Who me? I’m with Timmy.

Written on 10/18/11 while I was in Quito, Ecuador:After two days of clinic here in Quito, I think our routine has been established. Wake up at 6:30am, shower, eat one piece of fresh crusty bread and one hard boiled egg for breakfast then off to clinic. in the evenings we have different cultural events scheduled to teach us more about Ecuador.

Last night, a little bit of the Schlitt family competitiveness surrounding card games made its appearance. Emily, an RN living in Ecuador who is our brigade coordinator, taught all 18 of us students how to play Cuarenta or forty, for the non-Spanish folk. Barely reminiscent of family pinochle games, Cuarenta was at the same time extremely intense and lighthearted when I we got the rules wrong. Spectacularly, my partner and I advanced to the finals in the brigade tournament but after our previous grand victories, our luck ran out and we were demolished. There will be a rematch…someway, somehow. [Edit: The rematch didn’t occur in Quito but will be arranged on campus this fall.] It is in my blood not to go down in a card game without a fight.

Earlier yesterday I worked as a translator for the vitals and laboratory station. I can’t remember how many times I explained la machine sue tomaría su presión de range. (blood pressure machine) While nervous at first because we were working with patients who could not speak a word of English, by the end of the day, the Spanish came more naturally to my lips. I even made a cameo translating for a doctor during a patient consult which was terrifyingly fantastic. Today I did not speak as much Spanish because I was working in the farmacía as a translator for the pharmacist and as a regular student worker. It was actually very useful because I learned a lot about different types of drugs and which names went with which illnesses. There were also long spans of time spent count in pills and sorting them into proper dosages. I think I can honestly say that I never want to count pills again! We spent enough time doing it that I will be counting dosages of 75 pills in my sleep!

This evening we went on a cultural adventure. Through a connection to Quito Eternál, an organization in Quito dedicated to preserving its historic center, we were able to snag a nighttime tour of the center of Quito. The art, the church façades, the guide’s costume, the sights and all the stories made La Ruta de las Leyendas, the Route of Legends, one of the best tours I have ever been on! The art was particularly interesting because it was much more raw and realistic than art in most European Catholic churches. From the donated hair to the pillar of skulls (from top to bottom: skull with: pope hat, crown, cowboy hat cardinal hat, bishop hat and no hat) the artistry was less restrained and really added to the experience.

This trip has been worth every cent thus far and I cannot wait to go to clinic tomorrow and help the people in this area by making a real difference in their health care!

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Travel Monkey Likes to Travel

I think I inherited the travel gene from my dad. In approximately twelve hours, I will be getting picked up to start my medical brigade in Quito, Ecuador for the week of fall break. Sponsored by the Timmy Foundation, I and about fourteen other students, two doctors, a PA, a pharmacist and a nurse will depart from the airport on our trip tomorrow morning to work in a clinic serving patients from around Quito.This will be my latest traveling adventure in my infamous unspoken and unacknowledged ‘continent contest’ with my dad. He has always been a world traveler because of meetings and clients galore. Because he works so hard, we as a family have been able to travel with him. I’m positive that I inherited the travel gene.

You see, Dad and I have been neck and neck in our continent contest and at long last, I am about to pull ahead. (The contest may or may not exist only in my head, fyi.) At this very moment, we are tied. We have both been to Asia (Dad- China and more, Me- India), Africa, Europe, and North America. Dad has visited South America in the past but has not been to Australia. I was lucky enough to go to Australia with People to People Student Ambassadors back in 2003 sans parents. Recap: we’re tied 5-5. Soon, I will be up to 6 continents! How blessed can one person be? How lucky am I to have a family that works so hard that I am able to do such amazing things?!

I cannot wait to go and serve the people of Quito in a medical setting. The chance to practice my medical Spanish combined with experiencing the culture of Ecuador is going to be fantastic. I am so proud of the Timmy Foundation’s mission and am glad to be a part of it. I hope everyone has safe travels this fall break and I’ll be back in a week! God bless!