Note: This travel health clinics page is part of a series of blogs that we did while learning Spanish language in Peru. Each blog focuses on one or two techniques that we used to supplement our foreign language course. These blogs are designed to show you how to implement a Walkabout community language learning approach. Use our examples here for any language you want to learn. See the "More Peru Stories" list of links on this page for additional community language learning ideas. Also see our Learn Spanish section.
Peruvian Health Care. Here's the setting: Monday, 6:45 p.m., a holiday. We enjoyed the Tourist day parade on Plaza de Armas, but now I'm not feeling well.
Someone mentioned to the folks at Maximo Nivel language school that I'm down with a sore throat. The word gets around. Heidy has the day off. She puts in a call to another staff member. He makes an appointment at one of Peru's travel health clinics.
Taxi from home across town to Urgencias Médicas: 2.5 Nuevo Soles (about 80 US cents). Starting with the taxi ride, we are immersed in community language learning.
Check in at clinic. First a test – in Spanish: surname on father's side, surname on mother's side. Oops. Failed that one; I've only got one surname. First name. Address. Phone. E-mail, etc. Pretty straightforward. Passport #. Oops: passport's back at the house. So's the photocopy. But the form is only a half page long, and the receptionist helps me struggle through. She takes it back into the depths of the clinic. Three minutes later she calls me into the back.
The doctor grills me; it's a mini foreign language course. I explain as best I can in Spanish: sore throat, snuffly nose, cough that's deepening and sinking into my chest. He asks about my medical history. Meds I'm taking. Allergies. "Do you smoke?" "Heavens no." He laughs. "Do you drink?" "Not since yesterday." On and on – not hard, I've done this a thousand times in English.
First Days in Peru
He listens to my chest. "This will be a bit cold," he warns. He feels my throat and gills. Makes me breathe deeply. We go back to his desk. It isn't bad enough to resort to antibiotics, he says, so I'll give something else. He writes out a prescription for a liquid medicine, Clenolin, and for Fredal, an Ibuprofeno, then writes out instructions on when to take them, and how. He also writes that he wants me to come back on Thursday. That's it. Ten minutes. Done. I ask if the first visit is free. They laugh – these folks have a sense of humor. I pay the receptionist 50 Soles (about US$16.70).
... four blocks away. I turn in the prescriptions. They fill them in three minutes. I pay 25 Sols (about US$8.30). The whole transaction takes five minutes.
Outside, it's raining. We can't find a cab, so we walk down a couple of blocks. This was the longest part of the trip – the usual two-minute wait for a taxi takes at least fifteen minutes. But finally, success. The ride back across town sets us back another 80 cents. We're back home in less than an hour – in time to cap off our community language learning with dessert (rice with milk pudding, as they say here, delicioso).
You can create your own dialogs to take care of daily language needs using the Walkabout Language Learning Action Guide. It walks you step by step through the process of creating a custom made language learning program.
--Posted by Terry, October 8
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