I have just returned from my rotation to the Clinic and many changes have occurred since I was last there. In the clinic building, itself, murals now adorn the walls and a pediatric exam room has been established (thanks, volunteer painters). A rearrangement of machines make better use of our existing space, and with the mild climate, most of our plaster modifications are now done outside keeping the dust out of the building.The clinic is operating double-time, to serve patients and act as an educational center for the Third year Physical Therapy Students who are taking our prosthetics course through the University. It is a boon to have the students as their questions keep us all on our toes and their enthusiasm keeps our energy going.
David Krupa, CP from Quito demonstrates fabrication techniques to the students
Several other volunteers have now rotated through–teaching and collaborating with the existing staff and the students. I always felt that coming here was about “giving” but now I see how much it is about “receiving” since the constant collaboration amongst everyone is a learning and enriching experience for all. (Thank you Dave Krupa, CP; Waldo Esparza, CP; Sean Zeller, CPO and Jenni Zeller!)
Waldo Esparza, CPO from Florida adjusts Jostin's prosthesis
Some patients continue to travel 16+ hours or more to reach us as care remains so elusive in this Country with so few practitioners. We hope that our Course will ameliorate the situation. It is hardship indeed when a patient must travel so long sometimes just for a small prosthetic repair.
Patient’s we saw include a farmer arriving with an 11 year-old prosthesis that had its prosthetic foot held together with string; replacing that prosthesis allowed him to walk normally again. Then there is young Jostin who received a newer lighter prosthesis that will be more usable for him; and an 8 year old girl who with a walker and the addition of braces, walked upright and independently for the first time ever; and how about the 40 year-old polio patient who we fitted with a long leg brace and walk hands free after walking 38 years needing to use his arm and hand strength for leg stability. And of course, many more stories.
Sean Zeller CPO and Jenny Zeller enjoy Otavalo
All hard work for everyone: the volunteers, the staff, donors, our partners. Come join us in Ecuador, you’ll receive more than you give.
–Jennifer Lee, CPO