Adventure on the Amazon

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What a night and what an adventure

On 15th of March our guest speaker was local GP Dr Mary Fortune well known star of TV documentaries.  This includes one showing her work with the Aborigines in Australia, her fly on the wall insight into local hospital care in Sutherland and one illustrating her locum work in the Falklands.  For her talk she was assisted by her husband Alistair and Lorna Waddell the specialist nurse from Tain.

Their subject was a gruelling trip they took last year Up the Amazon to deliver medical care to remote peoples and tribes of the Peruvian river valley’s and forests.  This was part of the charity work done in very difficult circumstances by volunteers through the Vine Trust, a Christian medical care charity with its origins in the Scottish Lothian's.  The Vine Trust seeks to “Connect People Change Lives”.  It works to empower local people in the developing World by connecting volunteers and resources with people and projects that will bring improved health and well-being leading to improved living conditions and opportunities.

The team spent almost 3 weeks on a very old ex Navy tender that had been adapted to provide medical care (basic) in very cramped conditions as it slowly meandered along the river and its tributaries visiting the far flung villages.  Days were long and varied as there was a great demand for treatment.  In the 3 week period around 5500 children and adults were treated overall.  The work was conducted in searing heat and humidity in a part of the world that is rife with disease like Malaria and parasite induced illnesses.  A lack of medical care or medicine or even knowledge of basic hygiene meant that long term good health was more of a wishful thought than a realistic future for many of the local inhabitants.

The club members and their guests were in awe of the dedication and effort put in by Mary, Lorna and Alistair and they received a standing ovation at the end of their presentation.  The presentation was complimented by a fantastic South American Buffet menu provided by the Golspie Inn which ensured an evening that will be long remembered for its Fellowship and fun as well as the information gleaned.

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