Today marks the first day of our community health clinical, although we are still touring the area and the sites that we will be working with. The parish we are staying at is the basis and background to all the work we are doing here in Piura. Sacramento Santisimo is a Catholic parish led by Father Joseph Uhem, who graduated from Notre Dame and has been building the programs here for 18 years. The focus in this parish is tending to acute needs in the community and serving the poor in the area. Their main program is called Family to Family, in which one can sponsor a Peruvian family in Piura for $25 per month. These families come from the surrounding villages, which contain houses made of dirt floors and bamboo walls. The houses have no electricity or running water, and many times, the main income into the household is nowhere near enough to sustain life.
For example, in 2010, Marquette University opted to sponsor a family here in Piura in response to the Community Health Nursing Program. This family contains a father, a mother, and their three small children. The father of our Marquette family is a mototaxi driver, a job commonly seen in these types of families. Although mototaxis are a common way of transportation in Peru and the jobs are available, our “father” does not make enough per day to maintain and support his family. Most of his income goes to the mototaxi company, not to him. The Family-to-Family program at Sacramento Santisimo has given this family and families that are similar food packages to help maintain everyday life.
Along with the food packages, the parish provides several programs for the families that tend to basic needs, such as healthcare. There is a clinic within the parish that is very often visited by the community. The Marquette Nursing students will be working at this clinic many times during our visit here. Some of the other clinical sites we will be working with are the hospice, Vida Nueva: Drug Rehabilitation Center for Men, Vaso De Leche: Group for Women, and many more. I will work to expand on these sites as we visit them.
Marquette Nursing with the Gentlemen of Vida Nueva
As a group, we felt a calling to Vaso de Leche, the group for women. They spend their time making breakfast for the children in the villages and spreading the knowledge they gain at the parish with their communities. We spent an hour with these women today, and we all felt that this was the aggregate we would want to concentrate on. I am scheduled to do my teaching project with this group of women, and I am ecstatic about it. During our time with them, the women expressed their excitement about us being there and us sharing our knowledge. They called us hermanas, or sisters, and we immediately felt at home.
With the Women of Vaso de Leche
As nursing students, we are always asked to teach in clinical. In fact, one of the main roles of the nurse is to teach, so the patients can advocate for themselves. Here in Vaso de Leche, we were fortunate enough to hear what our clients actually want to learn. I truly feel like we will make a difference with this group of women. We will help to make their group into something so substantial; something that the community can join and grow with.
I am teaching about the importance of nutrition and how food can affect health, such with blood pressure. I will complete this project two weeks from today and I am attempting to give it in Spanish to better relate to my audience. The women also requested information about first aid and infection control, and these topics will be taught by all of us as a group.
Tomorrow is the first day that we will venture out into the community to give care. We will go out from the parish in scrubs at 9 am to our clinical sites, mine being the nearby villages. I am to give home visits to the community tomorrow, and I am so excited to finally begin my role as a public health nurse here in Piura.