Soooooooo we had planned to head to Sucre and Potosi with Florencio as our last trip round Bolivia. However at the last minute Florencio was invited to join a Spanish trauma and orthopaedic team who were flying into Bolivia for a 2 week project in the children’s hospital in Trinidad, Bolivia. Not one to miss an opportunity to jump on a charity trip and physio we invited ourselves along for a few days.
We got off the plane in 33deg heat and immediately were happy with our decision. However as we left the airport it became clear that the only way to travel in Trinidad was by mototaxi…….so off we went! My first time on the back of a motorbike.
They’re not big on helmets or protective gear……in fact there’s no option…..however everyone is on a motor bike and all going reasonably slowly and very aware of each other. Still, took a bit of getting used to!
We were introduced to the Spanish orthopaedic team who were all very nice, but in the middle of a hectic project so we didn’t get too involved. I met ‘Don Paco’ the amazing orthotist who Florencio had gone to work with and he is another amazing human being with such talent. His room was filled with braces, splints, materials to make splints, prosthetic knees, moulded chairs, prosthetic feet etc. He showed us some of his work from home and I can safely say he is another legend! He was very welcoming and the team had me a patient booked in for the next morning in no time.
For the next two days I worked my socks off seeing mainly kids with neurological conditions with the local physios to problem solve and advise. I also got to work with Don Paco while he made a prosthesis for a 7yo girl who lost her whole leg and half of her pelvis from bone cancer. Seeing what him and Florencio crafted and problem solved for her was inspiring! Obviously I have no photos as I was a surprise guest and didn’t have to papers to get consent. But I got to high five two gorgeous boys with cerebral palsy, cuddle a beautiful squishy 4month old with development delay, played patticake with a handsome chap with muscular dystrophy, played hopscotch with a cheeky chappie with spinal cord issues and of course be a bossy physio to two adults with neurological balance problems. Busy week!!
As usual Florencio looked after us like royalty and we ate like kings and queens. He introduced us to his friends who of course were all warm, lovely welcoming people like all Bolivians are, and we were looked after and ferried around for the whole time we were there.
Then we headed off to the Tapicare resort for some chill out time, just in time for an epic sunset over the Bolivian pantanal.
This place was just beautiful. We had a little chalet right by the lake with a view of the animals and birds second to none. Although we only had about 12hrs there we made the most of it. Amazing breakfast, walk around the grounds and an hour by the pool.
Then we jumped back on a mototaxi to head to the river to eat the best fried fish I’ve ever eaten in my life!
Then it was time to head back to the airport, via one last Trinidad landmark…..a huge anaconda!! And some of his turtle friends.
A quick group selfie then back at the airport after a whistle stop trip.