Buenos Noches MSPP, this is John Pratico blogging during our last night in Guayaquil, Ecuador. We have had an incredible, amazing experience that none of us will likely forget. Last night, we went out to a local restaurant with Carla and Kelly's host family and were given our last servings of ceviche, platanos fritos (fried plantain chips) and arroz con carne. All of the dishes were delicious, as well as the impromptu salsa dancing lessons that followed.
We spent our final clinical rotation at Fundacion VIHDA, which provides services and support to individuals living with HIV in Ecuador. In comparison to the other sites, the psychologists at Fundacion VIHDA focused on provided the MSPP students psychoeducation on the HIV epidemic in South America. It was interesting to learn about the cultural and religious factors that compound the spread of HIV. The VIHDA staff also brought us on a tour of a local maternity hospital, which is the second largest in all of South America. This hospital is responsible for the birth of approximately 100 infants daily, and has assisted in the birth of 1,500,000 children to date.
Last weekend we went to Banos, which located near Quito, Ecuador's capital city. As Kelly and Carla have already posted, we went rappelling down several of the area's notorious waterfalls. Understandably, our pictures do not do the experience justice, but we also got to enjoy the local thermal pools. Carla and I roused ourselves awake at 4:45 AM to gain an early admittance to the hot springs, only to discover a line of 100 tourists at the thermal pool. However, once we settled ourselves into the hot mineral water, we soon forgot our troubles, as well as our aches from the previous day's rappelling.
The hardest part of our departure has been the increasing number of good-byes to our new friends, families and colleagues. However, the impacts they have had on our lives will withstand time and distance.
Gracias a Ecuador por una buena experiencia! A mi me gustaría regresar en el futuro para sonreir otra vez con nuestros amigos.