Sunday, May 28, 2006

Tributes con't

Another tribute to the good mothers of the world, from my ever expanding collection.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Blue Footed Bobbies

Can you imagine what sort of creature has these funny looking feet? Even my artsy sister Ruthie would be proud to walk in these shoes. God, you're pretty darn creative! A picture from Ashley and my adventure at the Isla de La Plata, the poor mans Galapagos. Where the birds are charming and you can charm the director of the park.

Goodby Apunag

On a whirlwind goodby visit to the Chimborazo communities I fell in love with, I saw this lovely lady again. A little shy, but nonetheless gorgeous.

Volcan Tugurahua and Cotopaxi

Summiting Cotopaxi, the largest active volcano in the world with Dan, Kevin, Phillipe (ya'll are wonderful) and the nasty guides! Tungurahua was in the distance. My first moutain climb: now am officially an addict for more.

So driving past Baños last week we could see that Tugurahua was a little angry. Last time there was anything serious, in 1999, the entire town was evacuated of its then 20,000 residents.

Chapada dos Guimarâes

A beautiful 100meter waterfall in the center of south america (Brasil) surrounded by red cliffs of sedementary rock and deep green untouched valleys. Consider yourself (ok, myself) lucky to have been there and been guided by a local tough guy, Senhor Waldir Davene de Sousa, Jr and his sidekick Thiago.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Bono and Siomara?

I dont think I´ve ever had this much fun pulling teeth (actually filling in cavities). Dra. Siomara Gonçalvez Morales Ribeiro, my dentist, is the sister of my spunky Itajubanian mother, Sonja. They are obviously related. I think I might Bono here.

Hospital Escola, Itajuba

Wondering what life is like inside the hospital here? To the left you can my classmates (in ALL white) listening to the venerable godfather of OBGyn Dr. Aurelio Rocha. To the right the baren but sterile obstetrics/gynecology operating room. Order of the day is: rounds, class, OR, if I´m lucky.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Minas Gerais

A few views of the southern state of Minas Gerais, north of Sao Paulo, third largest city in the world! It is a beautiful, though almost completely deforrested sub-tropical region. To the west of us is the pantanal, the marsh jungle.

The Ribeiro Family (another one!)

So with my new family I do a lot of laughing.... namely about language, literature and love. These are my sisters here: Marina (R) is a dedicated 23yo geography student and discipled runner who loves outdoor adventures and solitude, Cinthia (L) is a 19yo hippie-loving, Australia-headed, social-butterfly with a big smile and even bigger heart. My sense of humor is evolving here.

Dance Dance Revolution

Well ok not quite. In case you did know, I´ve moved from Ecuador to Brasil and am currently doing an OBGyn rotation in Itajuba, Minas Gerais. A friend of mine is a professional dancer here and I asked to come along to see what it was all about. I found myself chatting enthusiastically with Keila afterwards, near midnight, as we walked down dark winding streets in the center of town. Here are some images of her world. Music and dance is poetry here.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Lunch Break Experiences

So when when three young women (including Ashley the Sociologist, Tannia the Ecologist, and Priscila the future-Gynecologist) arrived in Shanaycu, the community was very surprised: they were expecting a group of men, including my Bruce my Boss. They had killed a fatted calf in anticipation for our arrival. Needless to say we were obliged to stuff ourselves silly (so much that Ashely and Tannia got sick) and apologize profusely. Here is one of the chef's and the remnant of our lunch in the hot, smokey, windowless adobe kitchen.

Here's another tribute to good mothers and healthy babies. This is a kindly older lady and her almost-toddler, who also demanded a lunch break, though of a different type. Most mothers breast-feed until the age of 1.5-2yo.

Two older ladies taking a lunch break durring our 5 hour course on women's health in Shanaycu, Chimborazo. The evangelical church was responsible for making two full meals for the 50 women who participated, their many children, and spouses!

Macuma, more on women's health

Here is a 14yo student seeing, for the first time, an IUD (intrauterine device). I was given several IUDs (sterile but used!) from CEMOPLAF, the national org. on women's health and family planning, for use in our classes.

Here are some of the girls in my class reviewing the course materials as we passed around contraceptive information. Challenging to talk of family planning in a primarily Roman Catholic community, but with respect and facts, we broached the subject.

When making home visits in Macuma, a jungle town in the province of Morona Santiago, we meet more than just patients: can you see the monkey flying past?

Bus stop at la Pacifica

So over the last four months I've been traveling from community to community, "like a nomad" :) A little tiring, but moments like this are refreshing: consider this bus stop outside of la Pacifica, a lady on one side of the road, I on the other.

A proud father

When this gentleman, of Puruhuaypampa saw we were taking pictures (which we always bring back to the community and give to the families), he ran over to grab his young son. He is standing here in his growing field of peas with this son, oh so proud. What more to say? Dad, were you this proud of us, your four daughters? :)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Monday, February 06, 2006

"This was for me."

