Thursday, February 11, 2010

Getting started in Pucallpa

We are sitting by the third world pool at our hotel (the pool that was empty when we got our reservations) and one of the best wifi spots that we can find, just waiting for the action to start. Our group of volunteers will be arriving tomorrow. We just finished a project that will mimic this one, so we are somewhat versed in how it works. It is amazing how you do something for the first time and it takes 10 hours to prepare, then the second time you do it, it only takes 2 hours. We are ready. We have a group of medical people coming down to run 8 clinics in and around the city of Pucallpa. We also have an Impact crew that will be doing events with the local kids while their parents are being treated in the clinics. As we discovered in Iquitos, this is a great way to reach people. So here we are, going to do it again.

I am privileged to have such an amazing team to run these projects. I am specially honored to have my wonderful wife to lead the medical clinic. She spent some time observing how our last medical project functioned in Iquitos, and because we needed someone to take the leadership responsibility, she jumped in and is doing a great job. She is just amazing! I am a blessed husband for sure!

Not only is Teri right in the middle of all of the action, our kids, Kayle and Emma are ready for the battle. They will be joining me on our impact events. They are super helpful, as they can communicate with the local kids as well as help out our volunteers who speak English. I am convinced that these are the two sweetest little translators in all of South America.

So one notable thing that was worthy of a little story, was that today we got word that our ship had come in. I know it is cliché, but it did. We sent all of our medical clinic supplies on a ship from Iquitos to Pucallpa. It was supposed to be a short 4 day journey. Well, it took 8. We had been wondering if our clinic schedule and plans for Pucallpa were really going to work, or if we were going to have to reengineer the entire project the day before the group arrives. Thank God the ship came in.

We sent a local from the church in Iquitos to travel with our stuff. Everything made it safe and sound. Ramon was a little weary when he got off the boat, but was in one piece. He showed up at the hotel and helped us coordinate getting our stuff off the boat, into the truck, and to the hotel.

I saw something today that I couldn’t believe. We had just finished loading our stuff into the back of this downtrodden vehicle that somewhat resembled a truck. The driver whips out this long piece of metal and jams it into the side of the cab and begins to spin it. It was just at that moment that I started to make a joke about how the guy looks like he is going to start his rig by winding up the motor. Sure enough, it fired up and my joke was no longer funny, but totally right on the money. I was quite surprised at a couple of things on this journey; we made it back to the hotel without breaking down, it only cost 25 soles(9 bucks) to haul a good sized pile of stuff, and he let me ride shotgun while the wind, dust and bugs hit my teeth because there was no windshield. It was surely an interesting experience. Everyone should experience hanging out at the shipyard in Pucallpa at least one time in their lives.

I will keep this one short and just ask that you all keep our project in your prayers. There are always a million things that can take place outside of our planning. God has given us the flexibility and the wherewithal to be able to adapt and overcome, but sometimes it is just easier if they go as planned. Rarely does that happen, but it is something that you all can pray for. I will write again soon.

Stay blessed,

Scott Englund

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