Friday, December 10, 2010

Bercy Hospital

Please continue to pray for the team in Haiti: For their safety during the political unrest, for their longevity as they finish up their first week there and especially for those they are caring for. Please pray that lives will not only be saved physically but spiritually as well. Here is an excerpt from Joe's email yesterday. The Ruth and Betzabe that he talks about below are 2 of the medical residents from our hospital who also went on the trip.

Our shift last night was truly blessed as we ended up working 15 hours and didn’t kill anyone. We actually brought a few back from the brink. We had a 76% increase in the number of patients overnight from 38 to 67!!!!! Two of them especially were so dehydrated that they didn’t have a palpable pulse and would have been dead in less than an hour in my opinion. Our nurses were GREAT!!!!!! Team Ecuador has really left an impression on the staff here as well – as being dependable, flexible and caring. Several of the people that have worked with us have asked to be scheduled with us for their time here. One guy, Dr David Gettle, who specializes in disasters and was here in January with Eckehart and team said that if he gets a call about another disaster he’ll ask if they’ve called the Ecuador team yet or not and that he’d go in when they sent us. He was joking but also serious. He has been very impressed with Betzabe and Ruth. They are such good workers and so caring. It’s been a blessing to have them here.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Please pray for the group in Haiti. Last night when the election results were announced there was some rioting in Port a Prince. The team is safe outside of the city, but please pray for peace in the country and that the airlines will start flights again before the 18th so they can come home.

This is a picture I recieved today of the team working in one of the "hospital" tents. Joe hasn't had to start an IV in a LONG time. He is getting lots of practice.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Update on Haiti

Just wanted to share a part of the email Joe was finally able to send today. They have very limited internet and phone service. I will post pictures as soon as I have some.

I was taking a few minutes to write to you and let you know that all is well. We’re on our third night shift in a row and will work one more night before having Wednesday night off. I’m not quite used to
the changes yet as I still sleep only 4 or 5 hours. With each
passing day, I think and hope that I’ll get more used to the change.
Our shifts are from 7pm to 7am and we usually make it back to the compound by 8 or 830. From the truck, we go straight to the showers, after having our footwear disinfected. That’s done because of the amount of stool and vomit that we may step near, even after it´s been cleaned up. After bathing we go to the cafeteria and have breakfast which is filling but often cold as the rest of the staff has already eaten. By the time I’m ready to hit the sack, it’s usually 9 or 930 in the morning. The building is like a barracks with about 100 bunks (an uneducated guess) and I’m fairly close to the big fan and door.
It`s a welcome relief from the outside noise to have the fan close by.
After getting up I usually lay in the bunk and read for awhile before going to the rec tent and drinking some of the instant Starbuck’s that I brought with me. I’ve done the math and it’s not going to last – bummer. I need to thank Christine Scott for getting me the box. I’ve been sharing the packets with Hermann as well.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sometimes Its The SmallThings

Last week while shopping at "Real Grocery Store" a few hours away, I found Snack Packs and Snyder's pretzels. I know, this probably means nothing to you, but it was the happiest day I have had since I found Heinz Hamburger Dill pickles. Sometimes, its the smallest things that make your day!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Well He Is Off To Haiti

Joe leaves this morning from Quito for Haiti. Hopefully he will have internet access at some point while there to update everyone, but if not I will do my best to keep you up to date on stamping out disease and pestilence.

