Part of CUDA’s philosophy is to foster programs that are sustainable and holistic in nature and avoid paternalism and dependency. The medical branch of CUDA, called Pura Vida, is still in its beginning stages. We chose the name Pura Vida to communicate that our aim is for people to attain wellbeing in all facets of life: physical, mental and relational (also part of CUDA’s philosophy) and that this way they may be blessed by a pure life. We hope in time to be able to recruit Peruvian volunteers who will partner with us, become passionate with the work, and will continue the work once we have gone. For now, we strive to be culturally contextual and get input from local Arequipeños in all we do. Here’s our logo:
A major focus of our program is health education. Three days a week our volunteers go Hunter district’s main health center and interact with patients by assessing their risk for diabetes (through a questionnaire), performing blood sugar checks, and providing basic education. In addition to this we have begun giving *charlas*, or mini-lectures one Saturday per month on the topic of diabetes. Jake, Justin, and Andy worked together for the first one; it was given on the 21st of February and introduced the basics of diabetes. There were 13 people present including a couple of pharmacists and a volunteer from the clinic that works with the elderly (great connections to be making!)
Sarah, Katie, and Jaclyn then spent a couple of early Sunday mornings (6 am!) giving two charlas at a school in the district of Cayma for the parents. They call the groups of parents PAFA for *Padres de Familia* (family parents). The first talk was on the reason behind the need for healthy lunch boxes for kids, the second one a more practical approach on how to create healthy (and cheap) lunch boxes with local and easily accessible foods. CUDA’s Living Libraries program is working with this school this year so we hope to be able to develop more of a relationship with them as well.
he second diabetes charla at the center was done April 25th. Katie and Justin presented on ‘Nutrition and why it’s important’. About 25 people came including Dr. Ruben, one of Hunter Health Center’s doctors involved in their preventative health program.
Please continue to pray that God may give us insight and wisdom as we proceed with this new branch of CUDA. That we may develop relationships with the staff of the Hunter clinic and that God may provide Peruvians that have the passion and conviction to work alongside us. There will always be changes and ways to improve; may we face it all with flexibility, grace, and a sense of adventure.