Mark Stoops ’14 – Today we got up bright and early to travel to Tingo Maria. Tingo Maria is about 3000 feet below Huánuco which is at an altitude of 6100 ft. The bus ride, although slightly dangerous was very interesting. Huánuco is very dry and surrounded by mountains but once we crossed the mountains there was an immediate change from dry scrub to rainforest. The view on the way down was very beautiful. On the way, we stopped off at a national park that contained a grouping of mountains called “Sleeping Beauty” because of it’s silhouette. At the park we got some biological lessons from the grounds keeper and Professor Wetzel. There were coffee and banana trees growing in the jungle as well as a spikey plant that injects poison in you if you are pricked. On a tree was a giant locus type insect that blended perfectly into its surroundings. Professor Wetzel also showed us aquatic flatworms and non-aquatic flatworms. There was a large difference in their appearance and later in the day we saw parasitic flatworms at Universidad Nacional Agragria de la Selva.
We left the park and continued on to a Hospital in Tingo Maria. This hospital is the biggest and nicest of the ones we have visited so far. It was converted from a shopping center and like most buildings in Peru, is open to the weather in many places. The director gave us a tour and we learned about the hospital and major types of cases they receive. One is a small poisonous snake that latches on and doesn’t let go. This was all in Spanish, but I believe he said a hospital in another district had 90 cases of this happening in a year.
After the hospital visit we went to Universidad Nacional Agragria de la Selva. It is a gated university and in the middle of nowhere, is surprisingly large, well kept, and very beautiful. The focus of this school is agriculture and biology. On our tour of the campus we saw the lab which was filled with lots of parasitic specimens. We also viewed their nursery and a room with animals, and mounted insects of the jungle. Of these there were many that were extinct. Finally we went to a little zoo that the campus had. It was far different from any zoo in the states because you could walk right up to the cages and literally touch the animals. There were many different types of monkeys, birds, a jaguar, and some other species.
After this we headed back to Huanaco to listen to student lectures. We were on Peru time so we got their a little after 9 and listened to the University student projects. One thing I found amazing was that in our time in the Huanaco Health campaign we treated and tested 122 dogs and cats. Only two of them tested negative for parasites.