10 months and 6 days ago Josh and I arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador to begin working towards the goal of finding a site for a new MMI Permanent Center. Far from being straightforward and basic, this task took us all over Ecuador and required that we investigate way more than just population statistics and pieces of land. We have been humbled by the work that we have done here and we feel confident with the information that we have presented to MMI regarding the potential new center. We know that ultimately, this decision is in the hands of the Lord and that we have fulfilled the job that we set out to do this year.
For the past 2 months, we have been working at the hospital here in Milagro, Ecuador and things are moving forward. Our priority from the beginning was to learn first and to act second. This hospital has been operating self-sufficiently since 2001 and, although there are areas that can be improved, we wanted to take the time to understand the processes and the culture of the hospital before charging ahead with changes. We have learned so much in the 2 months that we have spent in the hospital and we have a lot of ideas that we are anxious to implement in 2012. We will be sure to let all of you know how we are progressing!
During the past 2 months, we also worked on a week-long mission project in a coastal city called Daule. The team that came down was from Pennsylvania and they came to work! There were a total of 20 people on the team and we saw 1700 patients in just 1 week! Josh and I are so glad to have been able to help out with the Daule project and we are thrilled that we were able to get the hospital involved as well. One of the ophthalmic techs came with us and did general eye checks and also screened patients for cataracts and pterigions. Those patients who needed surgery were given the hospital's information and we are working to help them plan their surgeries.
Tomorrow, Josh and I leave for 2 weeks in the Dominican Republic - and not for a beach vacation! :) From Tuesday through Sunday we will be working in the MMI Permanent Center in Santo Domingo, and learning from the administration there. We have had several conversations with them and we are excited to get the opportunity to see how they operate and how we can improve Ecuador's MMI hospital in Milagro. In the second week of our time in the Dominican Republic, we will be attending the MMI Director's Conference in a city outside of Santiago. The conference will give us the chance to meet with MMI staff from all over the world and assess MMI as a whole and how it can improve.
We are so excited to come home and see everyone at Christmas - we miss you all so much! We are blessed by all that the Lord has done in our lives this year and we know that this is only the beginning of our work. We pray that everyone enjoys preparing for Christmas!
Here are some pictures from the September Sangolquí project:
Love and God Bless,
Stephanie and Joshua