Week one Bolivia mi amor

This is my first week completed update here in LA Paz Bolivia! My flights all went smoothly, first I flew to LA and got to visit my aunts and cousins! So much fun and then after I flew to Bogotá Columbia. After that I flew into La Paz arriving at 2:50 am. I was picked up and driven to my host family. We live in La Paz in an apartment in the middle class district. The first two weeks of hospitals are a 20 minute walk across the bridge. So very close which is much nicer than a 20 minute walk to a bus stop and then 30–60 minutes of busses in Ecuador.

Witches market.

Before coming to bolivia many people told me it was significantly more dangerous. I do not feel that way at all though. I walk everywhere and feel 100% safer than when I would walk in Ecuador even when I wasn’t alone in my second month. The other thing about Bolivia is that I am able to blend in better. People don’t pursue me in the same way as they did in Ecuador. I am not sure why but I think it is because La paz itself is a mix of all different people and so it isn’t as obvious. Also not all of the people are ridiculously short like in ecuador so I don’t stand out as much with my height.

View from my window.

My first week experience in the hospital was great. I was at El Hospital del Niño. I was first with Dr. Valasco a pediatric infectologist. But then I changed to be with another Dra. Lilia Padilla. She was so amazing. She explained everything to me and treated me like another colleague which I always appreciate.

This adorable patient running for the ball we play with!

She explained Leishmania a jungle and mosquito disease where essentially mosquitos plant there eggs in the skin of a child or adult in our case it was child. The eggs grow and when they are larva they eat the flesh from the inside. When the larva go into the bloodstream it is almost certain death. The little boy who had Leishmania was super sweet and will recover. Although sometimes depending on the child’s reaction to the treatment the child dies. He seemed to be doing well with the treatment and hopefully will fully recover.

They use typewriters for charts here. Only downside is fingers get dirty.

Another patient who I fell in love with is 11 year old Francis Abigail. Dra. Padilla gave me an hour to go talk to people and while I think she thought I would go schmooze with the other interns, I didn’t. I went and talked to the 11 year old girl for close to an hour. She was there because she had been playing soccer in the street and fell and her nose split open to the bone and cartilage. Because it happened in the street and it was dirty she had to be watched in case of infection. She was so sweet and told me all about the drought here and how it affects her school. She also told me all about Bolivia and asked several questions about the United states government. She wants to be a Dra when she is a grown up and I am sure she will be an amazing one.

I tried antichuco basically BBQ cow heart.
It tasted pretty good!

I loved the pediatric hospital because I felt like I was really able to connect with my patients. They were all so sweet and I hope they all fully recover. It really made me realize that I want to work with kids. It is such a lively and joyous wing and I can’t wait to learn more about it.

Bingo my best friend!

Spanish classes are with a woman named Jenny. She is about 35 and is really interesting. Her goal for teaching is that I am able to converse freely and correctly or at least with minimal barrier. Most of our classes are spent walking around and talking. We went to the street markets near central La Paz. She was able to show me so much and I saw some of the witches market. She also teaches me all about the culture here and the dynamics politically with Chile. It is so interesting and I am really enjoying it.

The littlest one taking a snooze

Gonzalo is my CFHI Coordinator. He is the best coordinator I could have ever asked for. He is an english literature profesor and business professor. His english is flawless, and he is so nice. On Sunday my first kind of day we walked all around for my orientation he showed me everything. Something I didn’t receive in Ecuador. He is also very protective and I feel kind of like he is my dad here. He is always sure that everything is ok and I appreciate it greatly!

We washed Bingo!!! Featuring kike , Diego and of course the Bingo

My host family :)

They are incredible. We live on the fourteenth floor in an apartment building. The Cati my host mom is 28, and her husband is Kika. They are so wonderful and nice. Cati is a chef and a stay at home mom, while Kika is a banker. They have two adorable children, one is Diego and he has 5 years. The other little boy is Alessandro but is called Chaki, he has 2 years. We play all the time. Not to mention they have a 5 month old cocker spaniel puppy named Bingo, who is of course so sweet, but a bit crazy. I really feel at home with them and don’t want to leave! I have 3 more weeks here in La Paz and then I go to Tarija a court in the south of Bolivia. Only about a 14 hour bus!

Cascada that we rappelled down
My butterfly friends!

On Sunday I went to Coroico to go rappelling, it was tons of fun. But never before have I thought so genuinely that I would die. And it wasn’t the rappelling as one would expect it was the death road we took to get there. Narrow. And we were on a big bus, and I was so sure I was going to die. It was stunning but I am not sure how I feel about a 15,000 ft drop 6 inches from the tires. I was very awake when I was in the drop side. I kept thinking what I would do if we just started to go off.

That is the road.
Small but used eaveryday.

More next week!

Love from Bolivia,

Madeline

I survived.
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