The Las Mercedes Raffle!

Buy a raffle ticket. Raise a health center. Make a lasting difference in Las Mercedes.

April 11th, 2012 — Written by Sarah Edwards (aka Sarita)

Ever imagine having the chance to win a live bull? With our latest fundraiser for the health center we offered just that! A few months back we launched a fundraiser with the health promoters to raise funds in order to complete the health center. The Mayor of Huaquillas generously donated a bull to the cause, so for the purchase of a $1 raffle ticket, you had the opportunity to win the bull!

The raffle ticket.

For the last two months, the health promoters have been hard at work selling tickets in the community.  I went down in early February to meet with them and to help strategize their selling efforts. The student interns for Las Mercedes Project and others also raised support for the cause back home, thank you to all of our US supporters who also purchased a raffle ticket! Hard work was paying off as the big raffle day approached.

The Health Promoters along with Ms. Las Mercedes selling tickets in the central park of Huaquillas.

On March 25th the raffle drawing was set to be held at 3pm in the central park of Huaquillas. The health promoters met on Saturday to organize their last selling effort, a marathon all day Sunday in the central park. The local government offered us a sound system and DJ for the event and the Geovanny Ramos, Dana’s close friend and a lawyer in City Hall, was present all day to oversee the drawing.

The Health Promoters, Geovanny and Sarah

 On the morning of the big event, we had a rough start and I was receiving panic calls from the health promoters.  The electricity had gone out!  They were in the central park at 8am ready to start the raffle marathon and there was no sound system or electricity. We came to the consensus that the event must go on with or without electricity, and that we’ll have to cross our fingers and hope that by the 3pm raffle drawing the electricity would return.  I was extremely impressed by how punctual and professional the health promoters were in the event. They reorganized their selling plan and decided to break up into groups of three to sell around the market and downtown area until there was a way to set up a sound system in the central park. Other community members, including the Ms. Las Mercedes (La Reina de Las Mercedes), came out to support the cause. When I arrived later that morning, the electricity had come back and they were able to set up the sound system. The health promoters took turns talking about the project and the raffle using the microphone.

Health Promoter Carmen Sanchez talking to the people about the importance of supporting the raffle.

At 3pm the big moment finally arrived, the drawing of the winning raffle ticket. The rules go as following: the first 9 names drawn are eliminated; the 10th name drawn is the winner. The winner was then notified by a phone call, and if the winner did not arrive within 15 minutes to show their ticket then we continued drawing for a second winner.  The first official winner was an assistant on the local CIFA bus. Soon after we called the winner, his family arrived at the event with the winning ticket. They were extremely excited to have won the bull!

By the end of the event, we had raised just over $1,200 putting us one step closer to completing the health center in June!   Dana will be heading to Ecuador on May 11th to carry out the final phase of the construction process to include adding an enclosure to keep out those pesky goats.  If you are able to help us reach our goal to insure completion of the health center in June, please visit our website at www.lasmercedesproject.org.  No donation is too small!  Thank you for your continued support with the project!

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The Las Mercedes Project Intern Team!

Sunday, March 18th, 2012 (Written by Melissa Sena)

Aloha, supporters!

As many of you already know, Dana is now an assistant professor of sociology at Hawai’i Pacific University.  For the spring semester, he set up a special practicum course to involve students in the project in order to help us gain first hand training and participation on what goes into working in a non-profit organization that assists in building communities from the ground level.  While lectures assist us in understanding the academic aspects of these social problems, it doesn’t provide any practical instruction or direction to personally partake in the change necessary to create social change.  This internship helps to integrate course material with real life experience to better prepare us for excelling in our future fields once we walk across the graduation stage. We are all extremely proud to be a part of this worthy project and we are all hoping to make the trek down to Huaquillas and volunteer at the medical center.

The first ever:  “Las Mercedes Project Intern Team”

From left to right: Matt, Dana, Melissa, and Jairon

Melissa

My name is Melissa and I am currently a junior majoring in sociology at HPU. My part in the class is focusing on promoting the project to the student body by participating in the various activities we have planned for the remainder of the school year (and also serving as the author of this blog update!) I wanted to be a part of the Las Mercedes Project because of my recent venture to Cambodia, where I volunteered as an English teacher and mentor at the Palm Tree School and Orphanage. Meeting those kids changed my life forever, and I realized that my life path needed to focus on providing aid of those who need it the most. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Dana Rasch and further the Las Mercedes Project, which is changing the lives of so many people that reside in the community.

