I heard a story that says that.
The sea had beached along the sandy beach, full of gravel and weeds,
in an endless succession, to millions of starfish that were stirring
dying in their last throes of life, lacking the water they needed
to breathe because the sea had retreated without being able to reach them or
even cover them, much less wet them.
There were millions of stranded stars that in a few minutes would stop living for
lack of oxygen, which absorb it from the water, and by the sunstroke of being stranded in
A young man, moved to see that they were dying since dawn, picked up one and the other
and threw it into the sea, where when they fell they recovered life and sank to shelter
between the rocks of the underwater bottom where they live.
Several hours had passed and the young man was already almost exhausted
picking them up and throwing them into the sea.
Another young man who was looking at him could not take it anymore and spoke to him like this:
- It is impossible! There are many!
- Yes, they are many!
- They will die anyway. Why do you worry? They are millions of millions!
- Yes, they are millions!
- Are you foolish, or what? Do not you see that you can not save them? We would need that
all the men of the earth come together and throw each one a star into the sea.
In that case all would be saved!
- What a beautiful utopia you just said! If each one would even save another!
- Stop worrying. You really feel sorry. It is impossible, they will all die!
The young man who returned them to the sea, stopping and looking at the one he had in his
hands, and gaining their greatest impulse to throw them into the sparkling waters of
Mar, he said:
- But not this one. Not this one. Nor this other, either.
And that is what it is about! To do something to change things, to break through
some point the chain of misery that keeps us enslaved, hopefully
we can do it for many points, to feel the weakest link and there
start to undermine it.
And much better when the project to end it is linked to the earth
natal and the one that saw us born.
As it happens, and that's why I've told the story I just told, with
the Andean Generosity program promoted by the family of Santiago de Chuco
Pérez, mainly through two of its members, doctors Pablo Pérez and
Santiago Calderón Pérez, both cousins working for years
as doctors in the United States of America.
Thanks to the actions that Santiago de Chuco has been developing in two years
will have a clinic that will be a wonderful institution, where
will provide free medical care to the population without resources to pay for this type
of services. And that will include even highly specialized surgery.
This is a private initiative, and it is more: it is a family project of two
doctors who were born in Santiago de Chuco and here they were trained, for later one
of them to study medicine at the National University of Trujillo and the other in the
National Autonomous University of Mexico.
The clinic has already begun to be built. For that the family has given ground
of their ancestors, on the banks of the Huaychaca River and the Municipality of Santiago de Chuco,
In exchange, they have given part of the pampa de Chaychugo to build this center
of health, but much more.
Because it will attend medical consultations, pregnancy control, education
sanitary, surgical procedures, in different areas and specialties. But,
in addition, that it is conceived as a health center will encompass programs of
education; designed to serve in the areas of nutrition, health and education,
that will have different modules:
- Medical care
- School canteen
- Computer room
- Work training workshops for young people.
- Lodging area for foreign volunteers.
On July 27 of this year, 2012, in Santiago de Chuco Pablo Pérez and
Santiago Calderón Pérez looked happy and proud at the purple stain of the
ink buffer with which they had smeared their fingers and stamped their fingerprint.
Where? On what documents and around what issue?
At the ceremony held in the Provincial Municipality they had signed and
left the trembling of his pulse and beat in the record that consigns the land swap
of his grandparents' farm in Choroball, on the banks of the Huaychaca River, in exchange for a
area in the Pampa de Chaychugo where the construction of the
very modern clinic for free medical attention to marginal populations and
poor people of Santiago de Chuco.
Don Socrates Perez, his grandfather and patriarch of the family, will have felt the same
trembling of his pulse in the sky, for being so well represented by his two
grandchildren, and know that in those areas of Choroball the Municipality will build a
recreational center with sports fields, accommodations, trout nurseries, but
also restoring the old stone mills that he had built, as
shows and appreciates one of our centuries-old traditions, such as the
mills, to which we descended the families to grind the fruit of the crops.
