What Does a Visit to a Health Community Project in Ecuador Look Like
I woke up this morning very excited. Today was the day we would head to Riobamba to visit a health organization. Living in Quito I don’t get to see the countryside much so this was going to be a great opportunity. We drove in a car service, which was very nice. The trip took about 3 hours. I slept the first 2 hours and woke up just in time to see the tallest volcano in Ecuador. I was in shock, of how surreal it looked. Driving into town we pasted a lot of agriculture and then entered into Riobamba, a nice and quaint town. My first reaction was that I am not in the big city anymore. I don’t exactly know why but there is something about small towns that just makes me happy. Upon arrival the director of the program, Omar, greeted us. He and his family welcomed us into their home with open arms. We headed to bed early as the next day we would head out into the communities very early.
We woke up with the roosters. Something new for me as I am used to waking up to horns and traffic. Ate breakfast and caught the bus just in time! My first thoughts getting on the bus was how I really felt like I was heading to some rural area. It only took 5 minutes before the scenery and the feel of the countryside started to change. Indigenous people started getting on the bus and just like that we were out in the communities. Everything seemed so new that I didn’t talk much and just observed people and my surroundings.
About 20 minutes later, we got off at a small school. The younger children were there, as the older kids would come in the afternoon. We started to set up shop with Omar and his volunteer, Elena. He gave us the details about the processes he goes through and how his foundation runs. He takes his medical team to different communities every week or two. They set up “camp” and the local government informs the community members that medical aid and assistance is available. People come flocking from all the surrounding areas. Omar’s service is 100 percent free. This is what really amazed me. No profit comes from the patients. Everything he does is out of the kindness of his heart.
Another main focus of his project is preventative health. These communities don’t get good basic education on dental hygiene, family planning, or in some cases basic health care. He has power points and lessons that he brings into the schools to teach the students of all ages. It is quite amazing. After learning all about the foundation, I really began to feel and understand how important his services are and how much these communities need it. We spent the rest of the day seeing patients, playing with the kids and teaching
them how to use my camera. They were so fascinated and excited about taking photos and videos and they all want to take turns using it.
This day really affected me. That night I just laid in bed thinking about what a great organization Omar runs and how wonderful is what we get to be apart of it for a day. Bringing volunteers to an organization like this makes me very excited and motivated to do the work I am doing. People like Omar are pretty special and getting to help this project by recruiting students through EcuaExplora is one of the most rewarding things I have done. Omar is looking for a variety of volunteers. Whether you are interested in Preventative Medicine, Nursing, Social work, or Community Development he has a project that will suit your interests!