Matthew

Matthew is currently a senior majoring in psychology at HPU. He is focusing on the social aspects of club development of the Las Mercedes Project and provides vital contributions in ways of brainstorming new means of promoting the project and providing access to a large percentage of the student body within his social network. He decided to become involved with the project because “I wanted to be able to make a difference in the world, even my actions only influence a single person. I also want to be able to inspire and motivate others to do the same”.

Jairon is a senior majoring in Social Science, and he wrote:

“There is a lot to say about the project, all the participants have worked hard to accomplish the necessary tasks that are required to maintain the organization moving. It has been a learning experience for all of us, especially for me; I have realized that there are good people that are willing to give all they can to make this world a better place. Thank you!  That is the best way to explain my gratitude towards all of the participants that have gone beyond their limits to accomplish our goals. As an Ecuadorian, I am very thankful, I understand that this project is more than a practicum class required for my graduation, rather this is my responsibility as an Ecuadorian and as a son who understand the limitation on health care that many children of Las Mercedes experience. Whether is presenting our project to others, organizing fund raisers, updating our website, or simply getting together with the team to come up with new ideas, there is no doubt that we all are doing our very best and will never let down those who believe on us.”

From left to right: Tania, Gabrielle, and Dana

Tania

Tania is a freshman currently working for her bachelor’s degrees in Science and Nursing. She is a mother to three beautiful children, and her background includes twenty-one years of serving in the medical field. When asked about her reasoning for being involved with Las Mercedes project, she explained:

“My calling in life is to help others, and when Dana showed me the video of Las Mercedes in class, it got me motivated to maybe one day going there and helping the project.  My main focus in the class is to see that we get at least five grants to complete the project.”

Gabrielle

Gabrielle is serving as a junior majoring in Sociology with a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies. She is partnered with Tania and focuses mostly on formatting and completing grant applications to develop crucial grant writing skills. She decided to get involved with the Las Mercedes project because “I have a passion for social justice and aspire to found my own nonprofit organization in the future. I hope to create a nonprofit that caters to underprivileged youth and children in inner city areas. Working with the Las Mercedes Project has given me a taste of what the nonprofit field is like. In a perfect world, every human being would have access to equal opportunities to succeed but the reality is that such a world does not exist. I support any effort that attempts to change our world for the better and I feel that the Las Mercedes Project does just that”.

Our events:

The students created a project video that they played for the audience prior to the documentary they showed for the project movie night.

HPU Viewpoints

On March 2, our group hosted the HPU Viewpoints Series on campus where we screened “Salud!” a documentary describing the progressive medical movement in Latin America. Before showing the documentary, Jairon played a short video that the team created about the health promoters in Las Mercedes (Click here to view the video).  We also talked about upcoming plans for how we plan to personally involve the student body with the project and passed out Ecuadorian bracelets for the audience members to wear in support of Las Mercedes. After the movie ended, Jairon led a discussion about how the medical system could be changed in order to benefit people the most. Overall, the night went off without a hitch, and the crowd was much larger than we had expected. The auditorium was filled to capacity, with some people even sitting on the floor to watch the presentation. The outcome and support we received from the audience cemented our dedication to the project, and we are all looking forward to seeing how well our other projects pan out.

The intern team presenting the project at the HPU Viewpoints Series.

Intercultural Day

We are planning include participating in Hawai’i Pacific University’s Intercultural Day, which showcases traditions and cultural aspects from countries from around the world. Our group will be representing Ecuador and dressing in traditional Ecuadorian attire; be ready for pictures of Dana all dressed up in a future post!

Unión Latina

We are also creating Unión Latina, a club at HPU promoting the project and including activities and programs focused around the Latin American culture, solidarity and social change. We are very excited to get HPU’s Latino population and other students interested in the project together and put them to work on helping to reach the goals of the project!

Hawaii Hispanic News

We are certainly making a name for the project in Hawaii already and recently a front page article was published in the Hawaii Hispanic News discussing the project and our involvement as students!  Click here to read the article. 

Thank you for reading, we will continue to keep you updated! Mahalo!

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The Health Ministry is on our side!

January 22nd, 2012

When my mom and I arrived in Huaquillas, it was clear that we weren’t going to be able to inaugurate the health center on December 21st, 2011 as planned.  Basically, when we arrived on December 15th the center still needed doors, windows, toilets and a few other major installations including an enclosure.  In addition, we realized that after paying for the windows, toilets and doors, we were running very short on funds!  But as we say in Ecuador, “There is always a solution (Siempre, hay una solución) so we all rallied together and came up with a two-pronged plan to raise the funds we need in order to finish the center. 

