To every patient we saw, we gave out vitamins, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. This meant counting out enough vitamins to last them for three months. The medicine is given out, for at most, three months supply. The patients are seen again in 6 months, and they have a mobile unit to receive refills at the three month mark in between. Counting out enough vitamins for three months for about 100 people is a ton of work, but with as many hands as we had, it went by fairly quickly. Counting and packaging vitamins was a nightly routine we did to help make the next day run smoother. Because we set up clinics in a community building in each neighborhood, every supply we needed had to be brought with us. This meant bringing in electrical cords, computers, medicine, tables, counting trays, thermometers, blood pressure machines, and many, many more supplies.
Today’s post is brought to you from my daughter, Nicole. All six of my kids do incredible things, and I am happy to have them share their stories with you. Thank you, Nicole, for sharing your experience with others.
This past May I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Quito, Ecuador through school. During the beginning of the school year, I joined a group called Timmy Global Health. The premise of the group is to work all year raising money and supplies to then travel to Ecuador. In Ecuador, we set up medical clinics in various underdeveloped communities surrounding Quito. The main mission of Timmy Global Health is to help provide and create sustainable health care in these areas.
Leading up to the trip, I was very excited! I didn’t know a whole lot about how the days would go, and what exactly I would be doing on the trip. We had doctors and pharmacist come along with us on this journey, and I was eager to learn from them and of the culture of Ecuador. It wasn’t until a couple days before the trip, when I was talking to my mom about leaving, that it hit me. I was traveling to another country by myself. Yes, I was going with a group of 18 students, but no one from my family. I had never done this before, and I know how lucky I am to be able to do this. There was a newly added nervousness now mixed in with this excitement.As I said goodbye to my family, who was heading to my sister’s graduation in Boston, I set off on my journey to Ecuador. First meeting up with the group in Denver, before jetting off on the amazing experience ahead of me!We were only in Ecuador for eight days, and it was a busy eight days at that!
Each clinic was set up with the same flow of stations: Registration, History, Vitals, Lab, Doctor, Pharmacy, and Fluoride. Each patient would move through the stations, only visiting the Lab if they needed any tests done. Fluoride was a station for just kids, where they could play games with us and get fluoride for their teeth. As you can see, there are six stations but only five days of clinics. This meant that I was assigned to work all the stations except History. My favorite station was Doctor. Since I am not a doctor, my job when assigned to that station was to be a scribe for the doctor. It was a very unique experience. I learned a ton of information about various diseases and sicknesses that I hadn’t known much about before. This station of course, was also very sad. Many of the patients came in with symptoms of easily treatable diseases in the United States, but for these people, getting the adequate medical attention and medicine was a constant struggle. They either didn’t have the resources to maintain the medicine, or didn’t have the resources to even see a doctor in the first place. Many of the communities we traveled to had unfinished houses that the people lived in, muddy – pot hole filled roads, and have just recently received stable access to electricity and a water supply. These communities are very poor; something I had never seen before. Being able to serve on this trip and help those in need was a very fulfilling opportunity.
Besides the busy five days of clinics, we did have some time to explore the area. One of my favorite things we did was travel to the Equator! I can now always say that I stood on both hemispheres of the world, or better yet – I did a handstand on both hemispheres of the world!
I have wanted to be a doctor for the past four years, and being able to travel to Ecuador to help those in need has only pushed me to pursue my dreams even more. I cannot wait to see what other incredible opportunities I can experience as an undergraduate, and what the future has in store for me! I just want to say a quick thank you to my grandma and parents, for providing me the ability to travel to Ecuador and learn all that I did! It is an experience that I will never forget.
Timmy Global Health Medical Volunteers
A view of the city, Quito, from standing in the Basilica.
To learn more about this nationwide non-profit, head to Timmy Global Health.