As we are already running through the middle of February, I want to reflect back to my time spent in Ecuador over the break. I know school is back in session, but I wouldn’t be the student I am now had it not been for an experience I encountered through being in the College of Health & Human Sciences, and better yet, being an Ambassador for the college!
During the fall semester, I heard about a medial mission trip opportunity from a fellow ambassador during an event we were both speaking at. He gave me information on traveling to Ecuador to help out in hospitals and orphanages and one application, an interview, and 2 months later, I found myself boarding a plane that was about to take me two continents over from where I call home.
I’m for certain I could write a book regarding the experiences, lessons, and memories formed while on our trip, but that’s not quite what I’m here to do today! What you need to know is that the trip shaped my life in a way no other event has had the capacity to do so. And had I not chosen to be a Boliermaker, I would have never had the opportunity to be an HHS Ambassador, nor been lead down the path to becoming a member of the Caduceus Club who I ventured to Ecuador with!
In an overview, our group of 14 served the city of Otavalo, Ecuador from the time we woke up, until the time we went to sleep everyday for a week! We worked in a hospital where we were able to scrub into surgeries and see live births. We visited two orphanages and presented the children with donated clothes, toys, and candy from our families back in the States. We played with the children at La Joya, a clinic for intellectually challenged children, who were more than excited to interact with us! Our trip up to the mountains was a day to never be forgotten in my mind, for seeing the look on the face of many who’d never seen Caucasian skin in their entire life. The food presented to us was their absolute best and they gave us enough that could have fed an army! Our group also got to visit a waterfall and the largest market in South America.
To say the least, we never missed a beat. And my heart has never quit beating to the rhythm it had down there. Nothing can compare to the hug you receive from a little girl who longs for the slightest bit of your attention, or the pure joy in the boy’s eyes that you just gave a McDonald’s beanie baby toy. The people of Ecuador don’t have a lot, but they have each other and their love for one another and where they call home. I wouldn’t trade my adventure down there for anything else in the world, and I can only hope I can go back, not only to touch more lives, but have my life touched again as well.
Calin Cochran, Junior, Pre-Physician’s Assistant