My friend Edward unloading the new glass windows for the health center.

First, the health promoters and I went to see if the Mayor could help out.  He wasn’t able to help directly but he did donate a bull from his farm!  The health promoters are now organizing a raffle and they are selling 2,000 tickets for $1 each.  The bull is valued at around $600 so we are hoping a local family can win it (the average family income is only $200 a month).   In addition to the donated bull, the Mayor promised to provide us with free machinery, gravel and sand in order to complete the enclosure.  In a way, the collective effort to finish the health center has really brought the community closer together.  Ironically, it could be a blessing in disguise. 

The second part of the plan is to continue raising funds here in the U.S.  Thanks to a few generous donations including a $2,000 commitment from the Miami-Ecuadorian Chamber of Commerce, we are well on our way already!  If you are able to help out this year, please visit our website at www.lasmercedesproject.org/donatenow.php.  No amount is too small! 

Essentially, the plan is for me to return on May 12th in order to supervise the termination of the construction and in June we will inaugurate the health center.  In this respect, some great news that I am excited to relay is that the health ministry agreed to staff the health center with a general doctor and nurse.  Basically, 2012 brought our project a little luck as the entire health ministry leadership was replaced in the province and, in turn, the new directors are very supportive of our project and efforts in Las Mercedes.  In fact, on January 7th, the new provincial health director, Dr. Richard Chiriboga, visited the Las Mercedes health center and on the spot guaranteed to provide us support.  I think he was impressed to say the least! 

Here I am with Dr. Richard Chiriboga (the new provincial director of health) and Dr. Yolanda Garces (the new health director in Huaquillas)

On a fun note, I was able to spend New Year’s Eve in Las Mercedes and it was incredible.  We bought a large paper mache doll to burn at midnight.  Essentially, the tradition in Ecuador is to burn one of these dolls to symbolize the passing of the Old Year into the New Year.  In addition, the entire night everyone is dancing and having a good time.  I only lasted until 2am but most families stayed up ringing in the New Year until the sun rose.  Needless to say, I am already making plans to spend New Years in Ecuador again this year! 

Darla and her cousin with the spongebob paper mache doll that we burned on New Years Eve.

Well, I have included a few pictures below but I have also included a link to a photo album of pictures.  I hope you enjoy the pictures and thanks for all of your amazing support!  Click here to view more pictures!

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2011 – Wow!

It’s hard to believe that it’s now the year 2012.  Without a doubt, 2011 was an incredible year for our project and the community of Las Mercedes.  By working together, we have achieved more than I ever could have imagined.  Here are just a few of the highlights:

1.       In April, the Las Mercedes Health Promoters were recognized as official health promoters by the health ministry in an event hosted by the Mayor of Huaquillas.

2.       We raised over $30,000 for the health center.

3.       We executed a student program where students traveled to Ecuador and participated in number of community activities such as the application of the health survey.

4.       We completed the first ever community health survey in Las Mercedes.  In all, the health promoters carried out 247 interviews with families in the community.

5.       We received 501(c)(3) tax exempt status from the IRS.

6.       The Las Mercedes Project completed a special English course in agreement with the local government for more than 60 students and every Sunday from April-September, English classes were given in the community center in Las Mercedes.

And last but not least, the Las Mercedes Project health center that includes 4 consultation rooms, a pharmacy and a laboratory is near completion.  We have decided to delay the inauguration for the moment because it now appears that we will be integrated into the ministry of health in Ecuador.  This is a huge development!  With the ministry of health supporting our health center, we will have access to increased resources including doctors and medicine.  On Tuesday, January 3rd, I will be meeting with the health director in order to complete the necessary paperwork.  We are making every effort to insure all of the documents are in order to take advantage of this opportunity. We’ve not yet sealed the deal, but we are extremely optimistic about the ongoing negotiations.

We intend to complete the paperwork for the health ministry over the next couple of months and I will return in mid-May in order to oversee the final phase of construction.  We will inaugurate the health center in late May/early June.  Thank you for all of your support throughout 2011, what an amazing year it was!   We are hoping for your continued support in the coming year.  Please click here in order to visit our website and help us to continue creating a healthier and safer world for the kids of Las Mercedes.   No amount is too small!  As most of you already know, every penny that is donated is used for projects since we are a 100% volunteer-based organization.  Thank you!

