The story of our trip to Inahuay is waiting for our boat. We were planning on leaving to Inahuay on a Thursday afternoon, planning on arriving to Inahuay on Friday afternoon. Yes, I know, the boat trip really is 24 hours long. And that’s down river with the current! Well, of course our boat was not ready to leave on Thursday afternoon, in fact there was no boat at the dock. Josh finally figured things out and found that a boat leaves Saturday at noon. So we get ready the truck packed and head down there early to be waiting to board the boat and get a good spot for our hammocks. We arrive early enough that we are the first ones to arrive on the boat and set everything up. The hammocks and set right up next to each other, and we are spacious. Then the boat starts to fill up as more people begin to board. Then the boat starts to becomes overly cramped as people are packing in, putting their hammocks everywhere, including in between ours. The boat is finally packed tight, we are cramped. And of course, the boat doesn’t leave on time. In fact, the boat doesn’t leave until 7:00 that night as we wait on the boat for hours before it leaves. We travel down river for 24 hours straight, stopping along the way dropping of various items and people that live in remote villages along the Ucayali. I remember soda being a popular drop off item in those remote parts, gotta get your sugar fix somehow out there. We arrive in Inahuay Sunday afternoon and move in to our hostel.
A local nurse/dentist down there is running for the mayor of the town and hooked us up with a free stay in the hostel for the entire time we were there. We begin clinic on Monday as usual as help as many people as humanly possible. It was packed, but the people were really patient. When we overbooked the Dental side, the people understood they might be helped in the morning and were willing to come back that afternoon. No one was pushy and they were very nice to us. Tuesday, the clinic team split into two so we can help more people. I was on the smaller, travel team and Julie stayed with the bigger, base team. I hopped onto a small, pecky pecky, as they call it and headed off on the river to a couple of remote villages. Again, the people were so grateful. The people made us lunch, chicken soup, and it tasted amazing. Martin, one of the missionaries that went to Inahuay only a few months earlier with the dental team kept telling us that those remote villages will kill a chicken for us and make amazing chicken soup. Well, they didn’t kill a fresh chicken I’m pretty sure, because it was pretty hard meat. However, the soup was good and I was grateful. While I was off eating chicken soup, Julie stayed with the base team in Inahuay for another day to finish up everyone there. The next day Julie got to come with us up the river to another remote village on a pecky pecky. I really don’t remember much of the villages or the people, but the places were beautiful. I do remember meeting some shipivo people. These people don’t really speak Spanish, and all the ladies dress the same. They are all old, and I’m pretty sure they are dying out without the culture being carried down the generation.
I am becoming more confident as a dentist, and I am starting to have a good time. It is always a little stressful at times with the screaming child that won’t cooperate, but you learn tricks along the way to coax, trick them into cooperation. It’s also very difficult to dig out root tips at times, but my savior Colt, always knew the trick to get them out. I tried to help out in pharmacy one day when the dental load was light, and know I see whey Julie had a hard time at first. The doctor’s handwriting is horrific and there are just a bunch of pills everywhere, very difficult to find the ones you need. The doctor writes prescriptions at a 100 mph and it’s very difficult for the pharmacy people to keep up. I started to get the hang of it, but I’m glad my job was just to pull teeth and the occasional screaming child. We ended the week well at a really pretty village with cliffs overlooking the river. The medical team was running out of medicine and the dental team was running out of patience. I finished off my term as a dentist pulling out 4 molars on a screaming 3 year old, priceless!
We ended our trip up the river with a trip to some hotwater springs in Contomana. The ride up to the water springs was a 2 hour off-road adventure, but it was worth it. Julie and I sat in the springs for 4 hours straight, extremely refreshing. What a perfect, relaxing vacation as our adventures as missionaries in Peru come to a close. We had a good time, learned a lot, but are extremely glad to come back home to the United States where live is oh so comfortable.