Why are we doing Medical Mission to Huancavelica? What led me to work on this?
I was born in Peru and grew up there. I spent over a decade working as a General Surgeon in several areas including one of the first Organ Transplantation Programs. Furthermore, I traveled on my own through most of the Peruvian territory. Since then, I was shocked to see the tremendous disparity in standard of life for most native Peruvians not living in the few developed cities of the country.
Their land, used to be the Inka Empire: that period encompassed more than 40% of South America and probably over 60% of the population for this Sub-Continent. The Inka culture honored honesty, hard work and a sense of community instead of individualism. They developed advanced sense of progress, and peaceful coexistence. All that was destroyed by the Spanish Conquerors who demeaned the local aborigines' humanity and progress, calling them "savages".
The Spanish reformation of the Peruvian Community made it became a two tier society: the white Spaniards stole and enjoyed all the fruits of the Empire and the locals were slaves. The transformation into and independent Country however, did not restore the quality of life to the Natives. Even today, most do not have access to the services they deserve and are not offered by the successive governments who have just began to change their ingrained culture in the last 3 decades.
When I came to work in USA, during tough, almost broken economic period for Peru, I promised myself I would try my best to assist my fellow countrymen when I could. Then I found Peruvian American Medical Society, who had the same purpose. For the last 25 years with P.A.M.S. I have been able to participate in the charitable programs for over two decades (yearly), to work in the poorest and most needy areas of Peru. We have seen hundreds of thousands of patients with our Medical Missions, improved Local Medical Hospitals and Clinics, performed tens of thousands of Surgical Procedures and upgraded the quality of Health Services throughout the less serviced regions in Peru.
What I will try to accomplish in this blog is to share with you on how I feel. While doing so, I will open some windows to allow you to see what I see. Furthermore, I will try to separate my two trains of thoughts (topics). One will be from the medical point of view (a little more technical, let us say). The other will be from the humanity point of view (more inclusive and engaging for all of us).
Thanks for your time and attention. Please feel free to voice in and share your opinions with me as I share my thoughts, comments, and concern regarding these current events that are occurring in Peru.
Ralph Kuon M.D.