At the end of January, I will be sure to share a complete picture retrospective of my most recent trip to Ecuador but for now here a few pictures of the health center and the community.  Happy 2012!

The toilets and sinks were installed -- 8 in all!

Little Darla helping the health promoters sweep the health center.

The night before mom left, Giovanny and his family invited us to dinner. We had a great time!

We did a "minga" (work party) in Eloy Alfaro to clean up the public areas and the kids had a blast!

On December 29th, we celebrated Kevin's 14th birthday. Kevin is the youngest son of Health Promoter Carmen Sánchez.

The kids of Las Mercedes during the community holiday party.

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In Solidarity…

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Eliminating infectious diseases in a community is not easy.  No single individual could possibly do it.  A community-wide effort is not only necessary but mandatory.  But to that effect, one has to ask, “What is a community?”  Without a doubt, our community – Las Mercedes — is defined by much more than just the lines on a map that tend to confine, constrict and in this case they certainly don’t capture our essence.   Our community knows no such bounds such as those found on a map.  We are Ecuadorians, Americans, Colombians, Spaniards, from the heartland of the U.S., mothers, uncles, retired executives, a mayor, farmers, professors, nurses, health promoters and some are even soccer fanatics.   We come from a variety of different backgrounds, races, ethnicities, professions, religions and even continents.  In fact, some of our community members have never even met and many don’t even speak the same language.  But despite all of those superficial differences, we have one important belief in common that brings us all together – a genuine love for humanity.  And by working in solidarity we have embarked on a journey that has already changed all of our lives forever.  Very soon we will begin to see the material outcomes of our collective efforts with the inauguration of the Las Mercedes Municipal Health Center and for the first time in history, children and families from Las Mercedes will have access to basic healthcare services.   Without a doubt — “In solidarity, all things are possible.” 

Certainly, this accomplishment is important and should be recognized along with being celebrated but it’s simply just the start.  Typhoid, malaria and dengue fever must be removed from our community forever and in order to make this happen we have to continue working together.  In the coming year, the Las Mercedes Project will continue supporting the tireless efforts of the health promoters in two specific ways.  First, we are going to execute the inaugural Medical Exchange Program in the summer of 2012 that allows for a free exchange of medical ideas, practices and techniques between our health promoters and a team of U.S. medical personnel.  Second, we will be purchasing and installing vital material and equipment for the health center that will be vital in helping to identify, prevent and treat infectious diseases.   In order to carry out these projects, we need to raise $20,000.  If you can help, please visit our website at www.LasMercedesProject.org/donatenow.php.  Any and every donation will move us closer to our goal and is greatly appreciated! 

As mentioned earlier, we are going to inaugurate the health center in December.  Our project engineer, Juan, recently emailed the following pictures in order to keep us updated on the progress of the contruction.  The health center looks great and everything is on track for December! 

The septic tank was recently completed. We must thank the Mayor of Huaquillas who helped our efforts by paying the workers for 2 extra weeks to finish up the job.

This is the laboratory. Looks good right?!

The inside color is "bone," which is an off-white basically. Everyone agreed that it would be more "soothing" to the patients.

Kevin and the neighborhood kids can't wait for the health center to open!

They did a great job painting the outside of the health center.

It's lookin' good!

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What a great trip!

October 4, 2011 (written by Marcia Rasch-Patton – Dana’s mom)

It was mother and son time again in Ecuador!  Dana flew to Guayaquil from Honolulu, a 25 hour/2 day plane trip and I arrived from Orlando.  Since I arrived prior to Dana, I spent time with Drs. Tripul and Pilco and it was Dr. Pilco’s 29th birthday so a dinner was in order and we had a great time connecting using the few Spanish words I know and Olga’s basic English skills!

At dinner with Dr. Olga and her friend, Susan Garcia Flor. Dr. Pilco had to leave due to an emergency at the hospital!

For this trip, we partnered with AmeriCares, a nonprofit that provides medicine and medical supplies around the world, and we brought 80 lbs. of over the counter medications.  I stuffed all this medication in my luggage and it was a bit stressful going through customs.  Not surprisingly, they pulled me aside, looked at the paperwork, counted every single box and took photos.  It was quite an experience!

When Dana arrived on Saturday, September 24th, we left immediately for Huaquillas with a ride from an Ecuadorian friend Edward, a civil engineer from Machala. Normal transportation can be somewhat hectic, so this was quite a luxury! We stopped in Machala and picked up our dear friend Tara Barrett, who works for World Teach. It was a long day but Edward drank a lot of coke in order to stay alert while driving!  At around 9pm, we arrived at the hotel and checked in and Dana started grading papers!    

