Sunday, July 6, 2014


If you've had guinea pigs as pets, you will not like these pictures. While in Cuzco, we ate at a restaurant that served cuy (guinea pig). You may ask us if it tastes like chicken. Not really, but it is very tasty.

Not everyone had cuy. Here are other entrees eaten that evening.

Trip to Salinas Salt Flats, Moray and Machu Picchu

Our mission trip ended on Saturday, June 28. However, we took several days of R&R in Cuzco and visited Machu Picchu and Moray. W also visited a textile factory and Salinas Salt Flats.

Inca Woman showing us how to Wash the Alpaca wool with Yucca

Using natural plants and bugs, she dyes the wool.


Ellen at Moray

Deb at Moray

Machu Picchu

Deb Selfie

Group at Machu Picchu
At the Salinas Salt Flats, we walked several miles from the top of the mountain, past all of the salt flats on a very narrow path and finally made it to the river, where our van was waiting to pick us up. If you're afraid of heights, this is not the walk for you!

Barefooted workers bagging salt

At the top, looking forward to our long walk.

At the top of the salt flats

This is a very narrow path for us to walk.

We've got a long way to walk to get to the bottom.

We've finally made it past the flats onto a dirt road

Final Thoughts Shared by Dr. Peggy Stickney

As quick as it came, it is now finished.  We put a lot of hard work and effort into the care provided.  The people of Paita were very appreciative of us being here.  Talking about third world conditions does not serve it justice once you see it first hand.  Sometimes I wonder if these missions are more for them or more for us.  I saw a saying on Facebook that rang home: God does not give us what we can handle.  God helps us to handle what we are given.  We will probably come back with a different perspective on life. I am looking forward to getting back to my family.  I am sure they miss me as much as I miss them. 
It will be hard to forget those patients who came to us in a time of need.  There was a mother who brought us her 6 month old daughter.  She was in a bad relationship which included physical abuse and the unwanted pregnancy. The baby was born and she knew from day one there was something wrong with the child despite being told the child was fine.  She kept the child all bundled and would not let the nurses see her.  She explained her situation and allowed Catherine and I to examine the child.  It was very obvious the child was not normal and most likely had Down's Syndrome.  She had been to a doctor two weeks prior because the baby was not gaining weight.  The mom was told to give her baby nutramigen formula, which is a very expensive formula which she can not afford.  It was unclear if the doctor told here her child was not normal.  She broke down when Charlie conveyed to her the issues.  The sisters were going to help her find resources, but there is no birth to three program or much support for mothers and children. 
Dr. Peggy with Baby Described Above
 A mother of six came in to the clinic with a few of her children and was complaining of stomach pains while she was there.  She was pretty healthy otherwise, but was grabbing her stomach.  I examined her and felt an enlargement in her abdomen. We asked if she could be pregnant and she said no.  We asked when her last period was and she said February.  She was agreeable to a pregnancy test which did come back positive.  She got teary eyed and broke down as well.  Her husband was in jail for molesting her 10 year old child. She was the one who turned him in to the police.  She was providing for her family by cooking and selling meals from her home.  She wasn't sure what she was going to to to support another child.  Again, the sisters stepped in to offer support, but there is not much available in the city or the country.  Any sort of major medical issue is handled in Lima.  One of the sisters had knee surgery in Lima during our stay.  There are no public hospitals in the area.

The environment could best be described as dirty.  There was garbage in most streets and areas.  Dogs roamed the streets.  Most of them with owners, but were not welcome in the home due to limited space.  Although they were cute, you did not approach them to pet.  Dust and sand was everywhere.  Tree leaves, what were there, were coated with dust on a regular basis.  People got tap water from a river, but was not considered clean water. We drank soda most of the time because we knew it was safe.  We all had water bottles with filters but were still cautious.  There was minimal water pressure for showers and barely any hot water from the tap.  Daily showers were necessary from the dust and significant sweat.  Even though it is winter here, temperatures were still up in the 80's during the day.  They got down to the 50's-60's at night.  Sundown was 630pm. 
Signage on School Describing Clinic Hours
Hookworm Given to Dr. Peggy by Patient
Dogs Everywhere! Picture taken at PRONOEI Clinic Location

The people seemed most appreciative of the vitamins, anti-parasite medications, and the tooth brushes.  We ran out of the parasite medication on clinic day 3 of 5.  Deb spent a good portion of day 4 running around the numerous pharmacies looking for the medications.  We decided for the last day of clinic, we would order additional medications and have the sisters dispense it later.  Those who came to the clinic were mainly concerned about having parasites, respiratory issues (asthma and allergies), fungal skin infections, and things that caused them to itch.  Most of which we had supplies for some of which we did not.  Even when we told them they would have to return for the parasite medication at a later date, no one complained. 

