Volunteer Abroad - Ecuador, Volunteer Abroad Programs

Working and Learning From My Hospital Family in Ecuador

by Armani Hawes, Greenheart Travel Volunteer in Ecuador

So, I have a new home and I never want to leave. I love Ecuador, its people, and its beautiful cities. I was talking to my host mom the other day about that and I said that it feels like I’ve been here for a year, not two months.

One thing that still surprises (and pleases) me is the weather here. Since we’re located right on the equator, I was expecting scorching hot days. But in reality, the weather usually ranges from high 60’s to low 70’s, and if it’s cloudy and there isn’t any sun, then it gets really cold. And since it’s been about 100 degrees in my state for the past week, I’ve been appreciating the weather here even more!

Transportation here is convenient, efficient, and cheap, ranging anywhere from 15 to 35 cents a ride. The only downside is the amount of people that will be crammed in there with you. It seems that there is no right hour to take the Trole (or some buses), because every time I have taken it, it’s packed with people. Just when you think there’s no more room, more people will shove their way into the train. On the plus side, though, you never have to worry about falling over on the train, because there is literally no space for you to fall!

My work at the hospital is going really well. Each day I continue to learn and see really interesting medicine. However, it can still be difficult to see some of the patients, and it never gets easy when I find out that one has died.

I am also learning more about the doctors and nurses I’m working with. They’re all so nice and just great people. It can also be funny because one doctor I work with knows a little English, so each day he and I teach each other new words and we are constantly learning from one another. They’re my small hospital family and every day I’m excited to be working with and learning from them.

As for exploring, I’ve been trying to go everywhere! Each weekend with my friends, I choose some destination and we hop on a bus! The buses can be a little crazy, and most of the time the only way to find out which bus to take is by asking people around you. This has always been one of the best parts of travelling on weekends, because everyone is so friendly and helpful and a very interesting conversation always follows.

This past weekend we went to Puerto Lopez and La Isla De La Plata (or the Poor Man’s Galapagos) where we saw whales, dolphins, sea turtles and blue footed boobies! I can’t believe two months have passed. Every day I think of how lucky I am to be here and have all of these experiences. One month left! I’m looking forward to taking advantage of everything Ecuador has to offer before I leave.

About Greenheart Travel

CCI Greenheart Travel is personally invested in providing cultural immersion programs that change lives, advance careers and create leaders. We achieve this by partnering with organizations and governments overseas that empower their local communities through experiential learning and practical development. We provide others with the same positive travel experiences in which we ourselves engage. Through travel and cultural exchange, we help individuals reach their full potential, leading to a more tolerant, peaceful and environmentally sustainable world.

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