I am glad that I took the early bus to Quito. The brigade was finished with our clinical duties and it was time to do the touristy events. First, the group went to the equator. It would seem stupid not to go to the equator while in Ecuador. There was a huge monument and a lot of shops. It was definitely meant for tourists. I got my picture on the line but later found out that the equator we went to was not the real equator. Oh well, I had fun there anyway.
After traveling to the equator in the Ciudad del Mundo the group went to the TeleferiQo on the north side of Quito. The TeleferiQo is a lift system that takes people up to an elevation of 4100 m (about 2.5 miles). This elevation gives a beautiful view of the city and also one of the volcano, Pichincha. I was surprised to see that the tickets for the ferry were $6.50 and $8.50 for adults who were foreigners.
After the TeleferiQo my bus met up with the others in the brigade who left later. The two buses met at an old church. Here we were again divided into two groups and led on a tour by two characters. One was an old lady, in black, while the other was led by the Devil. We saw multiple rooms of the church and of various parts of history. We saw the painting of the Ecuadorian Last Supper. I don't know if that was the real name, but the people were eating Cuy (guinea pig), drinking a local liquor, and eating products made of corn. We heard of priests who escaped the convent night after night to see women. We learned of how the priests lived and how they performed flagellation. After the church we saw the Plaza Grande and the plaza and church of San Francisco. It was nice having a tour guide to take us through Historic Quito.
We ended the evening by finally checking into our hotel. The rooms are very nice. We have warm water, nice beds, and fluffy pillows. I will definitely sleep well tonight. Many in the brigade left tonight for home. A few others and myself are remaining in Quito another day. It was sad to not be able to spend another day with them, but I'm sure they are ready to get home to their own beds and loved ones.
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.