Pre-Op Trip Day 5 & 6: San Antonio Water Project

One of the major projects FACES has been working on over the past year is a collaborative effort with Cafe Femenino and Green Empowerment. This effort, called the San Antonio Clean Water Project, brought clean, running water to every home in the village of San Antonio. Additionally, each home received a new latrine, placed so that waste matter would not contaminate their water source. One of the main goals on our November/December Peru trip was to travel to San Antonio to view the completed project. The journey to San Antonio curves and winds through the northern Andes and spits out into the Amazon basin region. The FACES/Cafe Femenino crew made the initial journey from Chiclayo to Jaen by car, which took us about 8 hours. Jaen is a bustling trade town that is one of the last large outposts before the country becomes extremely rural and isolated. We spent the night in Jaen and headed for San Antonio early the next morning – the second leg of our journey took another 5 hours. Remember, we were traveling by hired car. Most residents of villages like San Antonio would need to take a bus, or walk parts of this journey if they needed supplies or medical assistance from the bigger towns and cities. The journey would be exponentially longer and more difficult. San Antonio is a village of about 100 families nestled on the side of lush, emerald green mountains. The people of San Antonio are coffee producers, which is why Cafe Femenino is involved. We received a fantastic welcome from the village residents – children had made signs to show their gratitude and express their thanks for the partnership between FACES/Cafe Femenino and the town. Speeches and welcomes were made by the town officials, Cafe Femenino representatives and Dr. Albert of FACES. After a lunch of fresh vegetables, rice and cuy (Andrean guinea pig) Dr. Albert headed to the medical post to screen several patients, some with cleft lip and palates and some with other medical issues. Dr. Albert confirmed that at least one of the patients screened in San Antonio will receive cleft lip and palate surgery in January 2012 from the FACES team on their visit to Chiclayo. The journey from San Antonio to Chiclayo is not easy, but with the help of our local network in Peru, we know that this absolutely possible, and will be a life changing week for this patient. In total, Dr. Albert screened five new patients in San Antonio. Following the screening clinic, we headed out to take a tour of the village and the newly installed water project. Each home in the village has clean, drinkable running water. The enormity of this change will benefit each and every resident of San Antonio for, as Dr. Albert likes to say, clean water is the key to a healthy life. Clean water will eliminate parasite and gastrointestinal problems for many, which highly decreases quality of life and can cause death, especially for children whose bodies are smaller. FACES is looking forward to gathering post-project data on gastrointestinal disease in San Antonio to assess the impact of this installation.

Dr. Albert of FACES, along with members of Cafe Femenino, stand with the community members of San Antonio village.

Dr. Albert enjoys a cup of San Antonio’s clean water for himself!

The founder of San Antonio, the village that now has clean, running water in each home.

Children in San Antonio welcome FACES and Cafe Femenino.