Apr 19, 2021

PAWS Is On The Road!

Anally & Joel getting ready to receive patients
Anally & Joel getting ready to receive patients

During January and February, there was a post-Christmas spike in Covid-19 cases throughout Peru, prompting a whole new set of restrictions. Bi-weekly changes meant that we never knew what was going to happen next, so starting the program up again just didn’t make sense. However, by mid-March, things were settling down, restrictions in Cusco had been consistent for several weeks and importantly, none of the rules prohibited our activities. So, we seized the opportunity to get up and running again!

 

The Key is in the Preparation

Before we could send our mobile clinic out to the villages, the first job was to employ our clinic staff. After lots of conversations, applications and interviews, we finally found our dream team!

Joel Campana: Our head vet has lots of experience working with small animals, although working in a mobile clinic is new to him! He will be responsible for over-seeing the medical care of all the animals and performing any surgeries. 

Anally Espinoza: Having graduated from veterinary school last year, Anally is excited to be assisting Joel to ensure the best medical care. She also speaks Quechua, which is proving to be a real asset with many of the adults in these rural villages. 

Maria Cristina Yabar: As our driver and administration assistant, Maria Cristina’s key roles will be getting the team to where they need to be and keeping the project’s records up to date. Since she had another contract to finish up, her husband, Alan, is currently standing in for her and doing a great job!

The second task was to make some upgrades to the mobile, including adding surgical steel worktables and walls, to ensure the highest levels of cleanliness. The third and final job was to gather up all the supplies and medicines we needed, and then we were ready to go!

 

The First Two Weeks

We’ve just completed our first two weeks, visiting four of the smaller villages on our list. While there have been the inevitable teething issues, it’s been a roaring success! We had a stroke of luck meeting Sulema from the Ministry of Development and Social inclusion on our first day and she has been instrumental in helping us access the villages and ensures that the community presidents give us a good space from which to work. We have now registered 308 dogs and 76 cats (and a sheep) and been able to carry out initial health checks as well as administer anti-parasite medications, flea treatment and vaccines where appropriate. Some of the animals present with respiratory ailments and digestive issues, so the team has been treating them for those too.

 

Why the Program is so Important

This week, we met the Quispe family in a small rural village on the outskirts of Cusco. Juan , his wife and 7 children live on a piece of land at the edge of the village, in an improvised three-room structure, made from bits of timber, plastic sheeting and corrugated tin. The rest of the property is occupied by 20-30 farm animals (sheep, pigs, goats, chickens), the family’s only source of income, as well as their 12 dogs and 6 cats. Juan tells us that they initially got a couple of dogs to protect the house and the farm animals, and a couple of cats to keep the vermin at bay. But, because they can’t afford to neuter their animals, they end up with more and more. Feeding so many mouths is a challenge, let alone trying to find funds for veterinary care. We asked Juan what he would do if his dogs have any more puppies and he told us straight: they would have no choice but to abandon them.

Juan and his family were glad to see their animals receiving veterinary treatment for the first time and are really excited for the opportunity to get all their dogs and cats neutered! We are so happy to be able to help families like Juan’s, and do our bit towards reducing the numbers of unwanted and abandoned animals in the area. (The names used are not their real names.)

 

We’ve been very pleased with the uptake so far and are looking forward to continuing our work in other villages, as well as starting the sterilisation aspect of the program in the coming weeks. Of course, we couldn’t do any of this, without you, our generous donors! Please help us spread the word by sharing our project with your friends, family and co-workers. Thank you so much for your continued support!

Who doesn't hate going to the doctor?
Who doesn't hate going to the doctor?
Deworming treatments for kitties too!
Deworming treatments for kitties too!
The Quispe family and their animals
The Quispe family and their animals

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Mar 8, 2021

A New School Year Begins

February food delivery in Oropesa
February food delivery in Oropesa

The roller coaster continues in Peru: while the government’s economic reactivation program has allowed some people to go back to work, biweekly changes to the rules create a lack of consistency. As a result, local businesses and the tourism industry have yet to really take off again, so incomes are still irregular. To this end, we have continued delivering food baskets to our families in most need and have delivered 89 food baskets to date. But with the government working to control the spread of the virus and roll out vaccines, things are finally looking up!

The start of the school year

The school year is due to start on March 15th, but it’s still not clear what this means for Picaflor House. Government schools will be offering online learning for at least the next couple of months, but we’re hopeful that the government will give the go ahead for programs offering outdoor play/activities to start operating again, in the next month or so. To be ready for this, we have a plan to invite small numbers of children to come in shifts, so they can at least enjoy some exercise and socially-distanced company in our park, as well as have access to other outdoor activities and a healthy snack!

A little goes even further this week!

Today is the start of GlobalGiving’s Little-by-Little matching campaign! Until Friday, GlobalGiving will 50% match every donation under $50, and will also 100% match any new recurring donations! We know times are hard, but if you do wish to donate, doing so this week will help your generosity to go even further. Please also share this report or our project page with your friends, family and co-workers to help us spread the word!

As ever, thank you for your continued support and everything you do to help improve the education and health of the children of Oropesa!

Example of the food delivered in the baskets
Example of the food delivered in the baskets

Links:

Feb 23, 2021

New Businesses Up and Running

Guinea pigs settling into their new home
Guinea pigs settling into their new home

With reduced Covid-19 restrictions at the end of 2020, we were able to finish off the construction of the new guinea pig houses we had started, putting on the missing roofs and finishing the newest building. Our three new business owners, Nelly, Nicasia y Francisca are raising their first litters of guinea pigs, which will be ready for market soon! We continued to source the adobe (mud) bricks from community members, to help support the local economy and reduce transport costs and logistics. As usual, the building process was a collaboration, with the women and their families getting stuck in and doing a lot of the construction work.

After the end of year celebrations, Covid-19 cases were on the rise again, so the government rolled back some of the allowed activities, including dining in at restaurants. This means that the demand for guinea pig has not been as high recently, but the women have been selling animals to their neighbours and other communities, or supplementing their family’s diets with this delicious and protein rich meat!

Once restrictions are loosened, we will be able to start visiting the women more again, to offer additional training and support. Specifically, we have an animal husbandry workshop planned, to ensure they know the best way to care for their animals to increase production. Training is a key aspect to this project, to ensure that the women are truly empowered to continue running and building these businesses independently.

To highlight International Women’s Day on 8th March, GlobalGiving is running an International Women’s Week Campaign from 8th to 12th March and has selected our Women’s Empowerment Project to take part! This means that GlobalGiving will 50% match every donation up to $50 received for this project during that week, and will also match any new recurring donations! We know times are hard, but if you do wish to donate, doing so between 8th and 12th March will help your generosity to go even further.

Thank you for your continued support and for making a real difference in the lives of women in rural Peru.

Training is a key for future independence
Training is a key for future independence
Adobe walls for a new guinea pig house
Adobe walls for a new guinea pig house

Links:

 
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