It was finally time to change from T-Shirts and beach wear to a business suit.
The main purpose of my visit to Lima and to Peru was the annual World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Congress where I had been ask to moderate some sessions of the scientific programme and to say a few words at the closing ceremony as the event is moving to Lisbon next year.
It is such a great feeling standing at the entrance door of the Lima Conference centre and finally – after 2 years of cancelled events and just online meetings to share once again the building with my friends and colleagues from all over the world!
Bizarrely one of the first people I meet is my “boss” Vigdis Børset Raedergård whom I had the great pleasure to working with in Tromsø in the summer. I will never cease to be impressed by the marvels of the internet and of inter-continental travelling by jet-engine powered aircrafts…..
It gives you an idea how brilliant and important these occasional physical meetings with colleagues are and why this can not be entirely replaced by online meetings.
Many of the people I meet I haven’t shaken hands with or hugged for 2 long years and yet we have continued to work together on new and on ongoing projects like the Global Principles of Veterinary Collegiality (which has now been translated into more than 20 different languages !) or on the Online Veterinary Conference in aid of Ukraine.
And there is no veterinary conference in the world where you meet and can interact with so many colleagues from virtually all over the Globe as here at the WSAVA Congress.
While I enjoy updating my knowledge of the treatment of Addison’s Disease and the management of unstable diabetic patients at the fabulous lectures of Adriana Lopes Quintana from Maldonado
at the estuary of the Rio Plata in Uruguay or refreshing my approach to the examination of orthopaedic patients with the help of Aussie gone American Ian Holsworth from Ventura near LA in California, it is more the meetings, conversations and new introductions between these sessions that have the greatest value for me.
I encounter a lot of veterinary students who are active in their own countries with IVSA, the International Veterinary Student Association. They have been flown in by the organising committee to help with the event and I realize that many of these new colleagues will form and lead our profession in the years to come.
At another meeting with my Spanish/Portuguese speaking colleagues I am made aware of the ongoing close relationship these countries both in Europe and in Latin America have with another and that this might at times be of greater importance to them than the Portuguese and Spanish connection with other European countries. We have to remember that the UK’s relationship to the Commonwealth compared with the relationship to the EU has a similar character.
All of these wonderful meetings with my colleagues are – as we are in Peru – made even better with excellent food and the obligatory Pisco Sours which just taste so much better in their native home….
I finally make good use of my new aquaintances by getting a wealth of new information and more importantly more contacts for the next stops of my journey of South America.
And while – following five memorable days in Lima – my business suit and my ball room shoes are flying back to Europe with a Croatian colleague, I am heading in a completely new direction, where these items of clothing are unlikely to be of much use……