URI pharmacy professor travels the Amazon
to aid Peruvian villagers
KINGSTON, RI-April 13, 1999 -- When Sandra Geletko went to Peru last
winter, she spent nights fighting off mosquitoes and taking medicine to
fight off intestinal worms. Yet, she called the trip one of the greatest
experiences of her life.
Geletko, associate professor of pharmacy at the University of Rhode Island,
visited Iquitos, Peru, to help local villagers. Dr. Geletko paid her own
travel expenses so she could volunteer as a pharmacist on a houseboat for
an eight-day excursion of the Peruvian villages. Geletko, as well as 11
others traveled up and down the Amazon River.
Geletko, two physicians, two nurses, and eight volunteers, many of whom
spoke Spanish, traveled aboard the "Chosen Vessel" to provide
physical as well as spiritual support to the Peruvian people. First, the
physicians and nurses examined the people for illnesses, including malaria,
skin infections, snake bits, and intestinal worms. After seeing the physicians,
the people then visited with Geletko who provided the medicine needed and
instructions on how to use it. Medicine as common as Tylenol and iron vitamins
were handed out to the villagers since the government covers only treatment
of the illnesses but does not provide treatment that can prevent common
symptoms. After distributing medicines, the team provided the villagers
with a 10 day supply of the medicine which helped their common illness.
On her experience Geletko states: "It was the richest experience
I have ever been on. I got back so much more than I could have ever imagined.
The trip was very gratifying, to be able to help and have an impact on people
is so rewarding and memorable. This trip will last in my memory for a long
Volunteers travel on excursions to Africa, Russia, and many parts of
South America throughout the year with the Evangelism Task Force Organization.
Trips can range in length from a week to two months. These journeys are
offered to pharmacy students and volunteers of all ages. "It is a great
experience for all people." Geletko said.
For more information, please contact the Evangelism Task Force at (912)
For More Information: David Lavalle, 874-2116