It seems all too convenient that I decided to live with a wonderful family in Cuenca, Ecuador for a month this past summer to work on my poor grasp of the Spanish language. What’s that? Our partner organization is in Ecuador also? You got it! Instead of spending just a month in Ecuador, I called up my mom to change my flight home so I could stop by CEPAIPA to meet the lovely Dra. Alexandra and the wonderful students working alongside her. As I boarded the bus to La Libertad, I could not contain my excitement. I love GlobeMed so unbelievably much, and it felt surreal that in just a few hours I would be at CEPAIPA personally accepting one of Dra. Alexandra’s hugs she so consistently and virtually sent us over the last two years.
I arrived in La Libertad, checked into my hostel, Dra. Alexandra picked me up, and we were on our way! Driving up to the blue CEPAIPA mural I have seen a thousand times over in photos created a real sense of home. I was finally at CEPAIPA, the organization I have put so much effort, love, and care into. I was home. We walked through the school courtyard and Dra. Introduced me to many school administrators and staff, who each gave me a big hug and were very thankful for GlobeMed. We went on a tour of the large public school that houses CEPAIPA, and I was blown away by the loving students playing soccer (sorry, fútbol) and learning basic English phrases in class.
Dra. led me through a door on the bottom floor of the school, which was marked with a single white sheet of printer paper displaying the words: CEPAIPA and abierto (Spanish for “open”). Here I was. She opened the door to display a colorful mural and very basic assessment room consisting of a bed, screen, and small, poorly stocked medicine cabinet. We conversed about her plans for CEPAIPA and our role in helping to build a basic laboratory clinic where students that would otherwise be unable could be tested for HIV/AIDS and other problems such as anemia and parasites. We also spoke about the importance of health education and prevention, a topic that Dra. Alexandra has really taken to heart and dedicated a great deal of her life and time at CEPAIPA to. She showed me hand-made manuals containing activities for the children to plan their lives, to learn the importance of health, and to feel empowered. We met with dedicated student volunteers that couldn’t contain their love and excitement about CEPAIPA and their thanks to GlobeMed.
It’s people like Dra. Alexandra and the volunteers at CEPAIPA that are changing the future of global health and narrowing the gap in health inequities worldwide. To me the most important word is solidarity and I am so, so grateful for GlobeMed and our partnership with CEPAIPA.
Un abrazo por todos!