We're so thankful for all our Health Bridges supporters. Together we're a family.
This Thanksgiving Holiday, we hope you will enjoy time with family and friends, relaxation and rest, and a day to reflect on all the things you are grateful for in your life.
We are so grateful for you. Happy Thanksgiving from the entire HBI team.
I love the holidays. I always have.
I love them because they represent that one time of the year when its okay, often expected, that everyone will slow down. Its a great time of the year to refocus and re-energize.
Well . . . maybe not this holiday season for HBI - we've got a full December and a big start to 2020. In early December we'll have a team from two family medicine residency training programs joining us in Arequipa to talk about collaborating on a training program in Peru. I am so excited for this meeting. It has long been a dream of mine to help start a residency training program in Perú. A program to train Peruvian physicians in the unique knowledge and skills needed to take care of underserved populations in Perú. So cool. I'll be reporting on this endeavor in future blog posts.
We also have a team from Living Waters for the World - out of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Nashville - visiting the Casa Girasoles in Ica and Urubamba to help us ensure the water filtration systems are running properly and effectively. I am looking forward to working with this passionate group of people to keep clean water flowing for the boys in our homes.
In early December, we'll also be re-signing our historic agreement with the Peruvian College of Midwives to continue our partnership on the NRP train-the-trainer program. And, we will be meeting with the Peruvian Association of Firefighters to sign an agreement to expand our training program for preparing teams of firefighters who can train their colleagues in pre-hospital emergency response.
Throughout December, we'll be meeting with in-country partners to wish them Happy Holidays and extend our appreciation for their support. We'll also be holding Holiday parties for the children in the Casa Girasoles and the children and families in the Ines Project.
All and all, it is going to be a full Holiday Season. So much for my plan to slow things down. Alas, I love the work we are doing so much. It is a great privilege to be in partnership with so many people. And, this Holiday Season we get to celebrate those partnerships.
Thanks for all the continued support. Check out our Holiday Season fundraiser at: Holiday Giving 2019
Puerto Maldonado: The following is a blog update from Dr. Bob Gehringer, HBI Medical Director. This is an ongoing series of posts about his wanderings of Perú in search of the best El Capitán.
I just spent 4 nights in Puerto Maldonado, a small city that’s doubled in population to 80K+ in ten years, the capital of the Amazon basin state of Madre de Dios in the southeast corner of Perú near the Bolivian and Brazilian borders. Puerto is the kind of place where a cold beer never tasted so good, as midday highs are consistently in the 90’s with high humidity. Within a couple years concrete walls blacken and metal roofs rust. I don’t know how anyone gets things done in that climate. One of my mototaxi drivers had a unique strategy. He would anticipate a red light then well short of the intersection he would pull over into whatever small spot of shade he could find. Good planning.
Puerto Maldonado is essentially a border city with plusses and minuses that go with that. Though all the previously red dirt main streets have now been surfaced, when I was last here ten years ago, the whole place felt very “wild west,” an anything goes transportation hub in the middle of the rainforest at the confluence of the Tambopata and the enormous Rio Madre de Dios as it flows north to become a major Amazon tributary.
The biodiversity in the area is possibly the greatest in the world with several nearby ecological reserves. Out in the forest there are scattered tourist lodges, illegal logging, and artisanal (illegal and mercury polluting) gold mining in the rivers. Since my previous visit when crossing the Madre de Dios meant sharing sketchy ferries with semis or crowded longboats, there’s now a half mile long bridge, part of the Interoceanic Highway from major ports on the lower Amazon in Brazil to Perú, through Puerto, Cusco, and Arequipa and finally to the Pacific port of Matarani.
I was in town as a guest of the regional College of Midwives, again training newborn resuscitation trainers and helping to launch their program. They reserved a rather nice hotel for me, tropical greenery all around, efficient air conditioning (only two short power outages), and an extensive breakfast buffet with classical music in the background rather than the usual blaring TV reporting yesterday’s local crime and political snafus, repeated over and over. Breakfast juice choices included cocona, copaosu, maracuyá, huito, marañon, and camu camu, among others.
The state of Madre de Dios is experiencing an epidemic of the mosquito borne viral disease dengue with well over 3000 cases since January and 16 deaths, most in the last 6 weeks with the three hospitals trying to keep up. No effective vaccine yet for this one. The incubation period is 4-10 days, so if I can make it through Thanksgiving………
The staff retreat is going great.
We've got a team in Arequipa and a staff person in the U.S. joining by video link. What a amazing world we live that technology affords such opportunity.
Taking the time to plan and strategize is so important. In two days of meetings we've developed a clear plan for quarter 1 in 2020 and identified key strategies for advancing internal communication and supporting our social media presence.
As an organization, HBI has matured so much over the past two decades. From humble beginnings as a traditional medical outreach program, we've grown into a legitimate NGO with a clear purpose and a well conceptualized set of strategies. The HBI of today is a planning organization building a model that will sustain our efforts and impact well into the future. Meetings like we've had over the past two days help us to stay the course.
Thanks so much for all the support we receive everyday to do the work of building bridges for underserved and marginalized communities.
What I love most about our work is the collaborative spirit we bring to everything we do. This includes cultivating key partnerships, developing associations with like minded groups, and creating an intentional space for change with really good people.
Over the years we've been blessed with some remarkable partnerships and collaborations. One of those key partners is Mr. Steven Dougherty. Steven is a rare person. He is super smart and impeccably ethical. He is the type of person who walks his talk everyday. A true pilar of integrity.
We've been fortunate to collaborate with Steven on our shared projects in Alto Cayma (Arequipa) with Father Alex and the Missionary Society of St. Paul (MSSP).
Steven recently published an article in Strive Magazine. It is a great read and speaks strongly to the power of collaboration and shared impact. Check it out: https://magazine.thestriveproject.com/issue/oct-dec-2019/impacting-meaningful-change/
There is so much more we can do together. Steven helps us to truly understand how important collaboration can be to effect lasting change. Thanks, Steven.
The HBI Blog is a rotating journal from our staff. Our Blog is a series of messages from the field, insights from our work, and lessons in service.