I finally met George, the owners of Dana's favorite local gym.

Sunday morning we awoke to no electricity, in fact, the entire town was without power.  This is not an unusual experience in Huaquillas and power outages usually last about 4 hours or so.  At this point, we still hadn’t seen the health center and we were getting pretty anxious to say the least!  Early in the afternoon, Tara arrived from Machala and accompanied us to Las Mercedes for our first look at the health center in over a month.  When we first saw the new health center building we were so pleased and proud — It is so beautiful and big! There are 4 exam rooms each with their own restroom, the lobby and reception area, a laboratory, a pharmacy and a storage room (lots of doors we have to buy!).  I wish everyone that has supported this dream could have the opportunity to see the building, it is so wonderful.  As usual, there are a number of photos below for everyone!   

When we arrived, we didn't have any keys but Tara and Dana were anxious to see inside!

That same afternoon, the project engineer, Juan, and the foreman, Carlos, came to the health center and after an exchange of pleasantries and hugs, we got down to business. Apparently, we need a new septic tank and like Juan always says “there is always a solution.”  So, we are now digging our own septic tank to serve the health center.  This is a huge project in Ecuador, a 20ft x 12 ft hole had to be dug by heavy equipment and manpower.  Once the hole is dug it has to be filled with large bricks lowered 4 at a time to the bottom via a bucket to two men at the bottom standing in water with bare feet. It was very frightening for us watching it all go down, particularly when they were going and up and down the hole without a ladder (check out this short video)!   

From left to right: Carlos Bermeo (foreman), Dana, Juan (project engineer) and Pepe (Juan's brother)

On Monday morning, Sep 26th, we met with the Mayor, Juan and Geovanny, Dana’s close friend and our project lawyer in Ecuador.  Needless to say, several changes to the health center plan, including the septic tank, set the time schedule back for the inauguration just a little bit and we had to discuss how we were going to move forward.  Basically, we all agreed that it would be better for everyone if we inaugurated the health center in December.  Certainly, I didn’t disagree since this simply means another wonderful trip to Ecuador in December with Dana! 

The Mayor of Huaquillas is very supportive of our project!

Later that day, we met with a few of the health promoters to discuss the project and to ask what colors they wanted for the health center.  Basically, they said they were fine with any color that was different from the usual colors used by the local government.  Ha!  So, we went with Carlos, the project foreman, to pick out exterior and interior paint colors. He was very patient and took us all over town to look at various buildings.  In the end, we all agreed on a sunny yellow for the exterior with olive green accents and bone for the interior. These colors are very reflective of the country and our project – The health center will look like a ray of sunshine.

The Health Center will be yellow with a dark green trim at the bottom.

Later on Monday, we walked to our friend Marianna’s house and they were in the process of slaughtering a duck for a family celebration.  They were covered in duck feathers, even Odie the dog!  I was very happy to see that Mariana and her 4 children are going to receive a house from a government project called MIDUVI.  For two years she has participated in this program and completed all the requirements.  She works so hard as a single mother (her husband drowned about 7 years ago and she earns 6 dollars daily working in a restaurant) and it was refreshing to see her getting what her family deserves – a dignified living.  But even at that, much of the responsibility was on Mariana to prepare the land for the house and there was an enormous pile of dirt that she and her children had to shovel and level out for the foundation. She asked me if I wanted to help…we all laughed.

Mariana and her daughter Isabel.

Tuesday was a big day of bill paying; everything is done on a cash basis so I got to be part of “the bank” experience. At one point, we were walking around Huaquillas with about $6K in cash!  Later in the afternoon, we met with the health promoters at the community center.  Dana and I were shocked to see how much work they had completed in the last month since Dana left and they shared with us their detailed plan for the upcoming months.  This plan included a special “Bingo” game they had scheduled for last weekend in order to raise funds for the inauguration event.  When we let them know the inauguration was moved to December they were quite relieved!  They appreciated the extra time to carefully plan out this historic moment to insure that it is a night to remember.  Needless to say, they are really becoming self-sufficient and Dana and I were absolutely blown away!  At the end of the meeting, they invited us to a special lunch at the home of Candida, one of the health promoters. 

Dana and I with the health promoters.

The next day, lunch with the health promoters was a real treat. Like all mothers they cooked what they knew we liked (they made special ceviche for me) and it was a great experience to socialize with the families.  

