Today was completely and one-hundred percent eye-opening. It's hard to put into words. We started off the day as our normal routine of eating breakfast and then it all changed. We went to the local county hospital first. Thishospital is nothing like you've ever seen in the Unites States. They haven't gotten any medicine supply in four months. The nurses are so limited that each has about 30 patients and the parents have to sleep on the floor under the beds to take care of the kids. If someone is lucky enough not to be turned away, there's no air conditioning in the rooms (it's 86 degrees and humid ) and there are flies everywhere, with eight patients per room, and without even curtains to separate them. Nothing is that I know of is perfectly sterile and the equipment is extremely outdated. According to the doctor who gave us the tour and is involved with Hands for Humanity, the hospital directors are actually placed only because of politics and are usually not fit to run the hospitals, not to mention that they manipulate facts to portray a better healthcare system, so the internet will say that they have much more than they do. That's really just the beginning. It was heart wrenching and extremely difficult to comprehend or understand and especially difficult to look at.
door to a lab
no elevators, they wheel the patients up this ramp
an emergency/trauma room
After we left the hospital, we felt like we had learned a lot, while at the same time felt as if a weight had been placed on our hearts. We went back to the hotel and discussed what we had grasped from this experience. After lunch, we headed out to the orphanage for the first time. We had met only a handful of the kids when they came to our hotel to dance for us, but every child was welcoming and immediately ran up to hug us. It is run by a group of amazing nuns and one of the sisters showed us around. There are 30-40 children there; the rooms are separated by gender and age. The children were excited to play with us and someone in the group brought hot wheels cars for the boys, headbands for the girls, and chalk. Some of the girls used the chalk to decorate the sidewalks and building walls, while others used it to play hopscotch. When some of the volunteers and I got out our cameras, the kids were very excited to snatch them from us playfully and take many pictures, as well as look at the photos that we had taken. Throughout our visit some of the leaders of our group assessed what projects would be the best for us to undertake in the next few days. It was an amazing experience, and it was hard to leave.
the young girls
checking out the cameras
playing some hopscotch
We then went back to the hotel and recouped. Some went to their rooms, we went with a small group to a candy shop which was a few blocks away and had many different treats that we hadn’t ever seen or tasted before. Then it was almost dinner time, and we had decided to go to Montecristi, a neighboring town, to an authentic Italian restaurant. The food was thoroughly enjoyed by all and the setting was beautiful as it overlooked the city of Manta which we could see in the distance. It was a great bonding opportunity for the group as well as our first time fully together, considering there were some previous flight complications for our team members, Dewey and Kate. After dinner the medical and orphanage groups split to determine plans for tomorrow. Now it’s time for bed because some of us will be working early. Buenas noches!