Todo Positivo

March 25, 2014

I arrived in Ecuador on May 6th and a lot has happened over the last couple of weeks including my first visit to the new Las Mercedes Health Center, which has been serving the local residents since February.  In addition to the health center, we started the summer project with Engineers without Border.  Our goal is to connect all the houses in Las Mercedes to the main sewage system lines.  Instead of writing a lot in this post, I decided to use pictures.


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The Las Mercedes Health Center is open Monday-Saturday. There are two family doctors, an obstetrician, a dentist and an orthodontist as well as several nurses and a pharmacist.

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One of the nurses assisting a patient.

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All medicine is free and provided by the national government. Free healthcare and medicine is a right guaranteed by the 2008 Ecuadorian Constitution.

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This little girl is not so happy about receiving a vaccination but in the long run it will be a good thing.

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Free condom machine…need I say more?


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This summer, we are completing a collaborative project with help from Engineers without Borders (EWB) in order to connect all the houses in Las Mercedes to the main sewage system.

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The student engineers from the University of Miami spent two weeks in Las Mercedes surveying houses. They surveyed 178 houses in only two weeks. There are about 200 houses remaining and our plan is to finish the project with local engineering students from the University of Machala.

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Our revolutionary engineer, Edward, helped the students get on their feet at the outset.

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The students broke off into 4 groups. I worked closely with group 2 — Jessica, Miguel and Michael. Jessica taught me how to survey including carrying out the calculations. Often times, we had to survey in very tight spaces including the back of this house. Enrique, one of the team’s mentors from Miami, is moving some clothes back so we can see the Philadelphia Rod (A big ruler).

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Group 1 — The three Musketeers as I called them: Joey, Ricardo and Josh. In this picture, a little boy wanted to do some surveying too so he was using an old pair of binoculars.

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The primary contribution of the local residents is the labor. They have to dig their own canals and make holes in the clean-outs for the piping to enter. In this photo, Maria (in her late 60’s) is pounding through a thick layer of cement with a pic and mallet. My hero.

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The local residents knew a lot about connecting the pipes. In this photo, the student engineers are learning how to connect a bathroom to the cleanout Las Mercedes style from the local residents.

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Team 1 (from left to right) — Jared, Francisco and Laurent.

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Team 4 — Michelle, Natasha and Raul.

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Just a cool picture.


The EWB team team with Marjorie (far left) and the Las Mercedes President, Jessica (next to Marjorie), during our trip to the remote island of San Gregorio.




About lasmercedesproject

The Las Mercedes Project is a grassroots organization with the aim of creating social justice in the field of health care in the city of Huaquillas, Ecuador through a democratic, inclusive and participatory community based health care program.
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