Please pray for safety while traveling, in Haiti and for endurance. Joe found out yesterday that the hospital is working 12 hour shifts trying to keep up with the cholera outbreak.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Isabella's school had their first performance a few weeks ago. They danced to the music from Bonanza and did an amazing job. Their second performance was during Shell Days (post coming soon) in which they beat out 4 other schools to win a new computer for their school- which her school can REALLY use. The sad part was that we (her parents) didn't understand that it was a competition until they started annoucing the winners- that information made lots of other things make sense. For example, the moms in charge were very particular about the shirts and skirts and we had an entire morning to make the hats out of foam. ALERT! If you ever need a cowboy hat made out of foam, don't ask me- I am horrible at it and have the hot glue burn scars to prove it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fuzzy Floors

Well, I have never seen this before:

Yes, when I woke up this morning, this is what I found growing on our tile- some sort of white, moldy fuzzy, hairy, scary stuff. Don't know, can't explain it just glad it was easily swept away and doesn't grow back faster and thicker each time. Things that make you scratch you head and go "hmm, interesting...."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Disaster Relief

Joe will be leaving Shell Friday morning for Haiti. Because of the extreme problems with Cholera they are having, HCJB has sent several teams in the last few months. Please pray for all of us during this time. Joe and the team he is traveling with, all of the people of Haiti, and the kids and I back here in Ecuador.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Recently, I had an opportunity to fly into a jungle community called Bufeo. It is an Achuar community located in our province of Pastazas on the Bobonazo River. I was there for 3 days and had a wonderful time getting to know the community and experiencing some new things while ministering to their health needs. Above is a picture of the airstrip that Mission Aviation Fellowship uses to fly in and out of the community. Most of the community lives within walking distance of the strip but many did walk a few hours to come see us during our time there. Historically, these trips had been an integral part of the ministry of HCJB Global to the peoples in the jungle regions of Ecuador. A trip every few months would be organized with the blessing of the receiving community and a small group consisting of a physician, nurse or medical resident, and a missionary evangelist fluent in the language spoken in the community. Because of a shortage in funds and personnel, this had been the first flight that we'd been able to schedule in a number of years. Recently, the hospital had been blessed with a donation that will be used to allow us to restart and continue this program.

Chad Irwin was our pilot when we flew in. He and his wife have been missionaries in Ecuador for 8 years. We were supposed to fly out at 730 am but didn't until around noon because of the weather. It's not uncommon for trips to be delayed until the next day because of the weather and sometimes you end up staying a extra night in the jungle because they can't fly you out.

We were able to start seeing patients shortly after we arrived. We used the building reserved for community activities and saw about 60 patients on our first afternoon. The villagers speak Shiviar and here I'm using someone to translate for me. All of those that we saw were given anti-parasite medicines and were also treated for a number of different things - including infections and arthritis.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

National Census

Mary and Joseph had to travel so many years ago for their national census, we at least don't have to travel for the Ecuadorian census today. Actually we are not allowed to travel, or go to the store, or even to leave home today. From 7 Am until 5PM the entire country is shut down. You can't go to church, or buy anything or sell anything, they have even said you aren't allowed to "in-vibe" anything alcoholic. They seem pretty serious about it all. In fact the government did not allow any alcohol to be sold for several days before, just to make sure people weren't stocking up for the "day at home."
At some point today a high school student will stop by to fill out a 4 page questionnaire on our home and then 2 page questionnaire on each one of us living here. The questions are actually quiet interesting. Most of them have to do with our house- what type of materials it is made out of, if we have a kitchen or bathroom inside our home, whether we cook with gas or wood. But others are a bit more personal- at what age you had your first child and last child- how literate you are. It wouldn't be so strange except that it isn't private or confidential at all. You put your name and address on all of it. I find the entire thing amazingly interesting looking at it from a North American perspective of complete anonymity, privacy and liberty. It will be interesting to see how the day plays out.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yet Another Reason....

Ok, so this has nothing to do with our work here, but it is a passion for us.

