On Friday, January 21st at 2:00 am, Josh and I officially arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador! We are so thrilled to be here after a year and a half of preparation. Thank you so much to everyone who supported us throughout this process!!!
We didn't waste any time getting down to business after we arrived. After a few hours of sleep, we got up and dressed and drove with our host Jone and our boss about an hour to the existing MMI permanent center in Milagro. We met the staff of the hospital and got a tour of the premises. Here are some pictures of the hospital:
Afterwards, we got some lunch and purchased a pre-payed cell phone so that we had a way to communicate with Jone. That evening we met again with the hospital staff and some members of the board of the hospital to discuss more details of our goals here in Ecuador. The meeting went very well and it was decided that we will spend most Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the hospital to learn everything we can about how it is run.
We spent all day on Saturday in meetings with our boss planning out where we will travel and when, and also when we will begin to assist and direct short-term projects here in Ecuador. The plan is for us to live here in Guayaquil for about 2 months to learn the workings of the hospital and to take care of getting our visa registered, our censo (ID card), our license, and a car. Then we will travel around Ecuador doing site reports on multiple cities that are possible locations for the new permanent center. Throughout the year we will also assist the current project directors with short-term projects until we learn the ropes and can direct our own projects. Needless to say it will be a VERY busy year! After the meetings, we all went downtown and had dinner before our boss had to leave to go to Bolivia.
Yesterday, we attended a beautiful church:
and we finally got a chance to unpack! It is nice to feel settled in here and to begin working. Today we have been working through some of the documents from our meetings the past few days, and we spent about 3 hours at the Subdireccion General de Extranjeria starting the process of getting our Visa registered. We didn't quite have all of the papers we needed, but now we think we have everything, and we are planning to return to the office tomorrow to finish up with this part.
The past few days have been hectic, overwhelming and stressful, but also so exciting! We know that God is with us and that brings us comfort and the confidence that we need to begin this enormous job. Please pray that we are able to obtain all of the paperwork that we need so that we can get our censo and license as quickly as possible. That way we can focus 100% on our work in the hospital. We will keep everyone posted on how it goes!
Love and God Bless,
Stephanie and Joshua