Milagro! My home for 3 weeks! The city of pineapples and sugar cane. Located about 40 min outside of Guayaquil, Milagro is smaller but much louder, busier and dustier! We stayed in the city center in Hotel Don Juan, recommended by the hospital.
Real Piñas, on the way to the hospital!
The view from our hotel! The night we arrived, sirens sounding and people screaming I ran to this window to see what the commotion was. A shop below our hotel had somehow started on fire. People gathered and quickly the firefighters arrived and ran in with hoses. Once the area had been calmed, multiple news crews showed up. Quite the excitement for the first night.
Basically a constantly bustling city center. Loud honking taxis, tons of people, street vendors galor, bikes, motorcycles, cars and even horse drawn wagons!
Hotel Don Juan. Really a very nice place. Agua caliente, TV con cable, air conditioning, and Desayuno every morning.
Speaking of Desayuno, I needed to stock up at the local store to survive! I thought, I'll buy canned fruit for breakfast! That would be perfect, but...HOLY PEACHES!!! This country loves their Durazno. And no, there wasn't a canned pineapple in sight...or any other fruit for that matter :)
The hotel had a full kitchen right down the hall from our room. They were truly gracious hosts, and allowed us to use a portion of the fridge and dishes at our request. We survived, although it wasn't always 5 star dinning!
But hey. A coast town does have its advantages... fresh cangrejo!
After breakfast an MMI bus picked us up every weekday morning at 7:40 for the ride to the hospital. The hospital de las Piñas was located on the outskirts of town. The ride in every morning was always entertaining. Chickens, pigs, millions of stray dogs and little food stands peppered your view constantly.
Then we would get to work! Jon, Wislande (my savior-our ophthalmology technician!!) and I, ready to get busy!
In 2001 MMI opened the Centro Cristiano de Servicios Medicos-Milagro, headed by Dr. Rios. This program offers a 12 bed hospital which includes screening patients, operations and a training program which focuses on caring for the poor.
We typically screened patients in the morning. We'd go at a fairly quick pace, and with Wisland's help I could actually conduct and exam and interview. When we finished with patient's for the morning, the hospital provided a home cooked lunch in the guesthouse daily. Often in the afternoon we'd continue seeing patients still waiting. Sometimes we would travel to the local university to do vision screens on incoming freshman.
If we weren't in the clinic we were in the OR. Dr. Rios provides surgical services to patients from all over Ecuador. He also travels to the US to obtain corneas! We were lucky enough to be there for almost an entire week of cornea transplants. We also saw pteriogoid removal, cataract surgery, strabismus repair, and trauma...think injuries at banana plantations!!!
And then we were done, ready to get our travel on! Ecuador finishes with a recap of Cuenca and Ruta Del Sol...