In the summer of 2007 I did Semester at Sea and to say it was a life-changing experience would be an understatement. After 62 days of traveling to 8 different countries in Central and South America I knew that all I wanted to do from then on was travel, meet people, experience different cultures, and have adventures. I got back from my trip to Ecuador last night and it was a really great trip. It was fun to be back in Guayaquil, a city I really only was in for a day, and not much longer this time. When I first went there I thought it was a very dirty city with little to offer, but this second time I wish I had more time there to really explore. However, staying in a 5 star hotel this time around wasn't too shabby. But, that was where my trip ended, and it took a long time for it to begin!
At the second attempt at the airport to try and fly down to Ecuador, we were all told to go home, the trip was completely cancelled. Most of us left, a few stayed behind. At the urging of the plastic surgeon, a "mini-mission" was starting to take form. From our original 60+ group, about 25 remained at the airport and had the good luck to find open space on an Aerogal flight. On top of just finding a flight, we had ready 60 bins of medical equipment to bring down to the hospital. The group now had to go through the bins and select what they needed and put it into only enough bins so that each person could check one into luggage. This was Sunday night. On Monday night, about 8 of us drove once more to JFK and this time were able to take the next step by getting on a plane.
We left JFK at 12 am, landed in Guayaquil at 6 am (7 am their time), got in a bus and drove 2 hours to Salinas, a small city along the coast. From there we dropped our bags, ate some food, grabbed our scrubs and drove to the hospital. When we got to the hospital, people were everywhere. Ecuadorians were in the street, sitting on the floor, lining the hallways, taking up every bit of space in the hope that they would be able to have a surgery done. About 8 of us walked in to a round of applause. I almost started crying then and there but knew I had to get to work right away in order to earn that applause.