The medical teams have defined roles: there are various teams. There are a few employed by the Vine Trust, including the lead doctor who has overall responsibility for the work on the ship. Some of the Peruvian volunteers work onboard so regularly there are almost fixtures, eg the pharmacist, one of the chefs, and one of the translators. There are those employed by the Peruvian Health Service. There is also the ship’s crew, the cooks, engineers, captain etc. These all help out with eg registration, on busy days. Add to this mix the translators (English / Spanish / local dialects, talented people!)
The Vine Trust, at first, was the only provider of primary health care in these remote tributaries of the Amazon, and gained the trust of local peoples, while being accountable to the Peruvian health authorities for the care given. The Peruvian Health authorities now have some better funding and are able to send newly qualified medical and dental professionals out on the VT ship to the area.
Add to this mix the volunteers! There are usually doctors, dentists and other medical professionals and then the occasional extra like myself. I was there as ‘pastor’ and general dogs-body. Each morning there was half an hour of devotions; there was singing in English and Spanish, a Bible reading and reflection, which was translated as required, and prayers. I was asked if I might preach in a village one day but that didn’t work out. I also did the laundry for the gringas. Gringas was the name given to the UK medical team on this trip.
This trip, as well as the last, I was taken aback when a Peruvian mentioned how good to was to see a pastor doing the practical work of helping and serving others!