This was my first mission.  Probably not my last mission.  This was a tiring but rewarding experience.  I am glad Charlie invited me to participate.  I am glad everyone was there.  Shelley, Miranda, Ellen, Catherine, Nancy, Deb, and Charlie are a hard working group of women whom should be applauded.  A great deal of time and efforts were put into this mission before, during, and after the mission.  Bless them all.  A special thanks to my prayer sponsor.   All of the prayers were needed and appreciated this week. 

I would like to extend special thanks to my family and friends who helped out so I could go on this mission trip.

Submitted by Dr. Peggy Stickney

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Rollercoaster Days

Thursday was a rollercoaster kind of a day. We had some great laughs and some tougher moments. First, our morning started with the kids of St. Clare putting on a dance show for us. They were in beautiful ethnic costumes and danced to music that represented different areas of Peru. That ended with the team dancing with the kids and it was quickly obvious that we all could have used a lesson or two! We we're so grateful that they took the time to share their beautiful culture with us and they were so proud. It was a great way to start the day.

Friday was our busiest day of the week. We counted 140 patients between the two locations and saw patients for 12 hours. I honestly do not know how we were able to see so many.  After our first day, we tweaked some processes which made us more efficient but I also believe that God was there helping us. The thank you's, hugs, kisses and the kindness in their eyes really energized us.

Morning clinic brought Peggy a six month old baby girl. Mom brought her because "she wasn't gaining weight and something is wrong" but the doctors had told her she was fine.  Peggy called me over and it was obvious to the both of us that something was wrong. She was thin, no muscle tone, almost flaccid, protruding tongue, distended belly, a heart murmur and specific facial characteristics that told us the baby had Downs Syndrome. I think mom had always known something was wrong but when I told her what we thought was happening with her baby, she broke down. Having her fears confirmed was too much. Our hearts were broken for her as we saw the desperation in her eyes that any mother would recognize. She was a single mom with 4 other children at home and she wasn't working. We were overwhelmed for her. We did what we could for her at the time but she will  need lots of support. There are little to no resources here. The school sisters are going to try to get her some help. Keep her and her baby in your prayers.

The lighter moments came when when needed more light in our PRONOEI clinic. A man was able to find a replacement bulb and a home made ladder which didn't quite reach the ceiling. So part of the team held the ladder up while he climbed and changed the bulb. Thank goodness we had Iron Woman Peggy! The whole scene was hilarious. Shortly after, a man brought us a worm that he had just "evacuated" that day in a bottle to show us.  You can imaging our reaction. We identified it as a hook worm and you will be glad to know he was treated!

Today is our last day. What a blessing this experience been for us. We have a fantastic group of strong, caring and intelligent ladies that took the bulls by the horns and took care of business!  They worked hard and with a smile. A big thank you to our prayer sponsors. Your prayers were answered. We appreciate the support of our parish family.

The people of Peru have been welcoming and warm. They are kind and seem happy even with all the obstacles in their lives.  I'm convinced it is because of their faith and trust in our Lord that he will always provide. The church is filled everyday for evening mass. They are grateful and thankful for the smallest things in their lives. I think we can all learn a thing from them.

Personally, I am over the moon over the amount of people we were able to help and did it with the most amazing team and group of Franciscan Sisters, who worked just as hard as we did.

I am also grateful that I was able to share this experience with our daughter, Miranda.  She was given a lot of responsibility and handled it with a level of maturity beyond her years. This has taught her that there is a world far different from ours and it deepened her sense of service to others and her faith. We are so proud of her.

I will miss the Sisters and the people of Peru. It is a beautiful country with a rich culture. It was an honor for us to serve them. I hope to be back sometime.

Submitted by Charlie Spindt