October 22, 2009

Smelly meat market is temporary surgery clinic!

October 20, 2009 by Vet Nurse Volunteer Debbie Baird
Photos by Maria Faena

Our day started with another delicious breakfast prepared by Marlena and then we headed off to Iquitos in our boat, arriving at the Amazon Cares clinic at 9.45.  We are starting our clinic at Belen meat market today so all supplies needed transporting there which was ably done by the Amazon CARES team, with a little help from us.

The meat market was something altogether different! Situated in very poor area amidst a heaving street market selling all types of food, fish, meat and more.  Inside the huge building the downstairs was a meat and fish market, the smell and mess was unbelievable, but we walked through it and upstairs to our ¨clinic´´ area, very spacious with long butchers tables along one wall. The only water available was what we took ourselves, but it served as a suitable venue. Funnily we shared the space with 5 pigs which had been confiscated by the authorities for illegal entry by their owners. They were inoffenive and stayed in their ´´patch´´ only poking their heads around the corner to try and join us when we were eating our lunch.

Already when we arrived there was a line of locals with their pets milling around freely, its nice that these animals are alays quite amenable mixing together...it wouldn´t be like that in the UK. Although there are vets and staff from the Iquitos clinic here who speak Spanish, they don´t speak very much English and in our team some can speak a little Spanish but the locals speak no English;, so communication is difficult making a slow start to the clinic as we were trying to sort clinical cases from surgical cases. As always it happened eventually, and those being treated for worms amd ectoparasites/mange were treated by Hazel at one end of the table while Esther, Maria and Annie were busy neutering at the other end.

The anaesthetic machine could maintain two animals at one time so the third vet did castrates under a triple combination anaesthetic. We were continually watched and photo'd and filmed throughout the day, but I noticed not many owners actually watched their pet being neutered!

There was a buzzy, happy atmosphere all day, the whole team is really relaxed and professional, making it so much easier for us to gel and work confidently together. Throughout the buzzards were scrambling about on the roof and peering through the gaps watching us...a good horror film could be made here! My motor taxi awaits.  More later!

Note from Molly Mednikow, Director:

Debbie is a calming influence with a wonderful sense of humor!  Her first encounter with Amazon wildlife occurred in her shower at Cabo Lopez.  She gamely captured it on film.  Photo by Debbie Baird.

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