• Peru

  • Sight is critical to the existence of people living in the jungles of the Amazon Basin.

    Iquitos, Peru is the largest city in the world with no road access; travel there is by boat or plane only! The city, which is located in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon in the Loreto Region, approximately 290 miles by river from the border with Brazil and Colombia, has a population of around 500,000. The health care needs are great, and services are limited and expensive for the local population. Most residents cannot afford to see a doctor or utilize the few clinical services that are available.

    This project will address three specific needs in the Loreto Region.

    1. Improve the surgical services that Clinica Adventista Ana Stahl can provide to the community by upgrading the OR and diagnostic equipment, conduct continuing education for surgeons and nurses, and provide free surgical services to patients who are unable to pay.
    2. Address the basic health needs of the indigenous people living in villages along the Amazon River and its tributaries. This will be done through screening, vaccinations, and primary health education activities.
    3. Establish an eye clinic and provide free cataract surgery to under-served people who can no longer see.

    FAQs

  • While geared for health professionals employed or practicing at one of the Adventist and Catholic Health Initiatives hospitals within Centura Health, the Iquitos project will include opportunities for skilled professionals to participate no matter their background or current employment. Surgeons, physicians, nurses, and Spanish-speaking interpreters are always welcome, and a variety of professions will be needed at various times to assist in specific tasks at Clinica Ana Stahl and the river clinics.

    Some projects may provide opportunities for spouses and/or children over the age of 12 to participate if they are willing to work and be part of the team. Arrangements can be made with the Project Director.

    To apply, select an option below:

    The project will last 9 days, including travel. Groups will normally leave Denver on Friday and return to Colorado on Saturday.

    This trip will be covered by a non-refundable, fully tax-deductible, all-inclusive trip donation of $2,500 (or $2,650 during the months of June, July, and August).

    For those interested, an optional tourist excursion to Cusco and Machu Picchu is planned at the end of the mission trip. Ceiba Tops is $350 starting on the Friday evening of the mission week with a return to Colorado on Monday. The Cusco excursion will start after the Ceiba Tops weekend.

    What's not included in the project cost:

    Spending money should be brought for any souvenirs, personal items, or additional snacks that are desired. Tips for local porters or other service providers are greatly appreciated and can provide important financial assistance to needy individuals. An easy recommendation is to bring one-dollar bills that can be used for tips. Additional sightseeing activities organized at the end of the mission project are not included in the project cost. If there is an additional baggage charge for two bags, this cost will be added to the airfare cost for each participant.

    Lodging and meals for the entire mission project and the optional excursion to Machu Picchu are included in the trip costs. The hotels we use are modern 3-star facilities that are clean and have private bathrooms and air conditioning. Specific hotels and their web pages are listed on the trip itinerary.

    Meals are also provided and will be eaten at the hospital, the hotel, or in local restaurants. In honor of our sponsors' health principles, no alcohol will be served during meals that are provided.

    Spending money should be brought for any souvenirs, personal items, or additional snacks that are desired. Tips for local porters or other service providers are greatly appreciated and can provide important financial assistance to needy individuals. An easy recommendation is to bring one-dollar bills that can be used for tips. Additional sightseeing activities organized at the end of the mission project are not included in the project cost.
    Currently, there is no financial assistance available for community health teams.

    A valid passport is required for entry into Peru. Citizens of most western countries, including the US, do not require a visa. Be sure that your passport does not expire within six months of returning to the US.

    A copy of each participant's passport is kept at the Centura administrative office during the length of the trip in case of emergency. It is also highly recommended that each participant carry a photocopy of his or her passport on the trip.

    Emergency medical evacuation insurance is provided for each participant of the trip. Participation in medical mission projects can expose participants to illness, accidents, or other dangerous situations. It is the responsibility of each participant to have adequate life, health, or other insurance that is necessary for the trip.

    Participants in the mission projects are volunteers and as such are required to sign a waiver and release form which verifies that Centura, its hospitals, Health at Home, and/or the Rocky Mountain Healthcare Foundation are not responsible for any injuries, loss, and/or damage to personal property that may occur during this mission project or tourist excursions. Trip cancellation insurance is not provided. Participants who wish to have this type of insurance are responsible to purchase their own trip cancellation insurance.