One of the sons of Don Sócrates, Mr. Walter Pérez Valderrama, who signs with
the literary pseudonym of Chaco Gil, has recreated in his books: Cerros del
Pechuguay and La Casa del Membrillo, prints of Choroball, the foundation of their
Here are some evocations of that land that the Pérez family has yielded to
Municipality in exchange for another near the city, in the pampa de Chaychugo, where
the clinic will be built. Chaco Gil de Choroball remembers the following:
"This is how he told his neighbors and friends with whom they met at the
Good Night and the New Year, celebrated in Casa del Quince, below in
Choroball There the novelties of the Niño Dios de los Pérez and of the
dances held with guitarists who had come from Angasmarca and with the
cashiers Sixto and Juan Moreno, brothers who came from Algallama, with their
leather boxes and they played until dawn. There was a lot of food and drink,
as liquor cane and, in addition, chicha corn, which was served from a botija
"How many memories do these tayos trees bring to me that bloom in April,
their reddish-green pods appear and ripen to orange
ignition, which contain the tannin powder. The molles of sinuous stems and
rough, with their branches and their little pink berries that fall into bunches ...
Ahora bien, ¿cómo empezó este programa, que en apenas cinco años ahora
resulta grandioso, porque ya está en marcha la construcción de la clínica con
servicios médicos avanzados de alta especialización quirúrgica, que pondrá en
marcha una política de intercambio constante de médicos del Perú que viajen a
hacer pasantías en USA y de médicos que trabajen en USA que vengan por
temporadas a trabajar entre nosotros?
Se inició de manera espontánea, desprevenida y sencilla. Hasta podríamos decir
que de manera precaria y hasta rústica, para alcanzar la excelencia y la
extraordinaria grandeza que ahora tiene. Y en ello radica lo asombroso de esta
Nos cuenta Pablo Pérez que venía a la fiesta del mes de julio en Santiago de
Chuco, por la nostalgia que tenemos los santiaguinos de venir en devoción a visitar
nuestra casa de infancia y a manifestarle la devoción que sentimos por nuestro
Apóstol Santiago. Y mirando a su alrededor, en su consultorio de EE. UU, decía:
¡No quiero llegar con las manos vacías! ¿Qué llevo? Y juntó en dos cajas
medicamentos que allí tenía, de muestras médicas que siempre les dejan los
agentes de laboratorios. Las embaló y con ellas llegó hasta el Hospital de Santiago
He went in, looked for someone to make the delivery, walked through the corridors, looked out
offices. And not. By God, his help could not be reduced to that. Never! Seeing
the agglomerated patients, the mothers with their wounded creatures, the people of
field with his ailments of centuries to slopes, he removed in the background his fiber of
doctor, who is such because he is sorry for the pain of the people. And he had the longing
deep in there to diagnose their ills and finally cure them, it was said:
- This is not enough, this is really nothing! Here you need to put the
hands, put the shoulder and leave the soul.
When I returned to the United States, I no longer had peace. And there is born the idea of missions
of the Andean generosity and finally the clinic now in
Currently Santiago de Chuco has a Temporary Hospital of the
Solidarity of the Republic of Cuba, which was donated more than forty years ago,
on the occasion of the 1971 earthquake that devastated the area. It is a prefabricated hospital
for an entire province, symbol of the solidarity of a humble people, but
heroic as is Cuba.
But also a symbol of the indolence of the authorities and politicians
nefarious of our environment, a bunch of crooks whom the media give so much
coverage, all types of criminals, who have not done anything
Minimally guarantee the health of an entire province.
Pablo Pérez, 48, lives in Dalton in the state of Georgia. Work on your
San José clinic. He studied General Medicine at the National University
Autonomous University of Mexico, DF.
Santiago Calderón Pérez, 53 years old, resides in Tavares, in the state of Florida,
He is the father of three girls. He studied medicine at the National Autonomous University of
Guadalajara, Mexico and in New York he specialized in Epidemiology.
