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Elective Competition Winner 2017

By Jordan Newport

Elective Competition Winner 2017


About the final days on board the Amazon Hope.

After Belen we made our way to Santa Elena, situated on a beautiful lagoon and accompanied once again by the Amazonian pink dolphins!

Image above: Pulling into Santa Elena. A beautiful lagoon on its way to becoming an Ox-bow lake. This is the type of place where Cayman live (but at the other end, away from the village). Below: Amy ploughing through her dental list in Santa Elena. The dentist was popular! Something to do with the Peruvian love of sugar, maybe?

jordan-tarantula-250In the evening Frank took myself and Ingrid on another excursion… and we found some (pink-toed) tarantulas. They're not as slow moving as I'd hoped though!

Frank holding the tarantula. I specifically sought a longer stick before I attempted holding it. Below: I overcame enough of my arachnophobia to have it on me for a while.Jordan-standing-spider-150

Finally, we made our way to Intuto -  stopping first at a village just passed it. Such are the bends in the river, it took us 1.5 hours to sail to this village from Intuto, when it takes 20 minutes to drive there.

Before beginning morning clinic, a few of us went for a wander and ended up being invited to a family gathering at a house. 12.30pm and these locals were already drunk on masato! (alcoholic drink made from fermented yuca root). We knew their plans for the rest of the day….

jordan-capybara-250The locals told us they had a capybara. It turned out to be a baby hog. Still cute though.

The drive to Intuto is much quicker than sailing around the meanders.Jordan-intuto-ride-150

Back in Intuto we awaited the arrival of the ophthalmology team after their 12 hour speedboat journey. The rest of the day was spent preparing and converting the clinical area downstairs into a sterile surgery!

A Peruvian documentary was being made, so lots of camera faff was had. Our team would be split for the last day of primary care - some would take a clinic at the health centre in Intuto, others would assist with ophthalmology triage.

As for the health centre, it was somewhere you wouldn't want to find yourself. Equipped only for people requiring a few basic injections, antibiotics or fluids, but not much else.

We had an infant with a high temperature and lethargy whom we were concerned about - got him to stay in for IV antibiotics and we kept an eye to see if we thought he'd need evacuating to Iquitos. All ok - he responded well after a few hours.


Laura feeling the abdomen of a patient in the health centre at Intuto.

A blind lady, with poor mobility, being helped up the steps from the boat after having cataract surgery on her left eye.Jordan-help-250

Later that day said goodbye to the primary care medical team. The Peruvians put a show on for us to say thank you - and got us involved to their delight.

Then it was time to start the 3 day journey back down river to Iquitos, stopping off for one more ophthalmology clinic en route. I spent this day shadowing the consultant.

First was triage and pre-op, filtering out who an operation would benefit. Then I joined him as he peeled back pterygium and removed cataracts in those eligible.

jordan-ingrid-help-250There were 22 people initially on his list for today, but only 8 who turned up were eligible for surgery… many didn't show, which highlights the difficulties for people to arrange for travel to and accommodation at the meeting point - particularly when impoverished. A prescription glasses clinic was running in parallel with the surgery downstairs.

Ingrid assisting in ophthalmology triage after spending 10 days assisting with pharmacy duties.


Cataract surgery.

And now here I am, back in Nauta and aboard our bus back to Iquitos. After a few days in the city I'll begin my travels about the rest of Peru, and hopefully some climbing in the second greatest mountain range on earth - The Andes!


The medical team - Peruvian and voluntary - always dine together. A great bunch of people.


You're guaranteed some glorious sunsets. Vampire bats fill the skies. Taken at Belen.

Thanks for following! Ciao!

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