Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Beautiful Bella

We have always thought Isabella was the most beautiful thing created, but it seems that no matter where we go in Ecuador she always draws a crowd. We wish we had started counting the number of times people have asked us if they can take a picture with her. For most Ecuadorians someone with blond hair and blue eyes is a rarity and for many she is the first they have ever seen. Fortunately she loves the attention and usually isn't too bashful. Unfortunately for this picture she wouldn't do it alone, but since then jumps right in and loves being the center of attention even for just a few minutes.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Especially for Luke

Before we left the states, a friend was telling us that while explaining to his son, Luke (a friend of Sebastiao's) about where we were going and what we would be doing, his son asked if we would get to see Diego and Baby Jaguar (you know Diego, the cousin of Dora the Explorer- hes an Animal Rescuer!) Well, we were sure the Diego part wouldn't be too hard to find for Luke, but the jaguar part we were a little unsure about. But.... (Ecuador never ceases to amaze) we have found Baby Jaguar, or at least what may work. So, Luke this is for you-
While visiting a local zoo, we found 2 small jaguar-like (here they are called tigereras) baby cats. In typical Ecuadorian fashion, the only thing between us and the "dangerous" animals was a chain linked fence, and being the good mother that I am, I decided to set an amazing example and began playing with the babies through the fence. They were very sweet and from my magnificent example the following photo was born. I feel a little like those parents in Canada who put honey in their kids hands so the wild bears will eat it.... but he survived, so I guess it was all worth it for the photo!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Todays post is mainly just about beauty. For those of you familiar with Spiders, this is a type of Orb-weaver. We had many Orb-Weavers at our house in the states and loved watching them build their webs with that special little zigzag. Isn't God amazing!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Disgusting

The GOOD- Thanks to my amazing husband (whom I consider the best physician at the hospital), we have access to wonderful health care along with a vast array of medicines.

The BAD- Because of where we live and the climate, we are susceptible to MANY different things including a drug resistant Staph, numerous bacteria, large bugs, snakes, and parasites. In fact most people who live here believe that having and getting parasites is just part of life. We are supposed to take anti-parasite medicine every 6 months just to be safe. We just took our first round last month (only 2 months late) and I have to say, it wasn't the most glamorous thing I have ever taken part in..... for your sakes, lets just say I didn't realize I had any, but.......

The Disgusting- Our family - Joe, Sebastiao, Isabella and me are not the only ones who have to worry about parasites. Baron, our wonderful dog who has put up with this move - although he complains regularly- has also been a host for parasites, just a different kind.
For about the last 4 days we had noticed that the bottom of Baron's paw had a sore- or what we thought was a sore. We worked bandaging it, cleaning it, keeping him off of it as much as possible and trying to get it to stop bleeding, but nothing seemed to work. Then Tuesday night while looking at his paw, I noticed that the open wound seemed to be moving. I showed Joe, convinced he would think I was crazy, but he agreed. I started squeezing on the sore and yep, you guessed it, out popped a worm. It is a larval state of something, all we know for sure is that is was disgusting. I still can't believe I squeezed this out of my dogs foot. You will be glad to know that within 12 hours his foot was fairly well healed.

Since Tuesday night we have learned that this is a Bot-fly larvae and have also found 3 more in Baron! Making those reservations right now aren't you?

Friday, March 19, 2010

The View From Our Front Door

We get lots and lots of rain around here. About 20 feet a year, so clear cloudless days are rare. When it is clear, I am always amazed at how surrounded we are by mountains and volcanoes. Joe captured these 2 shots the other day when the only "clouds" in the sky were created by smoke from Sangay, a volcano. These pictures are literally taken from our front door... Isn't God's creation amazing? It definitely takes a lot of faith to be an atheist.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Zoo Time

We found an amazing zoo in Banos, a town about an hour away a few months ago. The best part about the zoo is that it not only engages the kids minds, it also wears them out. Whoever designed this zoo was either really crazy or really into exercise. I have never walked up and down so many stairs in one day in my life. We were all ready for a break after our wonderful day.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Sweetest Things

