July 11-13: Service in Ayacucho July 16, 2018 Ayacucho, city of 33 churches, meaning in Quechua “city of death,” has been home to 7 SSTers. Five are in the central city Huamanga, and two in the outlying town of Quinua. Directors were treated to a parade of school children in traditional costumes on their way to a service placement visit. Erika prepares an intravenous injection for a patient at Belen neighborhood health center. After finishing with emergency room consults which often involve fevers and dog bites, Erika prepares cotton balls. Erika’s host family has introduced her to a rich variety of local foods and a warm family circle. Erika’s host father created the wooden furniture in her private room. At Belen health center, Stephanie tests a fresh set of urine specimens. In a different lab procedure, she and her colleagues detected a case of prostate cancer. Stephanie bonds with her host family. Martin volunteers at a health center for members of a credit union. Testing a gush of urine specimens in many shades of yellow fills Martin’s morning. Later he will centrifuge blood and urine samples. At home 7-year-old Mateo has become a best friend. Four generations have welcomed Martin to their home on the edge of Huamanga. Jonah and the zoo director, Fidel Castro, bring the baby vicuna out for a photo op. The following day, Jonah observes mouth surgery on the puma. Tree people at the zoo. Jonah regularly visits Pepe the parrot, and other animals to whom he has given names. He volunteers in the kitchen, preparing daily meals of chopped vegetables and fruit according to the diet requirements of each animal. Josh’s volunteer placement is a private health center for members of a credit union. In the triage room Josh checks in a patient who will need to consult a dermatologist. Josh’s host parents Elizabeth and Dionicio revieced a certificate of appreciation for hosting over 20 students in the past 10 years. Josh’s little host sister: “Please, may we keep Josh in our family forever?” In Quinua Stuart’s host family operates a ceramics business. His special friend is the four-year-old with her parrot. Stuart painted the fine detail on these two and many other traditional ceramics pieces. The guinea pig family may not be aware that they are destined to be roasted for a special family dinner. Brooklyn volunteers three days a week with a community health center serving the needs of seniors in Quinua. Brooklyn’s co-worker provides holistic health care for Quinua seniors that includes health screenings, Bible study and lunch. In her host family’s ceramics shop, Brooklyn adds detail painting to fired clay pieces. Directors Pat and Sylvia enjoyed lunch and sharing time with the Ayacucho Seven. Erika offers words of appreciation wto each person around the table. Stephanie, Erika, Jonah, Brooklyn, Stuart, Josh, and Martin have enjoyed learning to know one another as they share Peru Pilgrimage in Ayacucho.