Taking care of the children at NPH Peru 365 days a year and 24/7.
Ever since I was little I dreamt of becoming a nurse – a compassionate, dedicated and caring one and not of those half-hearted nurses which I remember from my numerous stays in hospitals in my early years.
During my studies and also while working, there has always been the idea of working abroad and it was only in 2012 that I decided to actively work on this dream and make it happen.
I have been working at NPH Peru for nine months now and I have just decided to extend my stay for a little while longer than the initially planned twelve months. Together with the part-time pediatrician and our local nurse Giovana, I take care of our 97 children 365 days a year, and 24 / 7. We treat their illnesses, provide first aid and we are there for the children if they need any advice, a hug or just a smile.
Apart from dealing with our children’s’ diseases such as asthma and other respiratory problems, malnuitrion, mycosis, dermatitis, gastritis, louses, sprains, bruises and scratches, I’m also responsible for educational preventive campaigns for the tutors and the children. In October I launched for example a big campaign to assure that our children clean their teeth after each meal. The teeth campaign was only the beginning of a series of actions to teach our children the basics about personal hygiene and was followed by instructions about the correct way to shower and wash your hands. At the moment I’m working on a project to ensure that all children drink enough water during the hot Peruvian summer days so they started calling me “tia agua.”
What I love most about my job here compared to previous functions in Austria is that I get the chance to spend more time with the children and to have the opportunity to better listen and respond to the their needs. My main focus when working with our children is to take their fear away and to give them the feeling of safety.
Whenever I’m not needed at the clinic and I have a free minute, I spend the time with my super cool kids at casa “San Martin.” When I arrived here I decided to become one of the tia’s for boys whose ages range from eight to seventeeen. I love my guys as they always give me a smile and make me smile. During times when I’m really busy at the clinic and do not manage to go and see them in their house, they come and visit me in the clinic which is so sweet and always cheers me up.
Coming to NPH Peru was one of the best experiences in my life. When being a volunteer you have to work hard, but it also gives you so much in return that you benefit a lot on a professional level and more importantly on a personal level. You contribute a small part to changing the children’s lives, but moreover they change your life.
Contributed by Julia Spettel, NPH Peru volunteer