Gifts from patients have to be one of the sweetest things about life here, especially when it is Pitahaya. This strange looking fruit is a little intimidating at first, but once you are brave enough to cut in, you won't ever look back.... unless it is to see if there is more. The inside is full of little black seeds. You just scoop it out with a spoon and dive into heaven. It tastes like the sweetest kiwi you have ever eaten.... Seriously, pitahaya is reason enough to visit Ecuador. This has been a great week for us, we received plums, pitahaya and pears all in the same week- no need to go to the fruit market- plus we got to share with our neighbors!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Creatures of the Night

Next door to our house is a pavilion of sorts that was once a house. The back side of the house kept sinking so they decided to just take down the walls and use it as an outdoor pavilion. It works out wonderfully with as much rain as we get. We can still plan outdoor events and not fear them always getting rained out. Ok, but to the point here. The attic of the pavilion is inhabited by a large colony of bats. If you sit out in the pavilion at dusk they come flying out. This little guy must have gotten home late one night and instead of ending up up in the attic, the kids found him low on a wall and it took all they had to not touch him. He looked so "cute and fuzzy!"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Colonial Days

Last week Sebastiao's second grade class had a Colonial Day Celebration for the entire community. The 4 second graders learned about what life was like for the early American (north American) colonists and then transformed the school pavillion. Each 2nd grader served as a tour guide through times past and explained how people lived, what they ate and how they got around. There was colonial food, games and you could even make your own colonial hat! Then at the end was a quiz just to see how much you learned. They did a great job and had a wonderful time doing it. Kudos to Mrs. Monterro their teacher- it was amazing!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Snakes, snakes, snakes!

Snakebites are something that we see fairly frequently. They typically occur in the jungle regions or by farm hands trying to clear brush or cut sugar cane. If they're in the jungle they are often flown in by plane or helicopter. Most snakebite victims are either bitten on the hand/wrist (Oro Palito snake) or the ankle/leg (lancehead or 'X'). This picture is of a small Bothrops or lanchead. In Ecuador, it is called the 'Equis' which is 'X' in Spanish as the coloring often looks like X's painted on its body. It accounts for about 50-60% of the bites in this region. It is the most aggressive venomous snake in the Americas. Fortunately, it typically delivers a sub-lethal dose of venom but still accounts for a large number of deaths and illness. Its venom causes local tissue death and causes hemorrhaging throughout the body. This particular snake, although very small, kept this lady in the hospital for 3 days. She was cutting sugar when the snake bit her hand.

The second most common snake bite we treat here is caused by the 'Oro Palito'. It is a small green tree snake that often bites its victims as they reach up into tree branches or cut down bananas. Its venom is not as potent as that caused by the Equis and is delivered in smaller amounts. The least common bite is caused by the Bushmaster (Lachesis muta). It is the least common snakebite because it is usually found much deeper in the jungle, and most when bitten just don't make it to a place to get help. It is the largest venomous snake in the Americas and can reach 12 ft in length! It often delivers a lethal dose of venom and more than half of victims die even if given proper antivenin.

Antivenin has been scarce in this region and the last batch that we had was actually purchased by a missionary who flew to Brazil to get it. Antivenin is now being produced in Ecuador but its quality is still in question. Please pray that we may find what we need and within the time frame needed. Please also pray for His protection over His workers here.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Smoking and Sputtering

While driving home from Quito a few weeks ago, we saw such an amazing site. The Tungurahua volcano was puffing out smoke like we had never seen before. The white clouds to the left side are clouds, but the gray "clouds" in the center just above the opening and then further up is smoke rising up.

