My first task after landing in Quito was to find my hostel. I found a cab and gave him the address to Hostel Otavalo Huasi II – one of the many other buildings off of Santa Rosa Street in downtown Quito. Once I walked in, I could not help but look around at all the beautiful handcrafts and fabrics that overlaid the wall. Unfortunately, the pictures below only give a small glimpse of the ambiance of my new surroundings.
Since the hostel is located in downtown Quito, we were very close to many restaurants, bars, and discotecas. Every night the streets came to life and never died until early morning. Here are a few pictures of brigade members at a restaurant downtown before going out to dance!
But of course, we had to get down to business eventually! We left out of Quito on a tour bus to begin our new adventures at the Centro Médico Clinic in Santo Domingo. From various disciplines (medical professionals, students, and interpreters), everyone joined together to provide the best possible care to community members who don’t have efficient access to health care. We were not able to bring the most advance machines and we did not always have access to buildings that would best suit the work we had to do, but everyone thought on their toes and made things work. Creativity, sometimes, was key!
After 5 days of caring for the community, it was time to pack up and go back to Quito. Luckily, we were able to make a few stops on the way! We had the opportunity to visit the Tsáchila, an Ecuadorian tribe. They demonstrated how they make sugar cane juice, told us more about their history, and showed us how they dance.
We also went to La Ciudad Mitad del Mundo. We took pictures standing on “the Equator”, which allowed us to be in two different hemispheres simultaneously.
Quito truly felt like home by this point. I was so glad to be back! We walked around the familiar city a few more times and visited our favorite places. Then, before we knew it, it was time to fly back to the States. Even though the trip was short, Ecuador became home for me. For that reason, it was sad to leave that beautiful country; however, the connection that I still have with brigade members and the many pictures we took throughout the trip allow me to always keep a little piece of “home” with me.
Written and Photos by: Hillary McLean
Hillary is an Education Abroad Peer Ambassador. She participated in a Service Abroad program with Shoulder to Shoulder Global. She is studying Dietetics, and she is pre-med.