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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Nice day in Cusco

This morning, after our usual B/B breakfast of coffee, juice (papaya today) scrambled eggs and puffy bread, John and I walked to the Cuzco market.  What an education.  This was NOT a tourist market, although there were some stalls for trinkets, clothing, hats, blankets, etc.  No, no, no.  There was a food court there, lots of which were unidentifiable, and sanitation isn´t mandatory.  There were also many stalls of beautiful fruits, grains, breads the size of hubcaps, piles of escargot (orange), donkey snout, pig legs, and some sort of animal testicles still in the sacks hanging in big bundles, dripping into a bowl.  John finally had to leave the area.  

Then, we had a little time to kill, so John thought it would be a good time for my massage.  The cost is Soles/ 30 here for one hour, or $10.00 US.  Good, but no Debra (my fav massage therapist).  Plus, it wasn´t luxury surroundings.  Eight beds divided by curtains, and only room for one person on a side at a time.  They also have no heat, so instead of nice warm electric pads, you have several blankets, and hot stones are added as part of the massage.  They aren´t left on like you see in pictures, but are run down appendages by hand.  Totally worth the $10 though.

Then, I didn´t have time for lunch, so I ate some cookies from our Machu Pichu stash, and some dried peaches  from the market. 

A gentleman picked me up in the car, and took me to Robyn´s house.  She is an owner of SAS Travel, where we booked our various day tours.  She fights valiantly for two poor hospitals here.  There is a national health plan here, and everyone can buy into it, but many Quechua (indigenous people) try to live off the land in the mountains, and have no money to buy the √§ffordable¨insurance.  She took me to one of the hospitals here, Regional Hospital, and we played with children.  Many don´t have family here because they can´t afford to make the trip often, so they get sub-standard care, often because usually it's the family that feeds and sees to their daily needs.  I saw a little boy, 7, Fidel, who lost his thumb, forefinger and part of his hand because he was holding on to a cow with a rope, and something spooked the cow, it took off, and part of the boys hand with it.  There is no repairing since they live several hours from the hospital.

Another little boy, who was 9, lost his hand in a fireworks accident.  He was having his bandage changed, the first time in a week, because they have so few doctors at this hospital.  He was still in the trauma unit, meaning he had not yet been operated on yet.

His friend was injured in the same accident.  The back of one thigh was badly hurt, but had been treated.  They took him out of bed, for the first time, put him in a wheelchair (but couldn´t sit-someone had to hold his leg up in a sling go get him outside.  They got a taxi,  put the seat down, and he laid down in the back, 'but only as far as the bus station.  He still has a three hour bus ride on crappy roads ahead.

The kids were thrilled to get the bandannas I brought-- a big variety, pencils, paper, and Robyn was glad for the English/Spanish books for her 15 book library.

I know it sounds bad, but again, it was wonderful to see a lot of smiling faces, so if I managed to help a bit there, then yea!

Not sure if I´ll be able to blog tonight or not.  We´re leaving a little after 6 AM for Machu Pichu, and will be back Thursday night sometime.  If not, I´ll catch up Thursday night or Friday morning.

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