    Download Insurance Waiver and Release Form

    Unfortunately there are a lot of bugs in Peru, so you will need the following vaccinations (if you don't already have them):

    • Hepatitis A
    • Hepatitis B
    • Typhoid
    • Yellow Fever
    • Routine Immunizations: tetanus-diphtheria, measles-mumps-rubella, polio, and varicella

    You will also need to take medication for malaria. For this length of trip, Malarone may be a good recommendation.

    A couple of good travel health websites for reference are:

    The IRS allows you to claim a charitable contribution deduction for your personal travel expenses (including airfare, lodging, meals, and local transportation) for these international medical mission projects. Any additional expenses for optional sightseeing cannot be deducted.
    International airlines allow for 50 pounds of checked luggage. However, LAN Peru (the carrier for all flights from Lima to Iquitos) officially only allows 20 kilos (32 pounds) for domestic flights. A small carry-on is also allowed. Normally, you can check two bags. We recommend that one bag be filled with medical supplies; the second will be for your clothing and personal items. If there is an additional baggage charge for two bags, this cost will be added to the airfare cost for each participant.

    The climate in Iquitos is typical for rain forests...hot, humid, and plenty of rain. Loose quick-drying clothing is recommended. While short-sleeve shirts are OK during the day, long-sleeves are useful in discouraging mosquitoes, especially in the evenings. Likewise, shoes (rather than sandals) are recommended. A lightweight rain jacket is a must.

    As health care professionals and as representatives of Centura Health, dress and decorum should be appropriate. Since it is so hot & humid in Iquitos, though, neckties and suit coats are not normally worn. Further details about dress and decorum can be obtained from the Project Director. Jeans, shorts, t-shirts, and other casual clothing are acceptable during the optional tourist excursions.

    Cusco is located at 11,000 feet, so evenings can be chilly. You will be glad to have a fleece jacket or sweater there, even though you'll never use it in Iquitos. Machu Picchu is located a bit lower, at nearly 8,000 feet. Rain is common at Machu Picchu, but it can be warm when the sun is shining.

    Peru is a relatively safe destination, although travelers should always be attentive. The Maoist Group called "Sandero Luminoso (Shining Path)" abandoned their struggle in the early 90s. Some sporadic strikes still take place in various parts of Peru, yet these are usually peacefully.

    For international travel safety, visit the US Passport & International Travel website.

    A physician from Wisconsin, Dr. Linnea Smith, has been working in the jungle area near Iquitos for several years. She has written a book called "La Doctora" that provides some excellent information about the area and the challenges of providing medical care to a population that is uncertain about the benefits of western medicine.

    Joe Jackson tells the story in "The Thief a the End of the World" about how rubber became a huge global commodity at the end of the 19 th century, the era when Iquitos becomes one of the wealthy boom-towns along the Amazon River. The saga of how rubber tree seeds were secretly smuggled to England and then to Malaysia spins a fascinating tale.

    "Trail of Feathers" by Tahir Shah is an entertaining story about his search for the "birdmen" of Peru. A major portion of this book takes place in the jungles around Iquitos.

    "Conquistadors" by Michael Wood is a good introduction to the Spanish conquest of the Incas, Mayans and Aztecs. The book is based on a BBC television series.

    If you have a special interest in Machu Picchu, here are some books written by Boulder residents Ken and Ruth Wright: "The Machu Picchu Guidebook;" "Machu Picchu Revealed;" and "Machu Picchu: A Civil Engineering Marvel."

    To learn more about Peru, visit the following websites:

    For good reading about individuals who have made an impact in the world, the following books are also good reads:

    • "Mountains Beyond Mountains", the story of Dr. Paul Farmer's work in Haiti, Peru, Russia, and the WHO
    • "Three Cups of Tea", the story of Greg Mortenson and his work to establish schools in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan
    • "Leaving Microsoft to Change the World", the story of John Wood, founder of "Room to Read."

  • Support Peru

    Support Peru

    Provide medical care for someone who would otherwise go untreated. Bring health care services to the people in Peru's Amazon.

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