Monday, May 15, 2006


The course entitled “Asistente de Primeros Auxilios Avanzados” (APAA) usually takes two weeks and gives you a more complete understanding and knowledge of First Aid, including what to do in case of spinal lesion or birth! It is organized by the OFDA (Office of Disaster Asistance), a branch of USAID, and in this particular case in collaboration with the Bolivian Red Cross La Paz branch (FLP). The last time this course was offered was approximately five years ago, so you can imagine the excitement when I was invited to participate! It was supposed to be totally interinstitutional but in the end we were 12 from the FLP, 4 cops and 1 firefighter. Furthermore, it lasted three weeks because bang in the middle came Easter Weekend, which is when the biggest operative of the FLP takes place, so we had a five day hiatus during which everyone worked night and day (more about that in the Copacabana posts). Photo above left: learning what to do in case of a protruding eyeball. Turns out part of the prehospitalary treatment involves something called a donut. (As Homer would say: Donuts - is there anything they can't do? Hehe)

In theory, we had class Monday through Friday 6-10pm and Saturday and Sunday 8am-8pm. Weeknights, however, we rarely got out before 11.30pm, and weekends around 10pm, often arriving early and leaving later still in order to practice group presentations and study for exams. Not to mention that a couple nights a week at least, a few of us came back to my place to study… Intense, to say the least, but incredibly interesting and a lot of fun (thank goodness the participants all had a great sense of humour and were fun to be around hours on end!)

Photo on the left: my team in the process of immobilizing me (impersonating an old lady run over by a motorcycle) after treating a front arm fracture.

Sidenote: escaping reality with Claudia, Pepe and Sofia on the Tuesday morning before our final APAA exam was truly brilliant. ICE AGE II rocks, teehee, even though I saw it in Spanish.

Photo on left: Me all smiles after having given birth through a plastic everything to a plastic baby, with the help of attending APAA-to-be, Javier.

The APAA team (left to right and back to front): Neyda, Victor, Sofia, Martin, Pepe, Me, Ramiro, Javier, Luis, Oscar, Ale, Freddy, Ramiro M, Paola, Fatima, Luisa, Maria Elena, Ivan, Adri C, Edson, Quique, Clau, Andres & Luly. Marco's missing for some reason, maybe he is the one on the other side of the camera, ahem.


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