The trip to Vilcabamba was longer than expected and included a plane ride to Loja and then a fairly long bus ride to our hotel.  We were a very large group with much equipment (including dentists’ chairs etc) and so some had to stand for this trip.  Linda Carried an ultrasound provided by UNITS USA and as usual and kept busy with that.  Craighton spent a lot of time with getting patients into seeing the doctors and working with the teen translators.

  The mission in Vilcabamba was in a community center.  The local politicians had decided they didn’t want our presence and so the local hospital was not very welcoming.  Linda received a few referrals and the surgical team was allowed to use the surgical suite after all of the local work was done.  The health care system is difficult to figure out.  There is technically free care and the physicians’ salaries are paid by the state, but the patient must purchase all the equipment (from screws, dressings, sutures to medications).  This prevents much care and the lack of availability of physicians limits it further.  GHO brings in all of its own supplies and medications and thus is a completely different service.

In Cuenca we were in a Church established clinic that had an OR and toilets and floors, what a treat.  There were no angry leaders and much appreciation.