The Galapagos!

A few of us stayed behind in Ecuador to go to the Galapagos!

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When the airplane landed on the first island, we were very surprised by the terrain. It was almost as if we had just landed in the middle of a desert! This was not what we expected! We took a boat to a different island and then a bus ride to the hotel and the terrain changed dramatically and everything was suddenly green and lush!

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We spent the first day on a tour bus exploring the natural geography, including a collapsed crater (Los Gemelos) – formed from gas leaving the volcanic area and causing a canyon. We spent the rest of the day at a tortoise sanctuary (Rancho Primicias), which is home for the giant tortoises native to Santa Cruz island.

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On the second day, we spent the morning snorkeling in the water. We saw many tropical fish, sea turtles, and sea urchins. We also visited a shark channel and an iguana beach. There are multiple species of iguana endemic to the island and adapted specifically for the conditions unique to each island.

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Lastly, we had a long two-day journey home – but luckily we were able to make it home for Thanksgiving to enjoy the company of our families!

Blog post by:  Steph

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Friday and Saturday shenanigans

Friday we finished packing up the pharmacy! It feels like as quickly as we came we left; but not without doing all we could with the help of the Lord. It was amazing to be part of a team where everyone was so willing to help out. We had logistic people helping in any way asked and even providers doing their best to count hundreds of tablets.

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We cleaned up well!  Goodbye to our pharmacy location.  Remaining medications will be used by future teams.  

After packing up, we immediately got on the bus and headed back to Guayaquil. We were able to walk along the water at the boardwalk, and grab some food after picking up some souvenirs. After a long week, we were able to get to bed early for a full fun-filled day in Guayaquil on Saturday.

We began the day with a brisk walk up to the lighthouse that included 444 stairs. From there, we stopped at a local market for more shopping. People were shouting, it was hot, and there was no room to move without knocking something over, but it was definitely an experience. For dinner, the whole team was able to gather together to eat a wonderful meal of steaks, grilled chicken, and pork sausages. Emily, Kennedy, and Jordan then headed to the airport and got ready to go home.

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Our full group on our stair walk
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The crew at the airport in Miami

Stephanie and Chrissy will be continuing the adventure and will be updating from the Galápagos Islands. Stay tuned!

Blog post by:  Jordan and Kennedy

Last day to see patients in Ecuador

Today was a busy last day for us in clinic. Stephanie and Kennedy went into the mountains for another off-site clinic, while Jordan and Chrissy worked in the pharmacy, triaged patients, and spent some fun times with the kids.

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Today’s off site clinic was in the mountains.  This is the surrounding area.

S*****, an elderly local, came back to sing for us again and keep us company throughout the day in triage.  I***** enjoyed getting some pictures with everyone while trying to sell his naranjas (oranges).

 

Once again we all worked together as a team to complete our day prior to enjoying an evening with the mayor of Pasaje.  He invited us to a banana plantation, provided us dinner, and gave gifts.

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Dinner with the Mayor (orange shirt)

We finally completed our evening with gifts for our wonderful translators, without them none of the services we provided would have been possible!

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Pharmacy team with Fernando our wonderful translator!
Blog post by:  Chrissy, Emily, Jordan, Kennedy, and Steph

Office site clinic “Pasaje soy yo”

The day started off with a good breakfast at the hotel. Chrissy and I went to the off site clinic where we worked in the pharmacy and patient intake. I came across a patient during intake, and she shared that she had been in a lot of pain. Thankfully she had faith in the Lord that he would heal her, and she was brought to us for help. At the off site clinic, we were able to see over 50 patients and make a difference in many of their lives.

Working at the off-site clinic we were very grateful for the opportunity to practice independently alongside the wonderful translators and providers. Being very close to graduation this gave us a vote of confidence for the rest of the rotation and our final months.

Back at the main site, Kennedy and Stephaine helped by also working in patient intake and the pharmacy while filling any need that the team had. The mosquitos came in numbers today due to the rain last night, but they were unsuccessful in their attempt to run the ladies away.

We were invited to a celebration in Pasaje for those newly accepting of the Lord. There was fantastic music and beautiful dancing by the locals. It was a great experience that we were so thankful to share with them. God has done some incredible work this week!!

