I stayed on the boat today while the others visited the village school where the gringas (the UK team) learnt Spanish vowels and, in return, taught the children the song ‘Head shoulders, knees and toes’. In the afternoon there were clinics.
What’s the ship like, it’s facilities etc
There are two long consulting rooms; one housing two dental surgeries and the other, two medical surgeries. There is much more equipment on this ship than the previous one, (more about the Amazon Hope II another day). As there were three UK doctors in total (one had already been on the boat when we joined), the third doctor consulted in the mess area. There were Peruvian medical staff too, including the lead doctor for the ship.) Quite often consultations were interrupted by crew going through the mess to the kitchen or others coming in to make teas and coffees and sit for a short break.
Routine - overnight the ship moors up at a village or point along the shore. It’s dangerous to keep moving at night as sandbanks can suddenly build where there previously were none, and huge logs float down and bash the ship. In the morning either the ship serves the village where its moored, or we motor up the river to the first port of call.
Once the ship arrives in a village, the Peruvian medical team go into the village and encourage locals to come to the onboard clinics or find out if there are any people who can’t get there and home visits are arranged.
There are morning and afternoon clinics. The ship may, or not, move over lunchtime, depending on demand and schedule. At the end of the working day, everyone on the ship is encouraged to go ashore (at least one or two stay onboard to ensure safety of the facilities etc) and join in sports sessions; these are routine at the end of the working day for villages and they are delighted when others join in football, netball or volleyball. Those who are not sporty may stroll in the village; it’s perfectly safe because of the good reputation of the VT and the hospitality of locals.
Dinner is after we return and sometimes followed by tutorial eg the one tonight was on the tests done onboard on urine samples and what can be deducted from various results. If the ship is to move after an afternoon session it does so during the remaining daylight of early evening and there are no sports sessions.