Yet another reason to love the Pittsburgh Steelers

Courtesy Xbox 360 Videos

Monday, October 25, 2010

School Update

Thought I would give you a little update on Isabella's adventure in Ecuadorian school. We are all learning as we go. Here is a little of what we have figured out about school supplies.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Scariest Bug (So Far)

I found this in our kitchen the other night right as Isabella was about to step on it. I wish I had taken video of Sebastiao catching it in a jar as I crawled onto the counter and yelled at Bella to move in case it came at one of us. Good thing there is one brave person in this house (even if he isn't an adult).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

First Day of 3rd Grade

Sebastiao's first day of school this year was more of a home-coming for him. After a summer in which most of his friends were in the states, he was ready for everyone to be back. However, he wasn't as happy after he found out how much homework there was in 3rd grade (especially in Spanish class).

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Current Events

Just wanted to let everyone know we are doing well here Everything seems to be quieting down politically. We will keep you updated if anything else goes on.

Please keep my family in your prayers today and this weekend. We have several things going on right now and would appreciate your prayers.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

God Cares About the Little Things

Well, many of you have written asking about the car situation and may I say, our God is amazing! It is a very long story, but let me just say that God provided peace, wisdom and some mighty good mechanics through it all- not to mention amazing neighbors who let us borrow their car many, many times without even a second thought! Thanks Kim and Paul! The problem was that the computer decided the chip in our key wasn't the right chip, so it completely shut down everything. The mechanics at the dealership in Ambato reprogrammed the car and then checked everything else out. We got it back last Friday afternoon and we couldn't be more excited. Having car problems in a foreign country can be, well.... frustrating at best and almost scary. Everything is done so differently here and then there is the language issue, so prayer was vital and our God provided. Not only was it an easy fix for the mechanics, the charges were only a fraction of what we were anticipating (the kids can still go to college!). Praise God and thank you all so much for your prayers! Now we just need the construction in town to be finished so we can drive somewhere!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jungle Ballet

Isabella had her first Ballet recital a few weeks ago. She was so excited to finally perform in front of people, but wouldn't show me any of their dance before that night. So, I was so excited when the program finally began. I had no idea they would all do such a wonderful job. The recital was so much more than just the girls dancing- several town official spoke, 3 different people sang, and a dance troup performed a traditional Ecuadorian dance.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

School Supplies- Ecuadorian Style

Ok, so I have to admit, I am not an expert at buying school supplies. Since we home-schooled in the states, I have never seen an USA school supply list, but I bet there are a few things on Isahella's list for Ecuadorian school, you would never see on a list in the US. Some of these things I will be interested to see what they do with- my mom just kept saying "art project, art project." We will see..... So, first lets compare and contrast (that a school thing- right?)

The saddest part was that the one thing on the list I really thought I understood was "pinturas"- paints right, no problem- well, actually this meant colored pencils- who knew. One good thing is that we now know the Spanish word for hula hoop- ula ula, that might be useful some day.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Prayer Request

Please pray for our car- I know that sounds strange, but last week our car just stopped working. The battery was good, there was gas (believe you me, the kids asked- run out of gas just one time and.....), it just wouldn't start. Friday afternoon, Joe had it towed to a recommended mechanic who said it was probably the starter- Ok, the starter, not a big deal. Well, it wasn't the starter. Evidently the computer on our "smart car" decided that our key wasn't the correct key and so the car has completely shut down and they can't fix it here. The car is being towed this morning to Ambato (2 hours away) to a Ford dealership. Please pray for safety for the driver who is taking our car, for the people in Ambato who will be working on it and for the whole thing to be fixed quickly and for as little as possible- we are a little concerned about things adding up.
The upside to the whole thing, the mechanic here in Pastazas checked out everything on the car and said it is in great shape- just computer problems. Plus (praise God!) he charged us the bare minimum for all of his hours of work trying to work out the problem. We are very grateful for even having a car, but man, do we miss it!

Monday, September 6, 2010

First Day of School- Well, Kind of...

