Spirit Cultural Exchange offers individuals the opportunity to help with a variety of volunteer projects in Ecuador while immersing themselves in the local culture. Volunteer projects are available throughout the year for a minimum of one week and are offered in many different fields. We hope you enjoy reading the blogs of our summer 2016 scholarship winner Mackenzie H!
Goooooood morning. The last two days haven't been very eventful or busy, but I have learned a lot more at the clinic. Today was a new breakfast than the other days with grilled cheese. This morning my host mom made us pancakes and a side of pineapple. After chowing down my breakfast, I headed to the bus station to head to work. I worked in the laboratory again today. Another younger worker came into the lab and was a normal worker. She taught me a couple more things such as where things go, or which vile to draw blood is needed for each person. I wasn't able to do a ton of things today, but hopefully tomorrow. After my time at work today, I headed back to the school to wait for my friend Christine. While I was waiting, I played a card game called "Cuarenta." When Christine was done with her class, we took a taxi to the bottom of the Teleferico. The Teleferico is a cable car that goes up to the top of the nearby mountain. Once at the top, the views are gorgeous. We were able to see for a ways. Down at the bottom of the mountain, it was very warm and not very windy. Once we got to the top, it was COLD. And for being from Minnesota, I might have become accustomed to the Ecuadorian weather. It was windy. But, this mountain was pretty neat. There were mountain biking trails, horse riding, and llamas at the top waiting to take their pictures with us. We took our pictures at the top of the mountain with Quito in the background, and then we headed back to the school. The school was having a little get together for the volunteers with cake and snacks. It was pretty nice to be able to talk with the other volunteers. I met a couple from New Zealand who were very nice. Half of the volunteers here are from Germany. There is a retired couple who is here learning Spanish! The snacks were great, but I headed home to eat with the host family. I started talking to my host mom about the various Chicago and Germany magnets. I thought it was the perfect time to give her the magnet I got her. My host mom thought it was GREAT. It's a moose from Minnesota with springy legs. She loved it and couldn't stop laughing and hugging me. After dinner, I wrote in some journals and hit the hay.
Today was a great day! I ate breakfast and then headed to the clinic where I was a lot more busy today, even though the lab wasn't very busy. Today I prepared the viles with the necessary numbers according to the patients, put the needles on the adaptors, and brought the viles to the appropriate locations. An older lady that came in had dropped her bag on her foot which was bleeding. I cleaned that up while the nurse took her blood. I felt like I was helping more today than the other days. She was very appreciative. Today, I was also able to draw someones blood. Next week I will hopefully be able to do more too! I might even go to another department in the clinic. After I left from the clinic, I went home to eat lunch, write in my journals, and rest a little bit. Today was also my first time going to the Supermaxi which is the local grocery store. Afterwards, Christine wanted to go get a tattoo! So, I went with her because I wanted to see what it was like and to be support and company. The tattoo shop was very clean and sterile. More sterile than I thought it was going to be. They had new needles, sterile mats, gloves, and autoclaves. Twas' interesting indeed. After the tattoo adventure, I went back home where Matthias, the German student, was packing up to leave. He left which was a bummer we weren't able to get to know each other more. Darn, maybe I'll have to go to Germany to visit. Once he left we ate a delicious dinner consisting of an avocado, tuna, tomato, and bean salad with banana chips. It was a great day before a busy weekend. More to come on Monday about the busy weekend ahead. Thanks for reading!