...your ankles swell to be the size of your calves when you sit for a long period of time! And then it takes them FOREVER to go back to normal size. I remember a time, not too long ago, that i was in south america traveling and riding buses for months with no issues...now when riding for only a short time my ankles are huge! Other than that, I am so super tired...every day all day. Im not sure what the issue is but I'm going to just say its my age and all this packing and unpacking and carrying 60 pounds on my back and getting on and off buses just makes me feel like I'm suddenly 85.
Anyway, on to more exciting things... So, I blogged all about this past week but it is stuck on the laptop. We are in a town with no wifi, imagine that! And we tried connecting it straight to the cable and it still doesn't work...so we are in an internet cafe where we are paying 80 cents per hour. A little out of our budget, we know, but we are trying to keep you all updated! If and when I can get that off ill post it too. But, for now let me think about all the things that have occurred over the past week. Let me start with how we got to Pimampiro.
After a day of looking at clinics and meeting people in Guayaquil we met a man in our hostel (Paul-now deemed "new" Paul) who was there setting up an event for next month. He asked Liz for the password for the wifi at the hostel and it was all history from there. He started telling us all about his life here in Pimampiro, and how it is eternal spring and how beautiful and amazing the people are. We were instantly interested in his work, he has a foundation where he is teaching the people to farm organically. There is a big problem here with them using chemicals and pesticides and people are dying from working in the fields with these substances. They have also started a girls school and implemented the organic farming into the schools. Its amazing the headway that they have made in 5 short years.
The more we talked to new Paul, and basically told him that we were open to anything he invited us to come up here and visit. We discussed all sorts of options of other programs, including an orphanage or some sort of home/safe haven for girls that have been sexually abused. So many options, but the best part is that he already has a presence here and is willing to help us in whatever way that he can! We arrived here last night after leaving Guayaquil on Monday morning. The bus ride was a short 10 hours to Quito where we met Paul and stayed the night in Mariscola. Breakfast and a little sightseeing and then we jumped on another bus to Otavala. Otavala´s claim to fame is that it is the largest market in all of South America quite possible the world. We met Segundo there, who is a friend of Paul's and also a man who on his own built a building behind his house where he teaches over 100 kids about their heritage and the importance of keeping it. Amazing man trying to make a difference! He invited to his families house and told us that his house is our house.
After some lunch and time at the market we threw our stuff on another bus and headed up to Ibarra. Ibarra is the nearest "city" to where we are. Off the bus in Ibarra, Paul had to take care of some business than back on the final bus to our new location...Pimampiro. After an hour of stopping every other block to pick someone up or drop someone off we drove faster than we should have up a windy hilly road and arrived about 20 feet from Paul´s doorstep. We arrived and his friend who is working with him at the project had dinner ready for us! So thankful for such thoughtful people!
Now, they set up for us a place to stay here, with a super nice lady. She lives alone, recently her husband left her and her mother died, her kids live in the states and she loves to entertain. She is like our Ecuadorian mother! We plan on staying there for at least a week, maybe two while we are getting to know the area (not that there is too much to get to know since its almost 2 square miles and only 5000 people) and then deciding if we will stay up here or go somewhere new. Today we visited the clinic here, it runs pretty well but is lacking supplies. There are so many patients and just not enough staff. We met with the director and she told us that they see quite a few traumas from things such as car accidents or just accidents in general. We walked into the "trauma" room which consists of one gurney and a small metal table with 3 bottles of alcohol a box of gloves and a metal tin that was supposed to have meds in it but had none. She told us that they are lacking IV´s and oxygen...which I know are two very important things when trying to attend to a trauma patient. She informed us that they just transfer the patient to the hospital that is an hour away, apparently without doing much for them before the transport. Can you imagine if you were the patient?
So, starting in the morning we will work there and try to get our foot in the door of this community and see what else we can do to help them. Im sure you are wondering what we did with everyone else, the rest of the MMRC clan...well Big Paul is in Guayaquil working on our projects there, Nick and Bridget are working on a farm, and Liz and I are here. The plan is for Paul to get everything together in Guayaquil, he is making contacts and putting together some proposals of how we can help. We are planning on partnering with an inpatient hospital in the south east of the city where they have 3 working operating rooms and a functioning clinic. We are hoping to assess the needs of the community and bring down teams of people that can address these needs. This hospital is willing to let us use their space, we are just working on the final proposal. Keep this in your thoughts and as i know more i will post, but you can also check out MMRCglobal.org where we will also be updating. Before I bore you to death I am going to say goodbye...love and miss you all!