Well, since we have been here a year and are starting to feel more and more at home, we decided to mess the whole thing up by sending Isabella to an Ecuadorian school for kindergarten this year. Today was technically, Isahella's first day of school at CELE, an Ecuadorian school associated with a church here in Shell.
The first day was in reality just a welcome presentation at the church where a bunch of people talked, one man gave a small message and then they introduced the teachers. We got to hear the Ecuadorian National Anthem for the first time ever, met Bella's teacher and I think we are all a little more ready for tomorrow- the real first day.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sebastiao's 8th Birthday

We celebrated Sebastiao's 8th Birthday last Tuesday and what a night it was. He has a couple of his good friends come out to dinner with us at his favorite restaurant. They had "Lego Races" while we waited for the food and then climbed all over the Indigenous statues afterward. This was, however, the first time that the boys had noticed that most of the statues were naked... they got off very quickly after that!

We went back home for cake, candy and cookies!

and then of course PRESENTS! Thanks to all of you who helped to make it a great day. Sebastiao was up until 2:30Am putting together Lego sets. Its always nice when your friends envy you a little on your birthday!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Nothing Like Time With Friends

We were very honored this summer to have some very good friends visit us here in EC. The Garvelli family: Joe, Blake, Tony, Allie and Garret spent 2 weeks with us here. Along with having a great time exploring and seeing the sites, they also helped us catalog, inventory sort through TONS of medicines for Joe's upcoming jungle trip. Thanks to the Garvellis Joe was able to take all the medicines he needed to a jungle community a few weeks ago (blog entry to come if I can ever get Joe home for a few minutes)

Working hard on the medicines:

Both families enjoying the Hola Vida waterfall where you hike right up to the waterfall and then swim underneath it!

Exploring the Casa del Arbol (tree house) and caves there:

Another waterfall, Pailon del Diablo.

Monkeys up close and personal from our canoe at La Casa del Suizo.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Great Pleasure

Sorry I didn't get a post up this morning, but I spent the night vomiting and most of today in bed with my wonderful husband taking care of things around the house. So, here it is (just a little late).

One of the greatest parts of our job here is working with medical residents and interns. Obviously Joe gets to know them better than I do, but that is why we try to have them over as much as possible. This was an amazing group of residents and it was wonderful getting to know them, even if only for a short time. Its wonderful to find things in common such as children. Ruth (on the left) has a 2 year old son and Veronica (on the right) has a little girl on the way.

Friday, August 20, 2010

How We Spent Our Fourth of July

We spent our 4th of July with the missionary community which included, Americans, Canadians and few Germans and a few Ecuadorians. Everyone made patriotic desserts and we all enjoyed that it wasn't 100 degrees like back in the states.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fathers Day

We spent Father's Day like many other important days- with Joe on-call. The kids enjoyed making him gifts and baking his favorite dessert just for the day. We have a prize for anyone who can make out what their "Bean Signs" say...... any takers?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Snakes and Fangs and Swollen Hands

When patients come into the hospital with snake bites, they very often bring the snake along! Even more fun huh?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Last Week of School

Sebastiao's last week of school was jam packed. He had Backwards Day- which he interpreted as Upside Down Day, and had an awards ceremony where he won an award for Patients as well as a Presidential Physical Education Award. Now Sebastiao constantly reminds us how "Patient"he is because he "has an award to prove it!"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

End of School

OK, I know its August and most of you are getting ready to start school, but I am just now getting around to posting end of school pictures- lets just say I have adapted very well to the laid back South American lifestyle- or at least thats what I am calling it.

First up is Isabella finishing up at Preschool. Here she is with her class and Teacher Mrs. Sharon. Bella wanted to wear her special dress Grandma made for her for her special day. She will be starting school this September at CELE, a local Ecuadorian school affiliated with a Church here in Shell.

Earthquakes and Face Book

Some of you may have heard that Ecuador experienced an earthquake early this morning. According to many news reports it registered about 6.9 and according to all the maps was very close to us- we however were oblivious to it- completely. This morning while checking my Face Book a friend wrote to check on us and make sure we were alright. Thanks Alica because without you I never would have checked online news. So, thankfully, we all blissfully slept through it all and there appears to be no damage within the country.