The lunch with the health promoters was fantastic and we had a great time!

Every single day, we did a walk-through of the health center and this was one of our favorite moments every day.  We could see so much daily progress, particularly with the septic tank, and it was incredible.  I can’t wait to see the finished product in December; it is going to be absolutely beautiful! 

Our boy Nat and his new guitar that he bought in Huaquillas

Well, I could go on for days sharing with you all the wonderful and exciting experiences we had this trip. From the walk over the international bridge to Peru to having dinner with Nat and his new guitar, the list goes on forever. This has been another successful trip to Ecuador and I can’t wait to return in December for the Las Mercedes inauguration!!!

The laboratory has a great table that the workers built

The health center is really big!

The septic tank hole is kind of scary...at least for us it was.

The electrical wiring was installed while we were there

Dana and I in front of the health center with Carlos (foreman) and one of our favorite workers, Pacheco, who lives in Las Mercedes

The health center will be inaugurated in December and will look incredible!

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The Health Center is almost finished!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Being so far away from the project – Hawaii is about 2 travel days from Huaquillas – has been a bit difficult to say the least.  I have to admit that over the past couple of weeks I have been a little worried about the progress and future of our project.  But in the past few days all of those concerns were squashed and I can sleep well now!  Let me briefly explain…

Promotora Edith Torres presenting during the hygiene workshop

First off, an extremely important 2-day, 16 hour workshop was held last week that the health promoter organized along with Sarah, our organization secretary who now lives and works in Quito, and a national NGO in Ecuador called OIM –Organization of International Migration.  Overall, the workshop was a fantastic success!  In fact, I want to share with everyone the email sent by Sarah after the workshop was complete: 

The taller was a huge success!  There were 21 representatives, volunteers and health promoters.  I was so surprised with the turnout and how organized they are.  All the health promoters had their notebooks and they were taking notes of what materials they had, what they were going to do with them, etc.  Really impressive!

Promotoras Andrea Sanchez Vega and Martha Sanchez along with Community Representative Manuel Moran, who is playing the role of the "parasite," during the hygiene workshop.

Needless to say, we owe a huge thanks to Sarah, who traveled 16 hours on a bus (one way) from Quito to Huaquillas to help organize the event.   One of the main reasons the event was so successful was due to her terrific collaboration skills!  Here are some of the highlights of the workshop:

  • Participants learned about basic hygiene, such as washing their hands with soap and water during the critical moments of risk
  • There was a session on the severity of preventable diseases, such as diarrhea, parasites, and intestinal infections
  • The Health Promotoers prepared and practiced the delivery of workshops that they are going to replicate in the community, including ones for children 
  • Each participant earned a certificate in ¨16 academic hours in environmental and sanitary health for health promoters¨
  • Each participant received a kit that included a manual, bag, wash bin, pitcher, towels, bars of soap, and other material such as posters and coloring books for kids
  • The Health Promoters and representatives created a 1 month plan that included dates for replicating the workshops in their sector and they also planned an open house on hand washing for the international hand washing day – Oct 15.

I also was able to get in touch with Sra. Carmen, one of the Health Promoters, the other day and she was very happy with how the workshop went!  She also mentioned that the health center looks great (she lives across the street)! 

The Health Promoters with Sarah and Meaghan, the representative from OIM!

A few days ago, Juan, the project engineer, sent a bunch of photos and videos of the health center and they are very close to finishing up the building!  Everything looks really great — as you will see below (and if you want to see the short video (1:13), click here!).  The progress of the building has become crucial now since my mom and I are now traveling to Ecuador on September 24th instead of October 2nd.  Basically, my VISA for this year expires at the end of this month and this will be my final opportunity to travel there for the remainder of this calendar year.  Thankfully, here at Hawaii-Pacific the faculty and administration is very supportive of the project and they are helping me get everything in order for the last minute trip.  In particular, my officemate and colleague, Dan, is substituting in my introduction to sociology class!   

Well, this will be the last post until I return from Ecuador at the end of the month.  I hope everyone enjoys the pictures and the video!  The next post, I hope, will actually include a picture of a finished Health Center!  

In the bathrooms, the walls are tiled

The ceramic floor was started this week and should be finished soon!

 

The ceramic flooring was started this week and should be completed by Friday!

The bricks are a soon to be closet located in the main hallway of the Health Center.

With the roof in place the workers are now able to work in the shade! Well, for some of the day.

The Health Center roof is complete!

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