Postcards from Peru#2
Postcard #2 — I cannot believe that it is already time to write my first postcard from Peru. Brent sent me a gentle reminder a couple of days ago and my first thought was “What? No. It can’t have been that much time already.” But its true. I’ve been living here for almost 2 full weeks now and its been over 3 weeks since I said my teary good bye in London.
The trip here went well! Surprisingly, all of our luggage made it! One of my suitcases even had a nice letter in it from “Homeland Security” indicating that they had searched my suitcase in New York and not taken any of my things. How nice. After the 7 ½ hour flight from NYC to Lima, we got on a little place run by Peruvian Airlines for the short trip up into the mountains in Arequipa. The flight was gorgeous. It is all mountains, the whole way, some sandy and desert-looking, others snow-capped.
When we touched down in Arequipa, Dr. Eric (my new boss) and his wife, Marfe, met us at the airport and took us out for lunch to an amazing local restaurant. We had the national dish of Peru, called Ceviche, which is made from fresh raw fish cured in lime juice, and spiced with chili peppers, onions, salt, and cilantro. We also had Pisco Sours, which is the national drink. The cocktail is made of Pisco (a grape brandy made in Peru), lime juice, and cane sugar. Other new flavours included purple corn juice, grilled octopus, and 3 different styles of Peruvian potatoes.
We took the next day (Wednesday, Sept 2nd) to sleep and settle in and Thursday I started in the office. I have been mostly shadowing and learning the new office systems and working on Spanish Chiropractic words.
The office is busy with families and lots of people from all different walks of life. There are some English speaking people, mostly Americans who work for the big American owned copper mine just outside of the city, but most of the people are Peruvian and don’t speak any English at all. My “sign language” is getting really good – and by that I mean pointing and smiling.
The very first initial consult I sat in on was with a man who had traveled 7 hours by bus from a remote village to come and see the chiropractor. Turns out, there are many people and families who travel hours by bus to get here, and come every week for their check ups and adjustments. It is absolutely humbling to meet these people and see the effort they are putting in to be healthier and take care of themselves and their families. It’s amazing how much we can take for granted having everything at our doorstep. I have never had to travel more than 10 or 15 minutes to see a chiropractor – and I can remember times when I missed appointments because it was inconvenient for me that day. We truly don’t appreciate the things that come so easily to us.
This week I am starting formal Spanish lessons here. I am also going to be starting work with a charity organization called HOOP, which offers educational programs in the poorest neighborhoods in Arequipa. Louis and I are going to do some simple workshops for moms and kids geared towards better health (movement, nutrition, and spine health).
In the coming weeks we’re also going to get out of the city and see the surrounding area. There is volcano hiking, white water rafting, beaches, hot springs, and the world’s deepest canyon, all within distance for day trips.
I hope you all had a wonderful end to your summer in London and are taking good care of yourselves and your families! I miss you all!
Dr. Justine Ward, a chiropractor and public speaker at the Cafe of Life Studio, headed to work as a chiropractor in Peru in September 2015. This is her continuing journey.