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!