Both are grandchildren of Socrates Perez; both studied Primary Education in
his hometown, Santa Cruz de Chuca, and Secondary Education in the College
César Vallejo from Santiago de Chuco, a city that they love dearly and to the
which have always returned.
They are joined by many collaborators, especially Carlos Pérez, also
doctor in the area of psychiatry, who lives and works in Dalton, Georgia, and who
studied at the National University of Trujillo.
And Mirian Lenon, Manager of the San José Clinic in the city of Dalton, Georgia,
who is the organizer of relief operations and missions, as well as the
meetings to obtain funds and donations in the United States.
What have consisted in the four missions that since 2009 have led
finished? In free medical care, provision of medication, service in
different medical specialties such as surgery, pediatrics, gynecology,
ophthalmology, general medicine, all this for the period of approximately one week,
But it has been confirmed that the current hospital in Santiago de Chuco lacks
everything, equipment, specialized personnel, maintenance of their
services. And that nothing has a solution if a program of
continuous and permanent attention
The First Mission, in July 2009, brought a contingent of 33 doctors,
nurses and pharmacists. And consultations were attended in different
specialties, minor operations were carried out, a diagnosis was made of the
situation and a map of the most frequent infections was
The Second Mission, in July 2010, had a participation of 37
people between medical and paramedical personnel. It was provided with the services of a
Georgia ophthalmologist and a cardiologist from California. He donated 40 wheelchairs.
10 computers, canes, crutches and a considerable amount of
The Third Mission, in July 2011, were days of intense and rewarding
work, in which it was possible to provide about 600 medical care
internal, 300 attentions in pediatrics, 200 attentions in infectious diseases, 150
care in gynecology, 100 attentions in cardiology, more than 20 surgeries
general and ophthalmological, training of local health personnel in basic CPR
and advanced, and EKG readings.
In addition, more than 30,000 doses of medicines, material
medical and surgical, 300 kits of school supplies and personal care materials
for children. This year an ambulance was able to move to Santiago de Chuco
donated by Winfield County of Georgia with its respective instruments
The Fourth Mission in July of the year 2012, has just concluded a few days ago and has not
he still has a report, but he has exceeded the number of assistant medical personnel
as well as in consultations, with the characteristic that now also involves
Peruvian personnel who work in other latitudes as well as in the interior
from our own country. This year the mission was called "Health, a gesture of love"
What are the main difficulties that are faced?
There are many. Serving not only depends on the good intention, and rightly so says
that hell is paved with good intentions.
You have to follow many procedures and do things in such a way that after
cause problems, that do not generate conflicts or produce bitterness.
For example, doctors who work abroad to practice medicine
in Peru they have to have permits and licenses and follow procedures.
Happily, it became known that an organization was already constituted and offered
medical services from the United States to Peru. Andean generosity
contacted them and registered as a member of that organization to do
easier procedures, especially licenses and effective services that are
propose to comply.
It is then counted with the endorsement of the PAMS organization, Peruvian American
Medical Society, created in 1973 to obtain and transfer resources from
health to marginal populations of Peru.
Also, for example, says Dr. Santiago Calderón Pérez, we saw the
need for the Santiago de Chuco Hospital to have an ambulance
to transfer serious patients to Trujillo and to comply with missions
medical services to the rural area.
In such a vast and scattered reality, as is Santiago de Chuco, this
service should be very functional, to respond to emergency situations,
so that they can be present in the shortest time in the place of
Being able to get that unit of transport through has cost a lot in time,
paperwork and money. Happily, last year, that
ambulance and is now providing an exemplary medical service to the community.
Likewise, we verified that in the school where César Vallejo studied 22 children
they attended classes without breakfast, because of the extreme poverty suffered by the
Now we have for these children a program whereby throughout the year
provides free breakfast. This is going to increase much more with the
operation of the clinic where there will be a school canteen
The reception of part of the population has been enormous, which is what most encourages
in this type of actions.
