From Bad to Worse, but Thankful in Between

August 12, 2016

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!

Day 18:
What a rough start to the day. This morning, close to midnight, I was woken up to a 4.7 magnitude earthquake. This was my first earthquake experience ever in my life. It shook my bed hard enough that it woke me up. My host mom said that it was the worst one she has ever felt, luckily no one was hurt and it only lasted for a couple of seconds (which of course felt like a minute). After waking up again at 6am for work, I wasn't feeling great. My stomach, my head, just wasn't feeling right. I went to work, but instead of working I went to see the doctor I work with. Luckily, he's an internal medicines doctor. He examined me and said that it was more than likely something I ate. He gave me some medicine and sent me back home. He didn't want me working today, nor did I want to work. So, I spent the rest of the day in bed and trying to feel better.

Day 19:
Today I was feeling a little bit better so decided to get up and go to work. I finally had some sleep and was feeling better with the meds. On my way to work, unfortunately I was robbed. I was in the middle of getting onto the bus when people started pushing harder and harder. I took my hand off of my purse for a split second and someone grabbed my phone and wallet. The security guard in the bus station helped me try and find the person, but they escaped. He then brought me to the police station. Here I was able to contact my Dad via email and through friends who were able to call him.

After this police station, I headed to another one. I rode in the back of a cop car. I filed a police report for my stolen items. Unfortunately my insurance doesn't cover for any stolen items. This was a huge damper to my trip. But, as everyone has been reassuring me... at least it was just THINGS. They were replaceable things that I should not worry too much about.

Although all of these not so great things have been happening to me in these past couple of days, I must look on the bright side. I am thankful to work with such great staff who are more than willing to help me while I'm sick and are understanding of my conditions. I'm lucky to know that I have a host family that is concerned for me as well and are thankful that nothing happened to me. I'm thankful for the friends who helped me contact my father when I needed to talk to him at an eager time. Thank you to the organization and Jorge who picked me up from the police station to make sure I got back safely. I'm thankful and lucky that the robber only took items and did no harm to me. I'm thankful for the security and the police that assisted me in trying to find my items and make sure I got back safely. Thank you to the wonderful woman from Australia and my host mom who took me out to get ice cream after the incident to cheer me up. 

All in all, I have experienced different things that I wish I had not, but they have showed me that the world is not perfect. Out of all the nice people in the world, there are ones that only want to harm. The ones who are not the good, I pray for them that they understand the pain they may cause to others. I also feel bad for them that their only way of living is by taking what others work for. I thank that I am safe and am surrounded by more people who are here to help me than those who are here to hurt me. Hoping for a brighter future to come. Thank you to all who have helped me today and the past couple of days.

Still a little bit distraught, but still with love from Ecuador,
Mackenzie