1,000 hairpin bends
An astonishing number of our patients come from the town of Quillabamba. The capital of the Convención Province is located 310km away from Curahuasi. The road follows the Urubamba River through the Holy Valley of the Incas. Behind Quillabamba the road needs a 105km climb to reach the pass at 4,000m after which 40km of never-ending bends bring the traveller to the Inca Fort Ollantaytambo. After the capture of Cusco by the Spaniards, bitter battles took place here. The next towns on the way are Urubamba, Chincheros, Izcuchaca and Limatambo
You need 6.5 hours to complete the journey on tarmaced roads. Not really a long journey, if you consider that over half our patients need more than 10 hours to reach Diospi Suyana.
Hairpin bends are the only way to overcome the extreme differences in altitude. The crosses next to the road mark points where in the past cars have crossed the sideline and have fallen into the deep.
All those who have travelled a long way to reach our missionary hospital have to join a long queue. Sadly there are not enough available entrance tickets for all those queuing, which means that no one is guaranteed success. Perhaps their efforts were in vain.
It is very telling that state hospitals can be found in Quillabamba and in many of the other towns one passes through en route. The fact that so many patients pay no attention to these hospitals makes a very clear statement.