- Phone call #1: The social worker calling to inform us of an emergency medical situation with a very poor client of hers. Tim told her to call back in 15 minutes so that I could talk with her. Phone calls in Spanish about technical matters are really not his forté.
- Phone call #2: She calls back. The woman needs an EKG immediately, and the social worker suggested that we help as much as possible. The total bill for the EKG and lab work would be S/. 87 (about $29).
- Visit #1: As I hung up the phone, the door bell rang. It's a young married mom we know and like who wants to start a business in her home and needs a start-up loan. This gets us excited, as it's exactly what we want to be investing in-- an enthusiastic woman with her own idea asking for a small loan ($33) to sell food out of her home in the afternoons and evenings. We talk with her and ask her to write up a plan for us to review with some of the Peruvians we trust and look to for advice on this kind of thing.
- At this point we leave the house to go find some of those same counselors to talk to about the medical situation with the other woman. They respond with a little hesitation. This woman has come for help at least twice before and last time didn't bring back the receipt they asked for afterward. We can't find the final adviser we're looking for, so we go home.
- Phone call #3: The last adviser calls. She expresses more hesitations. We talk about some options. I hang up, try to call the social worker without success, call my adviser back. She goes to ask the woman in need for paperwork to prove that this EKG is doctor ordered. This is not always the case, since in Peru you can just go get an EKG by yourself if you want to and have the money.
- Visit #2: Our adviser comes over to the house with the paperwork. We come up with a plan (give the woman 2/3 of what she asked for, about $20) and require that she bring a receipt again, advising her this time that if she does not bring the receipt, we will not be able to help her again. My adviser leaves to go deal with it.
- Visit #3: One of our other advisers, with whom we had talked earlier, comes over to figure out what is going on. Apparently the woman had approached him to complain that we hadn't helped enough, and he wanted to whole story.
- While we're talking to him, the woman knocks on the door (does this count as visit #4?). I talk to her outside and explain our decision. She's not thrilled.
That's all so far. Then again, it's only 6 pm. I think I just lost my priviledge of days off. After all, malignant uteran tumors sometimes can't wait. I think somewhere along the way, we forgot to get our training in social work and medical analysis. We're looking to God for wisdom and respecting the Cubases more by the minute.
PS- After writing this post, we had 2 more house visits (both social this time). It's still only 8 pm. I think tomorrow I may need a Take 2 at a day off, this time somewhere other than my house. If only there was a Starbucks closer than 4 hrs away....