Spring break- Amazon style

From Saturday, March 13- Saturday March 20, I threw in my lot with a group of students from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio to go on a medical mission to bring a health clinic and spiritual nourishment to pueblos in the Amazon region of Ecuador. The team also included American doctors and nurses, Ecuadorian priests and a number of English/Spanish translators. My role was to help translate health talks and religious talks and skits for people waiting to be seen at the clinic.The week was filled with rich experiences of generosity, culture, nature and community. My only connection with the group was that I had been in email contact with a Franciscan alum, Lily Hannon, who is currently living and working in an orphanage on the coast of Ecuador. She and her missionary partner Breanna, had planned to participate in the mission trip, and it so happened that the dates exactly aligned with my Spring break.

I wish I had time to detail all of the experiences I had, but with the limits of time and space I will recount a few highlights:

*Ferrying or taking long, thin boats back and forth across the river that separated our hotel from the towns where we brought the clinic
*Playing soccer, red light green light, red rover and duck duck goose for hours with hordes of barefoot, dirty, smiling children
*Sneaking off with some of the kids to see the river in a hollowed out log-boat only to fall in the river five feet from shore
*Getting a tour of the jungle and eating cacao, papaya, an orange avocado-like fruit, pods with fluffy melony-tasting chunks inside and hierba luisa- a grass used to make tea
*Speaking about and against alcoholism to a group of young men in a village; teaching groups of children how to pray the rosary; translating and acting out the Good Samaritan
*Handing out first aid kits and translating messages about basic hygiene- washing hands, brushing teeth, boiling water or setting it in the sun for six hours in a clear plastic jug
*Watching traditional village wedding dances and being pulled into one by a seven year old boy
*Sleeping on the concrete school-house floor under mosquito netting without mattress or blanket, listening to a monsoon roar outside
*Going to daily mass all week and relying on that grace to come up with religious talks, songs, skits and sharings in Spanish with almost no preparation
*Getting climbed on, incessantly poked and chased by kids like Carlos, Jefferson, Fernanda, Jimena, Jessica, Magda-Elena and Nixon, to name a few (not sure why-but a lot of the kids had very Western names)
*Going back to Quito and getting my nails done with one of the other missionaries for $2, then going with her to get her ear pierced, also for an obscenely low price

For those of you who just want to see it, here is a slideshow of the trip!



Filed under In-country travel

3 responses to “Spring break- Amazon style

  1. Carmen Horstmann

    I admire you so! You are doing many things that I thought of but never did. I’ve never been to the Oriente in Ecuador nor worked with the children in the many villages. The closest I ever did to your adventures was in small isolated villages in Spain. Keep it up, Kati.
    Love, Tia C

  2. Maria Elliott

    Quite a break from the everyday! As always, your experiences are so far from the life we NorteAmericanos live. You didn’t explicitly say so, but it sounded like your missionary trip was a great success.
    Love, Mamita

  3. Tracy

    Sounds like things are going well in Ecuador. It’s great that you spent your Spring Break in service and fellowship, and it seems like it really blessed you and them.

    Hoping that your internship continues to go well!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s