Day Seven: San Rafael

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South America » Ecuador » East » Tena
September 7th 2012
Published: September 20th 2012
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Today is our first day of clinic in Tena. Tena is much much much more rural than Quito. This trip is cool because we get to see an urban setting and a rural one. Every day in Tena we will have breakfast at 7am and dinner at 7pm. Needless to say, by 7pm I am ready for bed. We pack so much into one day but I like it that way. Three of the ten students are sick.. hoping I make it at least until we get home! Today was really great. We took two pick-up trucks out into the middle of the jungle.. okay we were already in the middle of the jungle.. so further into the jungle on gravel roads for about an hour. It was like off-roading; pretty fun actually. We got to see the jungle up close and personal. The community we went to, San Rafael, had small huts where the locals lived and a school. There was no electricity and very little running water. Our focus today was to go to the schools and talk to the kids. We gave them toothbrushes and toothpaste and taught them how to brush their teeth. Many of the children have never done so. We also put fluoride on their teeth (what kids get at the dentist here). It was sad to see that a lot of their teeth, even their ‘baby’ teeth were already decaying from the lack of fluoride in their water like we have here and from not brushing their teeth. They were so grateful for the toothbrushes and were eager to learn. We also gave them albendazole for the treatment of parasites (worms). Because the water they use to cook and clean is not ‘safe,’ parasites lay eggs in it and it ends up in their bellies and they get worms. This is also a problem because they don’t always use the bathroom in a location away from their water supply. You can tell many of the kids had worms because they had big protruding bellies. Needless to say, they weren’t liking us so much after the fluoride and albendazole because the fluoride tastes awful and the albendazole is like eating chalk. We got to interact and play with the kids. They were awesome. We also talked to them about the importance of washing their hands and the correct way to do it. After we visited all the classrooms, Cat, Marli and I headed to the community building where parents of the children gathered to see us. Many of them were young women and most of them had a small child or infant with them. I talked to them about how to stay healthy during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Since it is a few hours to the nearest doctor and many of them do not have cars, I talked to them about when it is important that they see a doctor during pregnancy; what is an emergency and what isn’t etc. Cat then talked to them about newborn care, how to care for the umbilical cord, and breastfeeding (which they are pros at.. many of them were breastfeeding during the presentation). Marli talked about how parasites spread and how to prevent them and Kara talked about kitchen sanitation. They were very receptive to the information. They also got toothbrushes and toothpaste and some got albendazole. Today was one of my favorite days!

PS: THERE ARE MONKEYS EVERYWHERE! and they will steal your things. They are so fun to watch!

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