I was taken aside by this lady and quietly told, "I can't read, but when I saw the picture of this woman and child I knew it was a book for me. There are so many women here and in other communities who do not know what is theirs, what are their rights." I've put together this booklet on women's health and use it to teach.

Mi escuela mixta.

My community health class this week was highlighted by a nutricious "stone soup" and the chorus of men, women, and children shouting "Papanicolau!" when I asked what exam that could prevent cervical cancer.

Fields of gold.

Many years have past, since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
As you lie in fields of gold.

So it's not golden yet, but it is barley and it is beautiful.

Window into your world

In the Community of la Pacitfica, were I was this weekend with Ashley and Tannia, we walked around inviting the women to the health course later that day. It was a misty morning and the trail was well marked.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Cotopaxi's Glacier

"Cotopaxi is Ecuador's highest active volcano at 5897m, located in the Eastern Cordillera... It has an almost perfectly symmetrical cone, rising from a highland plain of 3800m and covered by a mighty glacier starting at a height of 5000m"... and here you are: a chunk of the glacier.

Cotopaxi National Park

Cotopaxi National park we weren't the only visitors. This is a roads leading through an old lava field. "The last big erruption of Cotopaxi was in 1877 and many scientist think that one is due again, given its historical hundred year cycle of eruptions."

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Faviola of Lupaxi Grande

Faviola is a 24 year old woman who likely has multiple sclerosis. Despite the many tragedies in her life (the onset of her disease two years ago, the death of her baby three months ago, abandonment by husband two months back, and her near complete immobility) she is a strong woman. I've visited her a couple of times and have met her mother (foreground), who is a dedicated caretaker, despite her many other responsibilities as a member of a subsistence farming family.
picture by Bonnie Chen

Señor Segundo

Hno. Segundo is the husband of my friend Maria. Here he is working on a poncho in a little room next to his house. He is the only gentleman in the area who makes these and buys wool from his neighbors to make the traditional garment.
picture by Bonnie Chen

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Women's Health Course: our first class!

Here are some of the women who participated in the Women's Health Course Bonnie and I taught in Apunag on December 16th. There were women of all ages and back grounds: single, married, young and old. Many are my friends!

Course Materials.

Bonnie and I with some of the course materials, which included supplementary booklets and laminated diagrams of reproductive organs so the mothers could go home and teach their daughters. Fun, eh? :)

Baby and the Uterus.

After explaining some principles and options of family planning, we made sure to explain the process of birth (uterus with IUD in the background)!

My mobile mural.

Mural of topics to be covered! This course emphasized the basics of a healthy pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, family planning, and domestic violence.

A moment of my life in Quebec

Am feeling very young, green, tree-hugger-hummanitarian-ish. Sitting here, having just come back from high school on public transportation, am eating my yummy granola (home-made in a tiny toaster oven), thinking about the pickled herring I have in my cupboard (wondering how i got to like sardines), and preparing to walk over to the to the Maison Paul-Triquet where I will chat with elderly retired miltery gentlemen in French, then afterwards to a prayer meeting at the University of Laval and dinner. My heart is aching for Chimborazo and I sometimes lie awake at night listening to Radio Canada and wonder why in the world I want to learn french... but then I remember that `cet ane sabatique` (a phrase immediately understood here in Canada) is in part about beauty and in part about practice. Beauty in the experiance, the language, the places. Practice in the hospital, the in Sierra teaching, and working on languages that I don`t know well and might be usefull for me later in life. I`m still thinking of going back home (currently Ecaudor) early (Yippee - Bonnie I may see you for more than a daY!). But I will miss the lovely dedicared Eglise Reforme de St. Marcand my dear spunky Familie Drouin!!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Back to School

So I`ve been going back to school again, high school that is, and my fellow classmates have finally realized I`m not 18 years-old anymore. In case you didn`t know, I`ve been in Quebec, Qc, Canada the last few weeks (there to learn French and help out in the life of a small reformed church), and things have been interesting. Yesterday, while I was supposed to be preparing a presentation on my work with HCJB and Ecuador for the spanish class, I accidentely triggered the school firealarm (by innocently toasting bread in the cafeteria). The ENTIRE school was forced to go out in the blistering MINUS15degreeCelcius weather (including the little kindergarten children and the elementary school kids in their gym shorts) and the firemen came in with hatchets. It was THE talk to the cafeteria ladies today (I helped out making gallons of noodles and buttering bread today in the cafeteria- and YES I wore a hairnet). Anyway, am heading back to Ecuador on Monday (yippppeeee!) and very glad to be `going back home.` My heart is there and I want to get back to work. Pray for my ticket issues, if you would, but thank the Lord for the opportunity to head back.

New Quebecois Family

From left to right: Alexander (the quiet gentleman), Genvieve (the gentle lady), Catherine (the vivacious teen), and Guillome (the quimsi winter-sports specialist).