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Blog post by:  Jordan

 

Second day of clinic: “Give your hands to serve and your hearts to love” ~ Mother Theresa

Second day at clinic in Ecuador and it was a wonderful day!  I spent the day in triage while Kennedy, Jordan, and Stephanie were giving community presentations, children’s activities, and working in the pharmacy.  They also found time to help in triage!  Talk about being flexible!  I am super proud to be part of this team!

 

 

During my time in triage I was embraced by so many patients, all giving thanks, sharing hugs and kisses, and the word of our Lord.

Every night after dinner, we come together as a group to share our stories; I would like to share mine here. My God sighting today was seen in a boy who was suffering from asthma. He was unable to play because he was struggling to breathe. As I checked him in through triage my heart was heavy. I knew we had limited inhalers and was afraid we might not have any left to give. His mom explained how worried she was, even in his sleep she could hear him trying to catch his breath. Over the next few hours I thought about this young boy. As the clinic was closing down for the day, I was walking to the pharmacy and someone tapped me on the back, it was my little buddy. I was so happy to see him but he was happier to see me and show me his new inhaler and other medications. It was a great moment. Hugs were shared with him, his mom, and his sister.
We ended the day at clinic with a soccer game while waiting on our team members from our mobile clinic to return. USA vs Ecuador. ⚽ So much fun. We are grateful for our Ecuadorian partners and our translators.

 

Blog post by:  Chrissy

First day of clinic

F0F941B0-4C3F-4AF0-B71E-399D22795843Today was our first day of clinic! Everyday we change shifts in the clinic, and today I began by working in triage in the morning and the children’s ministry in the afternoon.
The triage is where we determine how sick our patients are and what services to refer them to. Many of our patients had very high blood pressures and many of their illnesses were the result of long term consequences of chronic diseases.

7C67BC60-D12D-40D3-B9D5-47366F386D3B9B16BBE5-7323-46DF-A6A7-3E0771814EFFAfter a very hearty lunch, I spent the afternoon playing with the children. I got my hoop out for a few minutes, but the Ecuadorian humidity got the best of me and I had to stop – but that was OK because it was a lot more fun chasing the kids around with the hoop anyways. I spent the rest of the day taking pictures (on a Polaroid!) and making bracelets with the children.

E2A1266C-2FAF-4007-97E7-70032CAC59BBI was in absolute culture shock as to how warm the people of Ecuador are. Before leaving we read the book, “Foreign to Familiar,” which talked about “hot” and “cold” cultures. While I cognitively understood the premise of the book, it wasn’t until today interacting with the people that I truly understood what it means to be a “hot” culture. I have never met people so friendly, warm, and grateful. Children, mothers, and grandparents alike gathered around to make beaded bracelets and necklaces. Hugs and kisses were exchanged, and a new best friend made me a bracelet.
People here are so grateful for the smallest of things and it has truly been an awakening experience. I am looking forward to the next few days of clinic!

178D4496-7B9A-43FE-8302-2186972B76DBBlog post by:  Stephanie

Bienvenidos a Ecuador

5286AE6E-63FE-482C-B46D-C1B4AD0E53BFHello everyone! We have officially spent a full day in Ecuador! We are so very thankful for 3 safe flights from Tri-Cities to Charlotte to Miami to Guayaquil. After a long morning, we found ways to keep the flights and layovers fun. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that Bojangles in the CLT airport is a life saver! After having full bellies, we were able to meet a few team members in Charlotte then the rest of the team in Miami so we could travel together. We are so amazed at the team of wonderful people that God brought together for this week!
Ecuador is a beautiful country with some of the best food!! Attached is a picture of Chrissy’s breakfast from this morning which includes traditional humitas and ceviche. We were also fortunate to take a stroll through a park filled with iguanas!! Stephanie was able to get an amazing close up of an iguana having his morning meal.
We were able to set up most of our clinic today in Pasaje Canton. We are all worn out but excited to start Monday off doing God’s work by serving others. Please continue to send good vibes and prayers our way ❤️ Again, I just want to say how thankful I am for this team that has been brought together!

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BCBA094F-8116-43F9-9E62-A81344ECE158Blog post by:  Kennedy