by Zhao Hui
LIMA, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- In a traditional Chinese medicine clinic in the Peruvian capital of Lima, an elder Chinese doctor was acupuncturing for a Peruvian patient who was suffering facial paralysis, while three other patients lying aside, who complained of insomnia or sciatica, were undergoing acupuncture therapy.
Outside the consulting room, seven patients were waiting for their turns to be treated by the doctor with her silver acupuncture needles, though the clock said 11:30 at noon.
Among them was a first-timer who worried whether her turn would finally come as time was already late and she was the last one in order.
Her concerns were quelled by another patient sitting aside: "Doctor Zhou will treat you even if she misses her meal and sleep."
It is a busy but ordinary day for the 69-year-old Angela Zhou, who has been working six days a week for 27 years since she came alone to Peru in 1989 and established the clinic.
Traditional Chinese medicine has become more and more popular in Peru, as around 50 such clinics have opened in Lima alone, and seventy percent of them are established by local doctors, some of whom have studied in China.
Orlando Leiva and his wife Ana, who were among the first Peruvian doctors being granted a master's degree in acupuncture and moxibustion in China, are operating a private clinic in Peru, offering Chinese therapy such as acupuncture, massage and chiropractic.
At the beginning, locals knew little about traditional Chinese medicine and instinctively recoiled at the sight of the silver needles, the couple said.
After years of education and cultural activities, including lectures on Chinese medicine therapy and tai chi performances, local people began to accept traditional Chinese medicine, they said.
Caryn Centeno, a 40-year-old white-collar worker had been troubled many years by lumbar disc herniation, and thus having a numb right leg. After years of treatment in local hospitals without improvement, she heard about doctor Zhou's superb skills by chance and came to see her for a try.
After two acupunctures, her pain was greatly relieved. "It is surprising that my situation has improved obviously after two acupunctures. I am full of confidence now," she said.
"Through traditional Chinese medicine, my children and I are increasingly interested in Chinese culture," she said. "I'm encouraging my children to compete for a short-term exchange program in China so that they can travel to China and learn Chinese culture first-hand."
Traditional Chinese medicine provides a window of opportunity for Peruvians to know about the Chinese culture and for the two peoples to build friendship. In this sense, Zhou serves as an ambassador.
From 2007 to 2009, almost every weekend, Zhou went with local civil organizations to mountainous and rainforest areas in central and eastern Peru to provide free medical services.
During the two years, Zhou visited more than 10 remote provinces. She recalled that one day she received more than 70 patients and missed her lunch. Another time, she twisted her ankle owing to poor road conditions, but persisted in seeing patients. After finishing work, she found her foot swelled so much that she could not put on her shoe.
Thanks to such people-to-people exchanges, it is notable that Chinese traditional culture is blooming in Peru, against the backdrop of enhanced political and economic cooperation. In the context of Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming state visit, the two sides are expected to strengthen and deepen their ties.
(Edited by Zhu Junqing. Xinhua reporters Xiao Chunfei and Shen Hong in Lima also contributed to the story.)