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Montevideo 2012

June 3, 2012

We have been in Montevideo, Uruguay for about 10 days. Greg and I came with Dr. Lynette Austin and 13 students to study Global Healthcare Systems. We’ve already had many new experiences and are learning to love this city! Here’s a run down of our activities thus far:

5/22   Arrived in Montevideo after an overnight flight and were greeted by Wimon and Rosalinda Walker…always gracious hosts. The students participated in a scavenger hunt around the city to help them get oriented. This is return trip for us, so we took the time to unpack our suitcases and rearrange the living space to accommodate Lynette, when she arrived. We all enjoyed a welcome dinner at a restaurant above Mercado de Artesans. Many tried the national dish: Chivitos. (It’s not goat, despite its name…my nickname for this dish is “heart attack on a plate”. It’s a huge pile of french fries, beef, fried eggs, ham, cheese, bacon, tomatoes, a few olives, and a little ensalda on the side.)

After safe arrival at Montevideo airport

5/23 Our anniversary! And we celebrated by doing Casa ACU orientation and then taking a tour of the cuidad vieja (the old city). This a beautiful part of the city with cobblestone streets and many walking streets and historic buildings. Later that evening we went to a very nice restaurant with the Walkers to celebrate a little more. I had wonderful fresh pasta….the Italian influence in this country is strong and the pasta is wonderful!

5/24 Our first Global Healthcare class meeting….we designed a healthcare system and talked about all of the essentials parts of any comprehensive system.

5/25 First meeting of the Core course and a bus tour of the city as a whole….still getting oriented! Then we toured the El Chana building that houses Casa ACU and the El Chana church. El Chana was a coffee company (eventually bought out by Nestle) The building has beautiful stained glass windows and from the roof (with a large clock tower) there is a spectacular view of the city. After our tour, youth from the El Chana church joined us to make pizza (recipe from Raquel!). We practiced our Spanish, culinary skills and made new friends!

5/26 We learned about the public bus system by taking the bus to Punta Carretes Shopping area….a very nice mall inside a building that used to be a prison. Outside the mall is a street market…the Villa Biantz Ferria. The weather was sunny and slightly cool and we enjoyed walking along the streets and looking at everything for sale!

5/27 Sunday…church at El Chana. We got lots of practice with traditional greetings and repeating our names. This is a warm and kind group of people. 9PM English worship in Casa.

Inside the church building

5/28 A long and eventful day….we had a 4 hour tour of Hospital de Clinicas with Dr. Perraza. He graciously took us through multiple wards and we visited the cardiology section, the transplant department and emergency areas, among many others. We were very tired, but saw a lot! Global Healthcare class all afternoon, and then Tango lessons during the evening!

Mate (a type of tea) is the most popular drink in Uruguay. Here’s a machine in the hospital that can deliver more hot water in case you run out — something you’ll never see in the USA.

 

5/29 On Tuesday/Thursday we will usually have classes all day to allow the other days to be more open for outside activities….so Tuesday we had class and then that evening went to the beautiful theatre: Teatro Solis for a performance of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. It’s a spectacular venue and the music was wonderful. We had fun with Greg’s iPhone app that allows you to scan text in one language and attempt to translate to another….reading the program this way proved to be very entertaining!

5/30 Pre-health students spent the morning in Hospital de Clinicas…observing. Several observed heart catheterization procedures, others did rounds with medical students. The speech path students went to Escuela Roosevelt…a school for disabled children and observed. Everyone came back excited about their experiences! And we spent the afternoon doing homework and taking care of household chores!

Mariella and Raquel are the wonderful cooks who regularly prepare delicious food for us at Casa ACU.

5/31 Class all day today, and a quiet evening….finally beginning to settle in to a routine!

6/1 Morning class for pre-health students. The speech path students toured the children’s hospital with local speech path students and really enjoyed their observation. Afternoon class for the speech path students, and the pre-health students toured the British Hospital…the nicest private hospital in Montevideo. Our host was Dr. Stanham and he was gracious and interesting and gave a very thorough overview of the Uruguayan Healthcare system!

At the British hospital

6/2 WORLD CUP SOCCER elimination game between Uruguay and Venezeula. Uruguayans love futball! This was an amazing experience. Greg and I got to be part of the unfurling crew for the giant flag and we got to see Forlon score…..but the game ended in an unsatisfactory 1-1 tie. Ah well….they’re still in the hunt and playing well!!!

Futball game at the site of the first World Cup

6/3 Our second Sunday in Montevideo. Church at El Chana…lunch at a lovely restaurant with the Walkers and then we rambled through a ferria. It’s gotten cold in the past few days….winter has arrived!

That’s what we’ve done so far. We’re learning a little Spanish and it has been much easier to fall into a working pace since this is a return trip and so many of the little basics are familiar.

Hope all is well wherever you are in the world…and that you are aware of God’s presence and constant love and mercy.

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