Quito is so interesting. I love living here.

First, a status update:

We arrived safe and sound Wednesday night and got settled into our apartment. We have now adapted to the noise of the city and not being able to flush toilet paper.

Thursday, we ran a few errands, ate at an excellent breakfast nook that is owned by the friend of one of the people we are staying with, and then began learning about our work. First, we got lunch with David Krupa, one of the founders of ROMP, whose prosthetic clinic we will be working at Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. After this, we went to ROMP’s office and Diana, Operations Officer at ROMP, explained what tasks we’d be working on there on Tuesdays and Thursdays. After this, I got to work fixing a 3D printer.

On Friday, we worked in Prote├║s, Dave’s clinic. We had the opportunity to work with the lab tech there actually building prostheses and orthoses. I really look forward to doing more work in the clinic! At the end of the day, we got to interact with a patient who is about to climb K2 and needed some tune ups to his foot prostheses. His willpower and expertise with mountain climbing prove he is a really amazing guy!

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A knee-ankle-foot I helped build

Saturday, we took a bus to Mitad del Mundo, the equator (literally translated middle of the world). After this we explored the centro historico in Quito which is a beautiful and well-preserved historic center. At night we went out to watch the Ecuador vs. Brazil soccer game and celebrate my birthday. We met some other English speakers from Australia and the Netherlands. It was so fun to talk to them about what they’ve been doing in Quito and how it compares to where they’re from. I learned that the girls from the Netherlands go to university not far from the city of Steenwijk!

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El Centro Historico

Today, we went to an English speaking church in the morning, then went to Parque Metropolitano Guang├╝iltagua. The hike we went on was beautiful. This park is about twice the size of central park and overlooks Quito and the surrounding areas. We were on a quest to find a herd of llamas that wanders through the park but we were unsuccessful. After this, I went to Parque la Carolina, where I’m writing this post. It is so full of life!

Things I see:

  • paddle boats filled with families making their way around the canal
  • a woman in a wheelchair on oxygen watching the boaters and soaking up some sun
  • parents buying all sorts of food for their children from entrepreneurial street vendors
  • kids climbing on a “Quito” sign
  • people doing crazy bike tricks in a half-pipe for an audience of over a hundred people
  • three guys practicing their breakdancing
  • a couple doing two person yoga
  • tons of kids playing soccer

Things I hear:

  • paddling on the canal
  • a concert in a different area of the park
  • a screaming baby who just got wet in the canal
  • a yapping dog
  • various bird noises
  • bicycle bells
  • a guitar
  • people everywhere talking

This sensory overload has me pondering a phrase that seems to be the motto of Ecuador: “Ecuador ama la vida” or “Ecuador loves life.” From what I’ve seen, this is so true! There are people everywhere that are living and loving life. This afternoon in the park, no one is disengaged, everything is crazy and chaotic and joyful. I think we can learn something from this. I think that lots of times I confuse relaxing and laziness. We need time to relax, but that time need not be lazy. That time should be spent loving life! Here’s to mas amor por la vida!

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Parque la Carolina

 

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