PRIMARY SIX and seven pupils at Andover School recently had the opportunity to listen to well-respected author Pam Cairns who gave a fascinating insight into her experiences in Peru.
Pam Cairns was brought up on a small farm in Dumfriesshire.
She was educated at Lockerbie Academy and later at Edinburgh University, where she studied medicine.
While working as a GP in Kirkcaldy, Pam and her husband Alan had the opportunity to lead a team of medical volunteers to the Amazon jungle of Peru.
This was the first UK medical team that the Vine Trust Charity had sent to work on their vessel, Amazon Hope.
The medical staff delivered primary health and dental care to the villagers on the banks of the Amazon river.
The three-week trip to Peru had a huge effect on Pam.
Resigning from her medical practice, she became the volunteer medical director of the Vine Trust.
Over the next two years, she and her husband worked with others to develop and promote the Amazon Hope Medical and dental project.
Pam explained: “Vine Trust is an international, interdenominational, volunteering charity which seeks to enable volunteers to make a real and significant difference to some of the poorest children and communities in the world.
“We welcome people from all backgrounds who share our ethos of caring and our belief that whilst we can’t help everyone we can all help someone.
“Health care, children and enterprise have been our key priorities as we build the capacity of our local partners to meet local needs.
“Currently our Amazon Hope Project provides a health service for around 100,000 patients per year with further expansion planned in the period ahead.”
The Vine Trust has just completed its eighth street children’s centre for its partners SU Peru and is about to commence building up to four homes for street children and orphan children in Northern Tanzania.
“Connecting people to change lives is our aim and our goal for both our overseas partners and our volunteers alike,” continued Pam.
“Through our short term volunteer opportunities we seek to create “ambassadors for the poor” who, in turn, will bring back their experiences in to our communities, schools and work places here in the UK.
“So if you are looking to do something quite different with your holidays, your senior school pupils or staff development programme do get in touch. “
“Through our work teams, medical trips and school expeditions we have extensive experience of sending teams throughout the year to our projects and organising specific opportunities which quite literally can be life changing for all involved.”
“The Dead Don’t Hurt Us” is described as a fast moving, hard hitting, contemporary adventure story based in the hot and dangerous Amazon jungle and the Peruvian city of Iquitos.
“A highly stressed, arrogant British oil executive and his wife search for their children who are missing in the rainforest.
“During the rescue mission, the parents come face-to-face with the terrible destruction of the rainforest by oil exploration and mining.
“They come to realise the huge impact this has on the village communities and an ancient way of life.”
Profits from the sale of the novel will go to street children’s charities including The Vine Trust, Arbroath’s St Andrews Church Malawi Project and the Bo’ness Sangita Orphanage Project in India.
Primary six and seven pupils took a great deal of interest in Pam’s talk, as they are presently doing projects on global citizenship.