Patients in the Night

Monday night at 7pm: As I am leaving the hospital, a group of Quechua Indians catches my eye. About 25 people are stretching their legs behind a big truck.

"Where are you from" I ask them. "We traveled here from Andahuaylas by truck". (Andahuaylas is about 7 hours away).

"Which day is your appointment"? I feel like a reporter. "Most of us have an appointment tomorrow, Tuesday, but some of us have to wait until Wednesday". They don’t sound bitter.

"Where will you spend the night"? I ask, knowing that the hotel across the street is still under construction.

"We’ll sleep on the truck". Please note, we are talking two nights on the bed of a truck.

"There are hospitals in Andahuaylas, why don’t you see a doctor there"?
"Because we get treated better here" they say convincingly.

In the morning, all of the 120 chairs in the waiting area were taken, at the same time there was a long line outside – everybody was waiting for help.

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