Jorge Arévalo Medical Mission 2019-June 16 to June 23, 2019
Seek volunteers to work in partnership with nationals in the population of Iquitos to help further the development of homegrown mission movements aided to improve the quality of care of those in need.
Iquitos is the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest and the capital of the Amazon region of this country. It is located in the northeast part of the country with a current population of close to 500,000. Iquitos is the largest city in the world without access by road. This is a city with a very international and colorful past. The rubber boom of the late 1870’s through the late 1920’s left an indelible mark on the city of Iquitos as it attracted many European immigrants who contributed to its social and commercial development and its unique urban and cultural identity. Over 250,000 tourists visited Iquitos in 2012, a number that is expected to increase since the ranking of the Amazon River as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World in 2012. Iquitos was also included on the list of “top 10 cities for 2011” by Lonely Planet (a reputable travel guide book). The inhabitants of the hamlets, villages and towns along the rivers are primarily descendants of various tribes, but most speak Spanish as their main language. Iquiteños are known for being easy-going, jovial, and friendly people; relationships and friendships are extremely important to them. It has been said that the dwellers of the jungle are people who are ‘serene, profound and contemplative.’
Needs in Our Community
Out on the river, most of the people have little or no access to even the most basic medical care. Many suffer from very serious infections such as tuberculosis, yellow fever and typhoid fever. Also, eye and teeth conditions as well as malnutrition are predominant among dwellers. Children are afflicted primarily from parasites and malnutrition and all, adults and children, are very susceptible to infections of all kinds due mainly to the deplorable conditions they live in. They rely on river water for drinking, cooking and bathing. This water is polluted by garbage, human waste and thus contains many harmful bacteria and parasites. Two other common diseases this community is continually exposed to are malaria and dengue fever. People in these villages are extremely underprivileged; they, many times have to travel 4 to 8 hours by wooden boats to reach the closest doctor and emergency medical facilities. They can barely meet their needs for food and shelter, and have very limited resources to procure medical assistance, and much less for securing medications, clothing and many of the essentials needed for human survival. To put it in perspective and to better grasp the pressing needs in this communities: a household has only ONE dollar a day to live on, and consequently most of the time they have to make decisions between feeding their families and seeking medical care.