Ecuador Begins

Sometimes greatness is born, sometimes it is searched out, and sometimes it is thrust upon you.

Sometimes a person is born busy, sometimes busyness is searched out, and sometimes busyness is thrust upon you.

The 2012 trip to Ecuador seems to be playing out the tune to both songs. Our team arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador on May 17th, 2012 and we were immediately immersed into a new culture, lifestyle, and adventure. We were privileged enough to have the opportunity on the first day to tour each of our placements that we will be associating with while we are volunteering. First, we toured Comunicar- a school where students with exceptionalities specific to Autism Spectrum Disorder attend daily to learn how to become independent. Our team´s reaction was pleasing. Many of our participants are interested in working hands on with these students to assist with classroom management, teaching, and expanding their own personal understanding of special needs individuals. Next, we took the bus to San Felipe De Neri in Monte Sinai- and getting there proved to be a challenge in itself. The torrential rains that Ecuador experiences in ¨winter¨ have caused many potholes and large puddles on the roads, resulting in a rather exciting and bumpy escapade. When we arrived (without getting stuck, yay!), we were thrust right into the school playing with the children, overcoming language barriers, and most importantly running an oral hygiene clinic. We taught the students a catchy theme song about how to brush their teeth and then separated into small groups to ensure each child was specifically taught exactly how to brush their teeth to keep them clean. At this point our morning was over. Before we left the community we met with some of the members to see the shelter that was built last year and we had a chance to see what we would be working on this year for the construction project. In the community, there was no electricity or running water, homes were made mainly of bamboo and any odds and ends that could be found. The people already have shown their sense of belonging- each so loving and close to their neighbours. I know we are looking forward to being submersed into the community, to get to know each member, and to work hard to ensure we make a difference for them. After we were introduced and welcomed into one member´s home, we were on our way to a meeting with the Honourary Canadian Consult, Basil Haylock. Basil is a Canadian citizen who has lived and been working in Ecuador for 44 years. He was named the Honourary Consult last year and his purpose is to ensure the comfort and safety of Canadians who live and travel in Ecuador. Listening to Basil was a very interesting and beneficial experience. He was enthusiastic and loves Ecuador, and was so pleased that we were in the country to volunteer and serve in any way possible.

Overall, after the meeting the majority of us were tired from the heat and rush of the day, but could not let that slow us down, as we had to hurry back to our retreat house to ensure that the medical campaign would be prepared for the next day!

Today, we drove to Monte Sinai to the parish of “La Transfiguration” to assist with a free medical campaign that is put on by Mariana de Jesus? We each were given a category to teach on such as: Nutrition, hygiene, oral hygiene, and morals and values. As the clinic was progressing, the medical students were providing physical checks, oral checks, and observing the members of the community, while we were busy teaching the people how important it is to eat well, keep food preserved properly, always sanitize, and to remember values and respect.

Our day ended early and we were treated to a beautiful, scenic view of Guayaquil in the district of Bella Vista (Beautiful View).

Overall, the first two days have not only been nonstop motion, they have been nonstop learning. Seeing a family of four riding on one motorcycle, the homes on stilts to try and ensure they avoid flooding, the roads littered with garbage, the homes so close together, the people all hard at work trying to provide for their families… it makes you think that in all of this busyness, we need to pause and wonder.

A new point of view.

Katie and Heather

Kaitlyn and the kids from the San Felipe de Neri school practice brushing their teeth. Monte Sinai, Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Heather completes an art activity with the kids while the children wait to be seen by the doctors. Medical Campaign held by Mariana de Jesus. Monte Sinai, Guayaquil, Ecuador
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