Here is the story on Fox News

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Adventures in Cuy

Ok, so I have to put a warning out there for any of you who are squeamish- This one is not for the faint hearted, the extreme animal lover or anyone who has ever been affiliated in any way with PETA (I have a feeling none of my readers have ever been involved with the later, but I must include it just to be safe).

So, here we go

Cuy, is Guinea Pig and Guinea Pig is a delicacy here in Ecuador. You see them by the roadside when traveling through the country, or on the menu at restuarants (mainly catering to tourist) and they are usually on a spit, roasting, head, teeth, tail and all- not a pretty sight. Well our little adventure begins with a phone call. Joe called me on Monday very excited. He asked me to run over to his office quickly because we had something there. This usually means MAIL, but since it was a Monday (not a normal mail day for us) I was a little skeptical, but being the good wife that I am, I headed over to the hospital.
Earlier that morning a patient of his had brought a little gift- yep you guessed it and right there laying on his desk was a plastic bag with a freshly killed Cuy.

Let me take this opportunity to first explain that this was a very expensive gift and we completely understand and appreciate the light in which it was given. It was a very sweet token of her appreciation and we are grateful- Cuy in a restaurant cost about $20 and the average meal here is about $2-$5- This sweet, sweet lady raises Cuy and was kind enough to not only kill it for us that morning, but also clean it.

But, I have no idea how to cook Cuy, so.....
It seemed the perfect timing for the gift because we were leaving that afternoon for Quito to pick up some very good friends for the airport. The Garvellis were flying in to visit for a few weeks, and I figured, who would appreciate fresh Cuy more than the Garvellis? So, I washed it out, cleaned it up the best I could, put it in a ziplock bag and put it in the refrigerator and let it wait for our friends.

So, tonight was the night, I had chicken ready to grill and we added the Cuy right along. I have to admit it was kind of surreal using the tongs to place this creature, face, feet and all on the gril right along with chicken breasts. The first problem came when I used the temperature fork to check if the chicken was done. I wasn't sure at what temperature Cuy is done- so i just guessed it was like pork.....

The next problem came with plating it. I just plopped him right down on the platter with the rest of our dinner- but the kids didn't really appreciate that too much and then of course Sebastiao had to point out that it had been a boy guinea pig and Isabella said she was afraid for her hamsters life, so we took it off the table.

Next problem, how do you carve up a Guinea Pig?

I had done my part with the cooking, and my husband of course was at the hospital, so the Joe who was visiting (Joe Garvelli) was kind enough to try his hand at it- he definitely got farther than I would have. We were glad to have shared this first experience with such good friends and even more glad that Garrett and Allie Garvelli were willing to try it- they were braver than most.

Let me just finish by saying I am not a Cuy Chef, nor will I probably ever be, but you can't beat the experience.

Bon Appetite

Monday, July 5, 2010

Yes, We Are Alive!

Sorry for the break in Blogging, but we are here, alive and doing very well. We have made it to our one year mark on Ecuador and we haven't starting packing to go back home, and they aren't asking us to, so I think things must be going alright.
We have been so busy with many of the same things you guys are busy with- end of school, beginning of summer, and bug bites, lots and lots of bug bites. I have pictures too, lots of pictures to post and will hopefully get everyone up to date on massive snake bites at the hospital, small volcano eruptions and my first attempt at cooking cuy (guinea pigs). THanks to everyone who emailed us and said you were missing updates- it means a lot to know I am not talking to myself!

Friday, May 21, 2010

School Picture Day

When Sebastiao started school at NSMS I never even thought we would have an opportunity for School pictures. Chad and Andi, from a previous post, took some amazing photos. The best part was not having to pick a picture package and pay a ton of money. We received the pictures in our inbox with nothing to pay! The second picture is Sebastiao's class (2nd and 3rd grade) and the bottom is the entire school.