Now the mission is awaited with real interest and operations are made
continuous more and more sophisticated, the same ones that are totally free.
- Even now a colleague told me, full of enthusiasm and despite his
Exhaustion, "says Dr. Pablo Pérez," told us I want to operate more, I want to be
much more useful.
Operations that cost a lot of money in the United States of America,
or anywhere here they are done at no cost to the patient
And we feel that each of us that we come here that we would like to offer a lot
plus. We find here a human sense to our profession.
- And why are you planning this mission in the month of July? - I ask.
- Well, there are more consultations, because there are many more people coming from
the surrounding hamlets, to participate in the Festival of the Patron Saint Santiago and step
They solve a health problem.
- When you might think that at the party they forget their pains, right?
- Sure, but it does not happen like that. And they are anotician. In any other age the capacity
of service that we bring is great for the population that is approaching. Whereas in
Party time look, the endless queues of people seeking care.
- And, in addition, Santiago de Chuco shows its traditions.
- Yes, this is a great attraction for the staff that comes with us, the one from
participate in such a unique celebration, such as the Festival of the Patrón Santiago,
where there are multiple expressions of our folklore.
But even so, what most anguished us was that kind of sporadicity. Now
our service will be permanent through the clinic that will work here
throughout the year.
Because the problem was to stay with the anguish that these services were
eventualities, which only occurred once a year, with health a process
permanent and that sometimes does not wait but it is presented in a surprising way and
- In terms of health, what is the most serious problem you have encountered?
- There are many, but to mention a very simple one: the degree of
parasitosis. And there is no drinking water in our town.
The Vicente Jiménez irrigation channel in Santiago de Chuco is an open channel. And so it
keeps now for claims of the people who live around her in her long
and that they use it for all kinds of tasks, contaminating their
Even in its bed the people of the high places wash their clothes and give to drink
his cattle. And all kinds of waste falls into the ditch. And that is the water that is
Take in the town of Santiago de Chuco.
For now, our attention is focused on children, but we would like
develop a whole program for the elderly, that age makes it
another child but unattended, in much worse situation and with more pictures
dramatic and even heartbreaking in their abandonment.
What it is about is to confront and mitigate this poverty.
It is Andean generosity so ancestral in our town, because the world
Andean is generous.
It is the world of ayni, of reciprocity, of minca, of mita, of work
- We do not feel that the favored population is the one we serve.
- Dr. Pablo Pérez tells me.
- So, who? -I ask.
- We are the privileged ones. And it is our brothers who donate us
the opportunity to serve and to be useful. And to be able to proclaim in our being
intimate that our dissatisfied love now is newly satisfied.
- The privileged are we to be able to serve, to feel that our life
it makes sense, the immense satisfaction. And the joy we feel when the
Returning doctors feel forever in love with this land.
- Share with them experiences, feel that we are partners, that we
links a service destination to the community is a privilege for us.
Capulí, Vallejo and their Earth, a program that works in the field of culture
feels proud that programs such as generosity have been launched
Andean of the Pérez family.
They from the town of Santa Cruz de Chuca left to settle in
Santiago de Chuco, from where they emigrated mainly to the United States from
With Andean Generosity somehow they have now returned to the
capital of the province from where they will project their action very soon towards
the northern region of Peru.
We celebrate his vision, his dizzying capacity for development, which in
Five years have achieved a spectacular qualitative leap.
We celebrate his integral vision of the problems, his sense of the human, what
social and cultural.
We are moved by his love for our traditions. And we want
end by expressing our tribute to Andean Generosity, with nothing more
propitious that the words of our poet César Vallejo, who say:
Sierra of my Peru, Peru of the world
and Peru at the foot of the globe; I adhere!
Phones: 420-3343 and 420-3860
Works by Danilo Sánchez Lihón can be requested from: Editorial San Marcos:
Editorial Bruño, Perú: ventas @ brunoeditorial.com.peInstituto del Libro y la Lectura: firstname.lastname@example.org