On Sunday we packed our bags to begin our departure from Santiago to Talca. After spending a few days in a developed city we were eager to experience a developing community in Chile.
We liked Santiago, and there were differences, but it felt like a city from home. Although we were experiencing a lot of cultural aspects of Chile our hearts yearned for a community in need. Before leaving the USA we spoke so much about the destruction that remained from the earthquake in 2010, however, for the most part Santiago was rebuilt and we did not truly see any remaining aftermath of the earthquake.
After our 3 and a half hour bus ride we were more than thrilled to stretch our legs and explore the community of Talca. Leaving the bus terminal was an eye opening experience. Right away we saw a difference in the economic status of the citizens. The people of Talca were no longer dressed in suits and business attire but rather everyday, blue collar working clothes. The buildings were smaller, and more simple, but there is a bit of wealth throughout the town.
We checked into the hotel we discovered it was far less lavish and the residents of Talca are more welcoming and friendly. After we unpacked we went on an adventure to find it first traditional Chilean meal. What was supposed to be a 15 minute walk, became an hour and 45 minutes. To be honest the extra long walk was definitely worth it. The walk gave us an incredible opportunity to observe the development of a town.
There were numerous homes and businesses with large cracks in the foundations, destroyed roofs, broken windows,and completely crumbled walls. The destruction was heart breaking. As we continued to walk we saw some incredibly poor homes hidden along the riverbank. At one point we saw a bridge that an entire section had fallen, but in the other direction there was a beautiful river, glorious mountains, and people celebrating.
These people know how to cherish life and be grateful that they are alive. They were more than happy to give us directions even if they were not accurate on the time it would take to get there. The road that led to the restaurant was an old dirt road compared to the cement sides walks we had been traveling on. We were told we needed to travel up the narrow hill that had no side walks and quite a bit of traffic. We asked yet another local and they told us we climbed this hill for nothing, because the restaurant was on the bottom of the hill next to the riverbank. We FINALLY made it to the restaurant and enjoyed an amazing traditional Chilean meal.
Instead of another adventure back we called a taxi so we did not half to walk in the dark. Overall our first day in Talca was overwhelming, but good. I truly made us appreciate all of the amenities we have at home.
<3 Sarah Mariah Sara (Mariah sandwich room).
Another nursing adventure begins with a trip to Chile.
I am again supervising a group of undergraduate nursing students on a global heatlh experience. This year we have chosen Chile. I am traveling with 7 nursing students and one interpreter/liaison. We have a few students who have some Spanish proficiency so that is helpful. Learning to speak Spanish is on my bucket list so maybe I will get closer to that goal after this trip. I titled this entry compare and contrast because of some of the differences in this trip compared to previous trips.
On this excursion we will be working at a hospital in Talca on an inpatient psych unit. This will be an incredible experience for the students, but the community nurse in me wants them to also see the aspects of community health and public health so they will be doing additional assignments related to some of these areas. We are not bringing large boxes of supplies to deliver to clinics or orphanages and the experience of dealing with large boxes, transportation and airline travel has been avoided on this trip.
View a photo gallery from the trip.