This is the blog written with no internet connection on Monday March 14. Therefore, it was written BEFORE the last blog posted and could possibly have some repeated information.
It has once again been too many days since I have blogged, the days are flying by for some reason. The past week has been more uneventful than the weeks prior so I keep telling myself that I will blog as soon as I have something to write about. Apparently I have a lot to write about but just didn’t have an exact plan as to what our next step was going to be…but now I do! Upon arriving in Guayaquil we were expecting to be given some direction, unfortunately that did not happen. Last week was Carnival therefore a lot of the offices and therefore our contacts that we had made were closed, so when we arrived Paul was more than frustrated. But, as the week went on we talked to more and more people and got more and more insight into what we might be doing down here. Javier (our contact in Lima) gave us the name and number of a lady that he thought could help us, we contacted her and she is super excited to help facility everything that we want to do!
We visited a few clinics, that are understaffed but running pretty well. But, the final place that we visited this past Saturday was a hospital in a rural area with about a million people in 8 square miles. The hospital used to be full, according to the administration but they have to charge a small fee ($5) since they are a private hospital. Because of this fee most of the people go to the public hospital which has absolutely no resources according to our contacts. This hospital has 3 working operating room suits with 3 working ventilators and the ability to do laparoscopic surgeries. There is one nurse for the entire hospital, they have about 20 inpatient beds and a trauma bay. While we were there there was only one patient, but apparently they get about 30 patients a day. The best part about this place is that there is an “apartment” on the top floor. They offered for us to house people up there, so we are waiting to hear back to see MMRC can live up there permanently. So, the plan is to first assess the area and find out what the needs are. Once we figure that out then we will put together teams to come down and address those needs, surgeons or orthopedist or whatever we find out will be useful. We are super excited to get these programs going and think that we have found the perfect place to facilitate our needs.
In the midst of meeting with people and seeing these places in Guayaquil we ran into a man named Paul (yes, another Paul-we have deemed him ‘new’ Paul) who was staying at our hostel. It all started by him asking Liz if she knew the password for the internet. As we started to talk he started sharing all that he is involved in down here, he is teaching the people how to do organic farming, (which they have implemented in the schools) he has helped start an all girls school and clinics. He has been involved with these people for 15 years. As we were talking he was super excited to have us join him and meet the people and see what we could do to help. We mentioned that we are super interested in starting an orphanage, and he said that he doesn’t know of one around! But…that there aren’t too many orphans because someone usually takes them in. So, that is how Liz and I have ended up in Quito tonight!
The five of us (MMRC) discussed the options that we had in front of us and decided that Liz and I would come up north and check out the projects that new Paul is working on and how we could be useful there and big Paul would continue organizing and finding out more information for the project in Guayaquil and Nick and Bridget will be going to work on an organic farm for a few days with a guy from Amsterdam (that we also met at the hostel). So, here we are…Liz and I sleeping in a hostel in Quito. We took yet another bus, but only 10 hours this time, north to a place much colder than anywhere that we have been lately. Its FREEZING here! Freezing compared to Guayaquil…but much warmer than most of you are at home Im sure.
Here, we met Paul (who flew) at a ghetto bus station somewhere in the north of Quito where our bus just left us. This lady, who thought it necessary to sit basically on top of me, would not quit talking to me. She asked me a million questions, asked to use my phone, and told me I look like I'm Chinese! Crazy lady! Fortunately Paul arrived, but he seemed to have a sad face when he met us, we instantly knew that something was wrong but since he is our new friend we gave him time to explain. Someone had stolen his laptop…and his camera…and everything that was inside of his laptop bag. So terrible, but as we talked about it we basically concluded that what comes around goes around and that guy is in for something bad! The worst part is that he lost pictures and lots of work on his computer.
Plan as of now is for Liz and I to head up to Pimampiro (4 hours north of Quito) tomorrow with new Paul and check out all of his programs. We are super excited and ready to see what we can do in this village. He has told us all sorts of amazing stories, so we have high hopes for what we can do in this place. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we are trying to figure out exactly where we are supposed to be and where we may be most useful.