’t hurt anymore (where the drainage tube was)

The past week I’ve been treating a little girl with cystic fibrosis.  Before coming to Peru, I had never seen a patient with this condition (basically all my experience has been in outpatient orthopedics).  She came to the hospital about 2 weeks ago from Cusco with difficulty breathing, fever, etc. and was quickly admitted to the ICU.  She was found to also have pneumonia.  I first saw her in the ICU about a week ago.  She had a drainage tube coming from the right side of her chest and had labored breathing.  I was asked to do some chest physical therapy to help with drainage in her lungs.  The treatment was a bit limited due to her pain and decreased mobility from the chest tube, however we got through the first treatment.

This week she has been doing much better and has been moved to the floor.  The chest tube has been taken out and she is visibly more comfortable and less scared.  We have been able to complete almost all of the different postural drainage positions while doing some percussion and vibration techniques.  The first time we were able to go through the full series I was amazed at how much mucus/flem was expelled, probably about 1/2 cup.

The last two days I’ve been trying to teach the family how to do the treatments at home, since the postural drainage techniques will need to become part of their daily rutine.  For those who don’t know, cystic fibrosis causes abnormal amounts of mucus to be produced which causes bronchial obstruction and predisposes the lungs to infection.  Often the extremely viscous mucus is difficult to cough up.  Thus the family needs to stay consistant with a regimen of drugs, breathing treatments, chest therapy, and adequate hydration and nutrition to minimize risk of infections and chronic problems.  Within the last 30 years, many advances had been made with regards to CF, however most patients still do not live past their mid-30’s.

The past two days I’ve seen Marriela* walking around the hospital.  She’s been much more up-beat, and seems to have less mucus production during her chest treatments.  Hopefully the family will be consistant with all forms of her treatment, which is vital for the future of this little girl.  However, in this part of poverty stricken Peru, those are things which are often quite difficult to maintain.

*Name has been changed

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After a treatment

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Beautiful new teeth!

As many of you know, Konika has been working in the dental clinic learning to make false teeth.  Here is a pic of her work (sorry, I’m a proud husband).  Konika said she was a little timid at first with her new teeth, but then got to giggling and in no time was showing a beautiful new smile!

Konika and the patient with her new set of teeth.

Konika and the patient with her new set of teeth.

 

 

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Also took a quick pic of Stephen with this little guy being brave.

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One Year!

Yesterday marked exactly 1 year since we have set foot on US soil.  In many respects it seems like a long time ago, with so much happening in between.  However, overall it seems like it has flown by!  We learned a little Spanish in Costa Rica and saw some beautiful flowers, rivers, and animals.  Now we are experiencing working at a mission hospital, the cultures of Peru, and learning about Incan history.  There have been challenges (schooling for the kids, inconsistent water/electricity, language barriers, missing family/friends, etc.) however, overall its been a good experience.  Here are few pics from the past year.

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Walking back from school in Costa Rica

 

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Lunch by the Rio Tuis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Syd and Konika getting wet at a waterfall in CR

 

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Lunch spot during our trip down the Pacuare River

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kids being brave up front at the local SDA church in Turrialba

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Making friends in Costa Rica after church one weekend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Turrialba Volcano which we could often see being angry

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Crocs!

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Ben learning how coffee is made. They were making it right next to our school.

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Helping pick out the bad beans and husks.

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Made it to Peru, checking out how they make salt

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Hiking down towards Urabamba

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Sydney just outside Sacsayhuaman in Cusco

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Exploring up the mountain from our house

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Visiting Huaca Pucllana ruins in Lima during one of our 4 trips to obtain our visas. These mud brick buildings are pre-Inca, around 500 AD.

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Looking at the Pacific from the cliffs of Lima.

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On the way to the Sacred Valley during our visit from the parents.

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Visit to Machu Picchu

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The classic MP pic

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Stephen getting cozy with a llama. I think the llama was thinking about spitting on him

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Back to Lima with the kids for their visas. Plaza Mayor.

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Sydney walking through the tunnel of water at a fountain park in Lima.

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Along the cliffs in Lima

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And we came home to our own house! Hogar dulce hogar!

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Benjamin helping with the laundry

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When you have no trees, you have to get creative setting up the hammock

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Watching the Germany-USA game during the World Cup. When you work at a German hospital, your cheering section is small (me).

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Using horses to thresh wheat (we think).

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A group constructing their adobe brick house

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Exploring up the mountain from Curahuasi

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Typical farmland in the Andes with two women crossing the field

Meat hanging to dry

Meat hanging to dry

Sydney looking pretty while Benjamin and I try to make it to the snow behind her.

Sydney looking pretty while Benjamin and I try to make it to the snow behind her.

We made it!

We made it!

The kids taking a "swim" in their pools.

The kids taking a “swim” in their pools.

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