We are preparing for our upcoming trip to Peru. We will be working on two projects, a spay/neuter clinic and cysticercosis.
We are conducting a survey of houses in a pueblo joven south of Lima to determine the degree to which domestic animal overpopulation is present. Past experience and casual observation show that the dog populations are essentially uncontrolled. We also learned recently (PAZ researchers were involved in this study) that a significant percentage of dogs in a similar Lima neighborhood, Pampas in San Juan de Miraflores, harbor the bacteria Bartonella rochalimae. This bacteria is a potential zoonotic disease. A spay/neuter clinic will not only allow us to control the animal population, but also to continue monitoring this and other zoonotic diseases. We will not be sheltering animals, nor will we be competing with local veterinarians. There are other organizations in Lima that shelter and find homes for dogs and cats, and we will be partnering with them.
We are going to be working in Joras, Department of Piura, Peru. A Peace Corps Volunteer found a high incidence of infection here. We had hoped to continue partnering with the Peace Corps in Joras, but they have decided to pull all volunteers from this region due to safety concerns. These concerns involve transborder narcotics trafficking, as well as increased mining activity in the area. Illegal prospecting causes increased social conflicts with local populations, sometimes leading to violence. The level of risk appears to be quite low, according to our colleagues in Peru, but the Peace Corps would prefer to err on the side of caution. We plan to be working with other organizations–report to follow upon our return.
Building latrines is going to be a large part of this project. We will be looking to find someone who can build the latrines, but of course we must find out what type of latrines will actually be used before we start digging. The developing world is full of unused latrines, filled with nothing but the good intentions of donors and grantors who didn’t know that “if you build it, they will come,” is not true for places where people are supposed to defecate.
Our fundraising continues apace, but we are at only 50% of our goal for the cysticercosis project. Fundraising for the clinic has yet to begin in earnest, but we are accepting donations, naturally. You can donate here.