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Ecuador 2011

Students spent three weeks in Guayaquil, Ecuador working in a variety of hospitals, including pediatric, maternity and general hospitals. In addition, they partnered with Hogar de Cristo, a non-profit organization that assists poor populations outside the city. Students assisted in screening close to 1000 school-aged children for malnutrition and other health concerns. Students also taught classes and provided blood pressure and blood sugar screenings for local church members. Students then traveled to Otavalo for a week where they partnered with the Benson Institute and Charity Anywhere, where they conducted additional health screenings and taught.

Student Reflections :

"Now that we are here in Otavalo, I think it is important to note that not [all of] Ecuador has the same culture. The people here are very different from the people in Guayaquil, and had I not come here I would have thought that all of Ecuador was like Guayaquil. The people here are more reserved and follow more of the indigenous culture; in Guayaquil they tend to follow a more Latin American culture. This is something I need to keep in mind more. Just because I have been somewhere I should not assume that that entire place is alike. If I have an Ecuadorian patient in the U.S., I would need to know which culture they follow, as different cultures require different attention. We have learned not to assume that because someone is of a certain race they follow certain traditions, but this made me realize how true that really is."

– Kristen

"I came into this thinking we were going out to save the world, and it didn't take very long to realize that we can't do that and we shouldn't. The thing more important than that is helping to foster the self-reliance of the people here. By educating them and supporting the good things they are doing, we are helping to promote good change. And we are allowing Ecuadorians to do this in their own way, rather than pushing our beliefs and systems on them. This is the most important thing we could do for people in Ecuador--share the things we know, support the good things they are doing, and allow them help themselves."

– Beth


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