I have left the city of Cotacachi and have traveled further east. The brigade left at 8 this morning after our normal breakfast of bread and fruit. We spent most of the day on the bus. It is interesting how much the terrain changes as we descend down the mountain. I saw the land begin to dry into almost dessert with aloe plants and few grasses into a lush rain forest filled with many plants and water falls. Although the distance was not that great, the bus trip ended up taking us about 6 hours. On the bright side we were able to get a taste of home when we arrived at Santo Domingo; pizza.
Our hotel accommodations have changed since Rancho Santa Fe. The brigade is housed in a convent with nuns and a father. As I was warned prior, there is no warm water and the nuns actually turn off our water every night. Dinner was very simple. The nuns prepared us very simple dinner consisting of rice and boiled chicken. It is different staying in a convent as opposed to a hotel.
Jim Buscher, who will start at UK Medical School in August, is a two-time graduate of the College of Arts & Sciences with degrees in psychology (2009) and biology (2010). But before he enrolls in gross anatomy or makes his rotations in the hospital, Buscher has embarked on a journey to Ecuador as a volunteer with Shoulder to Shoulder Kentucky, an international organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in resource-limited communities.
Jim will spend time working in health clinics performing screenings and tackling the issues that confront the community’s wellbeing, but he also plans on doing more than dealing with health initiatives. Following the lead of Jacob Sither, a friend and student in UK’s College of Public Health, Jim will take part in distributing donated equipment to help develop a soccer program in the community, hoping to build a self-sustaining recreational program to supplement their efforts to improve general public health. The whole point of these enterprises, Jim says, is to improve the lives and families in the community by addressing health, education and economic issues.
Follow Jim's adventure in Ecuador through this blog. To learn more about Shoulder to Shoulder visit: http://www.shouldertoshoulderky.org/.