Friday, August 29, 2014

Summer interns in July

Sunset in Masaramu

For many, the month of July is a time to take a much needed break - fourth of July picnics, days on the lake, long afternoon naps, etc.  The list is long.  For us, it was an opportunity to visit a few more villages but this time with some of our summer interns.  By the end of the month we'd spend roughly 3 weeks in the jungle in ten different communities.  Joining us were two college students from the US, Hannah Borsheim from Minnesota and Trisha Carr from Chicago.  For both of them it was their first time to Ecuador and the first time into the jungle.  We'd prepared a pretty rigorous schedule so we were praying for two individuals that were flexible and eager to experience new things and were fine operating outside of their comfort zones.  Luckily, our prayers were answered.  Both did extremely well, even when both were sick in the jungle.

Hannah (L) and Trisha (R) getting to know the kids in Jandiayacu

The Caravan truck
Literally, within 24 hours of their arrival to Shell we were loading up to go on our first trip, this one to three communities that were accessible by road - Paparawa, Rayayacu and Pandanuque.  Since we were able to use the roads, we were also able to bring along a dentist and medical resident as well as the medical caravan truck which is a large mobile dental unit.  We ended up seeing over 100 patients and were able to provide care that many of them greatly needed.  What was also great was getting to know Hannah and Trisha better and getting to see how they'd do on the next phase of our trip.  They both adapted to sleeping in a tent without any complaints and also quickly started forming a close bond together that would see them thru the next few weeks.  God was good (as always) and brought us back safely and in good health.

For me it was a nice trip for 2 other major reasons - one, I was able to bring Bella with me and spend some time with her and two, I was reunited with a patient that I'd help care for in the hospital when he'd suffered a severe brain injury a few years back.

Bella in Pandanuque
One goal I'd set out to achieve at the beginning of the summer was to take each of the kids into the jungle with me but separately.  This would allow me to spend some quality time with each of them away from home (and also not have to deal with their fighting with one another, Hah!).  When given the choice, Bella wanted to go on the shorter trip (no surprise as she's not the jungle warrior that Sebastiao is).  She was a great help.  She became known as the queen of Phase 10 and helped Trisha and Hannah adjust to life in Ecuador.  She also proved to be a huge asset when we visited some of the smaller communities as she'd gather the kids together and have impromptu art classes.  In the community of Pandanuque she shared her crayons and markers with all of the kids present and held a contest for the best drawing.  The winner got some of Bella's cookies that she'd brought along.  As I examined patients near her she kept me in stitches and filled me with a great sense of pride.  Hopefully she'll remember this trip as fondly as I do.

Stymied by an overflowing Villano River causing a long delay

The Villano River when passable.
Visiting with Bruce and his family in Rayayacu last month.  Their story was detailed in our current newsletter.

Bruce, shortly after his surgery to remove the wood from his skull and brain from a fall from a tree in 2012.  You can see what was removed in the jar.

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