PERU – At just two years old, Andrea needed help desperately. She was sick and her parents, Emerson and Rosa, didn’t know what was wrong. The nearest health clinic was closed and the closest hospital was over an hour away.
Andrea and her family live in Belen, a poor community on the banks of the Itaya River outside Iquitos, Peru. Andrea’s parents are struggling farmers who make a living growing yucca, plantains, guava, cilantro, and papaya.
They sell their crops at the market in Belen, but the profits are barely enough to feed Andrea and her siblings.
Whenever her children got sick Rosa would worry.
The local health clinic was 15-minute walk away, but it was only open in the morning. “I was very afraid when one of us got sick, even from the flu,” she said. If the health clinic wasn’t open, the only option was the hospital in Iquitos.
Rosa’s fears were realized when Andrea fell ill one day. The young girl was suffering from a sore throat and an alarmingly high fever, but the medical clinic was closed. Rosa and Emerson frantically tried to decide what to do. The hospital was just too far away, but Rosa had heard of an Operation Blessing Community Medical Outpost in nearby Santa Rosa.
The Community Medical Outpost is a small first aid center that is run by volunteer members of the community that have been trained by Operation Blessing health professionals on basic first responder and health principles. Emerson ran down the road until he found a mototaxi to take him to the neighboring community. There, he met an Operation Blessing community health worker named Frida. She gave him the medicine that Andrea so badly needed.
Emerson rushed home to administer the medicine, and it wasn’t long before little Andrea was her usual happy self again. “If it hadn’t been for Frida’s help and the medical kit, my daughter would have had something worse,” Rosa said. “Having a community medical outpost that we can attend at any time is a blessing.”
But the help from Operation Blessing didn’t end there. When OB Peru staff found out that Rosa and Emerson’s home didn’t have electricity, they provided the family with solar lights to replace their dim and dangerous old lanterns. “Now my children will be able to do their homework at any time,” Rosa exclaimed. “And best of all, I won’t be afraid of something happening to them. When we used the lanterns, I was afraid of fires. Thank you to OB, who have been like angels, who have come to my house to give light to my life and safety to my family!”
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