Our team arrived to the coast of Ecuador on the 21st of April, 2016, five days after an earthquake destroyed the region. We established a free medical clinic at the Sathya Sai School in Kilometro Ocho, a suburb eight kilometers from Bahia de Caraquez. For the first two months we saw patients in a classroom at the school, sending doctors, nurses, and volunteers into surrounding communities as staffing allowed. As Kilometro Ocho stabilized, we became a mobile clinic, attending in churches, community centers, parks, houses, even bus stops in nearly 20 communities within an hour of Bahia. Free medical attention in these marginalized communities helped us build the trust and access needed to broaden our scope of influence. For the past two years, we have continued to grow our relationships with 6 partner communities as we help them to rebuild, become healthier and more resilient.
Description: Originally an informal settlement, Bella Vista is a fishing community on a hillside looking out over the city and ocean below.
Estimated population: 400
Highlighted community member: Orlando, 50, has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years. In training to be one of our first community health workers, he brings leaderships and compassion to every brigade.
Description: Suburban shrimping and fishing community outside of Bahia
Estimated population: 750
Highlighted community member: Emanuel, 58, first came to the clinic with a stage IV wound on his backside. We debrided, irrigated, and repacked the wound every day for a month before it finally closed enough for his wife to take over. Daily blood glucose checks as part of the wound treatment helped us connect behaviors to outcomes and collaborate on a diet and lifestyle plan to create lasting health.
Description: Bahia’s veritable “ground zero” for the earthquake, Maria Auxiliadora is a hillside neighborhood adjacent to downtown. Nearly every house on the slope was destroyed in the earthquake, but a hundred families continue to live, work, and play in what’s left.
Estimated population: 500
Highlighted Community Member: Doña Carmen, 63, has uncontrolled diabetes, is included on our housecall insulin rounds. We have a long way to go together, but through her efforts and a steady supply of insulin we have been able to increase her mobility and decrease her reliance on family for the activities of daily living.
Description: Rural agricultural village twenty kilometers outside of Bahia
Estimated population: 150
Highlighted Community Member: Oscar, 5, is a brilliant, wild little guy that can’t help but find himself at the center of things. Orphaned by AIDS, he is being raised by this small community.
Description: High needs seniors meet at the center everyday to chat and eat a free lunch. As we have stabilized the chronic patients with equal doses of medication and education we have granted ourselves a lot more time to dance, sing, stretch, and meditate with these neglected community members.
Estimated population: 30
Highlighted Community Member: Don Luis, 88, is an inspiration to us all. He always comes to see us, but we have a lot more to learn from a healthy, happy 88 year old (that does pull-ups!) than he has to learn from us.