A final send off from the volunteering clinic
Trip Start Apr 21, 2013
32Trip End Jun 30, 2013
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As I was packing up, I also knew that I was going to miss the routine and the pace of the lifestyle in the rainforest of Ecuador. It had taken some getting used to at the beginning; everything just happens as and when it happens. There seemed to be a lot of sitting around and waiting and to start with I couldn't see the need for the doctors eagerly awaiting the patients, as there were no appointment times. However, in time I realised that this would be the only way that it would work, as people just turn up when they can, depending on the weather, the buses and what other chores they need to do. The pace of life in the area just ambles along slowly, and no one seems to be worried about time efficiency or other western ideas.
Even though I didn't think that I would miss the actual food (other than the weekly steamed fish), I thought I would miss the rituals of the meal times. Walking across to the kitchen area in the morning, to enjoy breakfast with the midwives, as the chickens peeked near our feet
The services available in the clinic were at a high standard and better than what I expected. Throughout the month I saw challenges that the midwives are facing and the new relationship with the ministry of health. Similar to most western practices there seems to be more emphasis on record keeping and statistics, which the midwives are struggling with, as some of them do not read or write and their practice has traditionally been “hands on”, rather than calculating dates and risk etc
Of course, the midwives, doctors and clinic workers thought I should have a send off to remember. I am now more accustomed to the “closing of the clinic, buying in of the beers and partying in the clinic experience”, which to start with seemed so surreal. As it was a special occasion we also shared pizza and ice-cream, and danced until midnight. Many of the partners, and family members came to wish me well and to have one last dance together as a big group. The midwives tried to teach me to dance in the traditional Kichwa way and we played drinking games from their different communities. It was a great way to finish my time in the clinic, as we danced and laughed the evening away. As I left I knew it was an experience that will stay with me for a long time, and I hope to follow the progress of the midwives and the clinic. We have shared contact information and they know that I would love to help them if I can. We have taught each other a lot, and I feel that I have shown them some ways to improve the care for the women, but the rich insight I have had into their lives and the warmth that they embraced me with throughout my stay was more than I could ever have hoped for.