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Peru – Martina’s visit

December 06, 2007 - Peru

by Steve Henrichon

Martina graced us with her presence on the Friday before the inauguration.  Guillermo and I made the 4 hour bus ride up to Lima to receive Martina at the airport.  This trip to Lima helped me realize just how far I have come with my Spanish in just a couple months.  Guillermo and I conversed in Spanish the entire bus ride and then I took the opportunity to share a little of American culture by treating him to dinner at Tony Roma’s World Famous Ribs in Miraflores.  That evening, we also had a meeting with Jerry Galea and Jesse Clark with the UCLA Department of Infectious Diseases about a potential HIV program out of the clinic.  Jerry is actually making the trip down to San Clemente for our inauguration on Monday.

Martina was due to get in at 12midnight but here plane was delayed and she didn’t arrive until 3:30 or 4am.  It was a long night but, nonetheless we were up at 7am for a full day of meetings.  We first met with Helga from PAMS.  Helga is a specialist with the Peruvian customs and she has been working with Direct Relief International regarding medical shipments into the country.  She agreed to help facilitate a shipment from DRI for us as well.  Next we met with Vanessa Vertiz and Oscar Espinoza from MSD and updated them to our progress in San Clemente.  Vanessa will also be traveling south for our inauguration.  Lastly, we visited the 600-bed childrens hospital.  The Director, Adrian Ramirez, is actually married to a German wife and he loved speaking german with Martina.  He gave a personalized tour of the hospital and Martina talked him into coming down for the clinic’s inauguration.  I am amazed that these people are taking time out of their very busy schedules to be part of our special day.  The magnitude of the clinic is represented by people like Jerry, Vanessa, Dr Ramirez, and an entire news team making it a priority to come down to San Clemente for the inauguration.

When we arrived in Pisco that night, we went straight to the television channel in San Clemente in hopes of getting some airtime to advertise the inauguration.  Nacho (the talk show host) was there but they we airing a previously recorded program and they instead had the studio filled with children who were preparing for tomorrow’s holiday by making signs and crafts.  Nacho decided to put us on the air anyways, so they fired up the camcorder and interrupted the program in session.  Martina, Rene, and Guillermo spoke first.  Martina introduced herself and spoke about Real Medicine.  Rene and Guillermo spoke about the clinic and mentioned the inauguration.  Then…I sat down.  I knew what was to come.  In Spanish…”Steve, have you tried any new foods since the last time you have spoken to us?”  hahahah!!!  They love speaking to me about foods so I humored them by recounting a list of foods that I new would get some chuckles…including Cau Cau which is made from cow intestines.  I then invited the entire town of San Clemente to the inauguration on Monday.  I was very tired at this point in the day and I don’t believe my Spanish made a whole lot of sense but hopefully they got the gist.

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