Travelling is fine but five hours from home to Edinburgh, a flight to Amsterdam, another to Lima, then to Iquitos, two and a bit hours on a bus then another two and a bit squeezed onto a speed boat was enough. It was good to get to the boat yesterday; and to meet up with my doctor friend from here.
What was not good was that I wasn’t well overnight (something nasty I’d picked up somewhere on the journey and I’ll spare you the details) and stayed in the cabin recovering. The others had emergency drills and started work.
What is the The Vine Trust? ‘The Vine Trust grew out of a charity gift shop set up in the 1980s in Bo’ness Scotland in response to famine in Africa. Projects in Tanzania and Peru have now helped over 1.3 million people living in severe poverty.
Medical expeditions enable medical and dental volunteers to use clinical skills on the Peruvian Amazon, and on Lake Victoria Tanzania, to provide primary healthcare to isolated and remote communities living in extreme poverty.‘ (From the Vine Trust website).
What’s it like there? Iquitos, where the boat is based, is over 2,000 miles from the sea - and from there the boat goes further inland, up various tributaries of the Amazon to reach those in need.
The Loreto region around Iquitos is roughly the size of Germany and it’s 56 districts are all categorises and ‘poor’ with38 districts being ‘extremely poor’ where people live on less that $2 per day - that’s roughly £1.50. Access to clean water is less that 10% and each person, unless a baby, coming onto the boat is given anti parasite and worm tablets. Anaemia is rife. Yet, the people are usually cheerful, resilient and very smiley.
It’s an awesome and humbling privilege to be pastor to any trip.
The photos -