Category Archives: Santa Cruz
These eight days visiting the CBM UK projects in Bolivia have passed so quickly and I am sad that today is my last day.
I spent the day with Gonzalo getting all of my notes in order and asking a few last-minute questions that would fill in the gaps in my research. Gonzalo and I had got on so well and he had been the perfect ‘walking guidebook’ for Santa Cruz. We’ve swapped email addresses so that we can keep in touch (I think he wants me to recommend him some good audio books!).
I had to get to the clinic early this morning, so I told Gonzalo to meet me after the cataract surgeries were finished.
The theatre is quite small and there’s only one room used for operations, which limits the clinic’s capacity somewhat but I was able to go in and take a few photographs.
After breakfast I met up with Gonzalo and we returned to Aprecia to interview the Theatre Manager and some of the other staff members involved in the surgical unit of the hospital, including Fernando – one of Aprecia’s Trainee Surgeons (pictured).
Gonzalo met me again at the hotel from where we were then driven back to the clinic.
This morning there were plenty of new patients coming into the clinic and they kindly came to talk to me while they waited to be seen. They all told me about how grateful they were to be receiving either cheap or sometimes even free medical treatment and life changing surgeries.
My fourth day in Boliva saw me visit a clinic called ‘Aprecia’ in Santa Cruz de la Sierra which caters for the needs of people with various visual impairments including cataracts and blindness through to diabetes, glaucoma and eye injuries.
My translator, Gonzalo, was blinded eight years ago as a result of diabetes and as we walk together in the morning from the hotel to the clinic, he fills me in on life in and around Santa Cruz.