We arrived safely after 28 hours of travel. Cusco is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth, with rolling green hills surrounding this charming city, nestled in a sunny valley. The cobblestone streets are lined with many colonial buildings constructed on top of the original Inca walls. It is amazing to see so many people still wearing the traditional dress of the Quechua people. Although the hospital is closed because it is Sunday, we managed to get all the boxes of medical supplies there for an early day of clinic tomorrow.
We have not yet met our host surgeon, Dr. Mario Cornejo. But it was our great pleasure to meet his cousin, archaeologist Juan Cornejo, who showed us around some of the sites of Cusco upon our arrival. Otherwise, we’re trying to rest up and get acclimated to the high altitude. I can’t wait to meet all the children and their families tomorrow...
I am honored and humbled to be in such great company - my fellow teammates are all international travelers and volunteers, having dedicated their time over the years to many Interplast trips like this one. It’s so inspiring to have made this long journey with them. They are so full of joy and enthusiasm for what we will accomplish over the next two weeks.
The Interplast team at Santo Domingo – Qoricancha, a Catholic convent built on an ancient Inca site in Cusco. Cusco means ´the navel,´or center of the ancient Incan empire.
Hello. I am Archana Sridhar,
associate director of foundation and corporate relations at Interplast. I
am going to be a member of an Interplast surgical team traveling to Cusco, Peru for the next two
weeks. My team and I will be updating this blog about once a day while we
are in and Cusco and Lima, Peru, so check back
to see pictures of the children we help, and to learn about what it is like to
volunteer on an Interplast trip!
This is my first surgical volunteer trip,
and I am really excited, albeit a little nervous. When I apply to
foundations for grants, I often write about the transformation our patients go
through. Many children with cleft lips and/or palates are malnourished
because they cannot properly close their mouths or swallow, and older children
are ridiculed and isolated from their peers and society, and often can’t even
go to school. Those with burns often cannot move their heads or their
arms – so they can’t play games with the other kids and face a difficult
future. I have seen pictures, heard stories, and watched videos of
doctors performing their miracles, but I have never seen it in person. I
can only imagine what it must be like to see a child as she emerges from
surgery and looks in a mirror to see her repaired deformity.
I am hopeful that the chemistry between
the team members works out, and that I accurately convey the emotions and
activities of the trip. When you see the next post, we will have landed
safely in Peru!