This last weekend FIMRC organized an optional trip to the city of Huaraz, so that we could learn about traditional Peruvian medicine. We all decided to go, and were glad we did because it was an amazing experience. Huaraz is a smaller city than Trujillo, about 8 hours away and located in the Andes mountains. It's situated in a valley between two distinct mountain ranges, one snow covered and the other not.
Rural village in Huaraz where we saw traditional medicine.
On Friday night we took a sleeper bus from Trujilllo to Huaraz. These double decker VIP buses are a common sight in Peru, and are incredible. The have reclining seats, food and drinks are served, and there are movies (that may be less incredible, as the movies often play when you want to sleep). We 'slept' on the bus overnight and arrived in Huaraz in time for breakfast. We were met there by a Peruvian medical student, Jose, whose parents live in Huaraz and who had arranged our educational experience. Jose's mother is an anthropologist and his father is an author. His mother joined us and we took a rented minivan far into the valley, and then up a mountain. Our destination was a small village at the top of a mountain- it was a fairly remote Peruvian village, off the beaten path. The landscape was amazing- it was a scenic village of mud brick houses, flowers, birds and great mountain vistas.
Jose's mother talks to a local woman about medicinal plants.
Undergoing the guinea pig healing ceremony.
After visiting the local healer, we continued through the valley to visit the ruins of a city which had been covered by an earthquake 30 years ago. The area was built like a memorial, with giant flower and rose gardens and monuments to the dead. It was eerie, but a beautiful place. It rained on us there, but we were interested enough to walk around and see most of the area.
Next, we went to a small mountain town with a nice central plaza and an ice cream shop. We watched them make the ice cream (more like gelatto), and then bought cones for 30 cents each. A few of us then walked over to a coffee shop. It was a really nice way to spend the day.