Friday, March 5, 2010

40 Days of Praise Challenge

Ok, so right off I have to say that this is a very different post for me. I don't normally put forth challenges to you guys, because, well..... I think blogging in and of itself is narcissistic enough without challenging those of you who are nice enough to read (and comment on) our ramblings. But this is really a challenge to myself so I thought I would just put it out there for anyone who is interested....
OK, so enough of that on to the point. Right after Christmas I was talking to my friend Lena who is serving in Uganda right now. She arrived in Uganda a few weeks after we got here so we have shared lots of "learning to cope" stories. Lena and I were both going through a rather rough patch and were commiserating about how almost everything made us mad, sad or angry- Oh yeah I forgot to warn you this is also a VERY honest post- Anyway, Lena had a great idea to spend the next few months just praising God. She was going to keep a calender and everyday write down praises- no complaints, no irritations, no pet peeves, just praises. I told her that was a wonderful idea and that I should join her.... Well, I guess the phrase, "better late than never" fits here. Yes, it is the beginning of March and I am just beginning this process, but I have a plan, and everyone know that when you have a plan- well..... you are less likely to fail miserably or procrastinate profusely, so here I go.
For the next 40 days I will write down in a journal only praises- praising God for who he is, that he actually wants to know me, that he is willing to use ME!, etc. And heres the kicker: I am posting this on the blog so everyone can help keep me accountable. I even made my own journal, because anyone who knows me well, knows that nothing motivates me better than a good craft project. If you would like to join me in my 40 Days of Praise, let me know. I'll even make you a journal if you would like :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sightseeing in Quito

While Patrick and Sarah were here visiting we visited the Teleferico to see the entire city and the Sun Museum at Mitad del Mundo. You wouldn't believe how many pictures I took in just one day. It was so beautiful!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Never Underestimate a Good Grocery Store

The next time you are standing in the grocery store buying chicken or sitting in your car in the drive thru at Bush's I want you just take a moment and think about it- and then order me a large half sweet tea/half lemonade. Ok, so I went to the meat market (the only one with refrigeration) today for the 3rd time in less than a week to try to get chicken breasts. They have been out and told me to come back "tomorrow" now 3 times and I hope that "tomorrow's tomorrow" actually works because the family is getting really tired of eating ground beef! I did however get the girl to write down the order today.... so..... maybe tomorrow is our day! The silver-lining to all of this is that now we have a car, so I have gotten to drive there and haven't had to walk- which is a huge blessing.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Working visitors

From time to time we are blessed to receive special visitors who decide they would like to spend more of their time working in the hospital than sight seeing. Some come once and never return while others have become recurring faces, appearing yearly from anywhere from 2 weeks to 4 months. Many come to offer their specialty skills as in Dr Jeremy Zebroski while others come to offer us some respite from frequent call as in Dr John Doerfer.

Dr Zebroski is an orthopedic surgeon from Wyoming who made his first trip to Ecuador this year. He was able to offer his special skills to patients who would otherwise have had to wait because one of our surgeons is out for a while. One particularly delicate procedure included repairing a severe machete injury to the hand of a 4 year old girl from the jungle which also included the repair of two of her broken hand bones. Dr Zebroski intends to return this time next year along with his wife and two young children. Please pray that the Lord may bless his work in the US and allow for his return here next year.

Dr John Doerfer, he is no stranger to Ecuador. Dr Doerfer was a missionary in Shell when the old hospital was in use in the 1970's and 1980's. After moving back to the States he has committed to return during the Christmas holidays and stays until the spring. He has a lot of wisdom to share with the medical residents and is an integral part of the hospital when he's here. He has an excellent bedside manner and is quick to share the Gospel with patients. Please pray that the Lord will continue to bless his footsteps and give him the strength to return for many more years.

There are many more that we'll see as the year continues. This summer we will get to see Drs Mike and Karol Hardin again as well. It was Mike and Karol who lured us to Ecuador in 2007. It seems that once Shell gets into someone's blood it's hard to get away! Please pray for all of our working visitors as they sacrifice much in order to come to Shell. I've only mentioned the physicians but there are many from other professions that come as well.