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Peru – Inauguration

December 10, 2007 - Peru

by Steve Henrichon

The inauguration was on December 10th.  The work crew finished just in time and we had a crowd of people working into the night on December 9th to make sure all of the preparations were set.  We even hired an artist to paint the Real Medicine Foundation logo above the front door.  We invited many notable people from San Clemente and the event was also attended by many of the residents as well.  Both Rosy’s mother and Fio’s mother helped by preparing a few hundred hors douvres.  We had a plethora of candy to pass out to the children.  Maria’s grandmother has a bodega (wine vineyard) in Ica and she provided several bottles of sweet Peruvian wine.

Rene and I acted as the MCs for the ceremony and we spoke in the central area downstairs with the morning sunlight filtering in.  Pocho blessed the clinic.  David, Guillermo, Martina, and Vanessa Vertiz from MSD all had a chance to speak.  I read off an impressively long list of people whom we needed to thank…anyone who helped out along the way.  It took me a long time to get through this list.  It just goes to show that certainly could not have done this alone and we wanted to reinforce that this is everyone’s clinic.

Every building needs a “Padrino” or “Godfather” and we asked the mayor of San Clemente if he would do us the honor of serving as the godfather for the clinic.  This is an honor and he graciously accepted.  Martina served as the “Padrina” or godmother.  It is a Peru tradition to have a bottle of champagne hanging down from the doorway.  Martina and the Mayor each took hold of the hammer and together they smashed open the bottle of champagne to the applause of the many onlookers.  The last step involved everyone (about 100 people) each receiving a small cup of wine so we could cheers to the good health of the clinic.  We have done it.  Our clinic was open and people were excited.  It really was a joyous event.

Vanessa Vertiz from MSD had arranged for a popular news group from Lima to come down to cover the event.  We had eaten dinner with the team the night before at Miramar to get to know them a little better.  Fanny was excited because she recognized the interviewer from a very popular morning show.  The team filmed the inauguration and then they interviewed me, Martina, and Rene.  I hope my Spanish was good enough to make it through the editing room.  The story was to be aired all throughout Peru.  Even Jorge from Miramar was mentioning how he was seeing commercials on the major channels advertising the story of the Policlinico Peruano Americano.  We are famous!!

After the inauguration, we had a bit of an open house.  The doctors began to see patients who had lined up.  We gave tours to several interested people and we worked for 3 or 4 hours.  In the afternoon, we took the entire clinical team out to a celebratory lunch at a nice seafood restaurant in Pisco.

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