Timmy Scholarships of different levels are awarded to multiple students each year. Star Leonard was able to travel to Guangaje, Ecuador with the help from generous donors who contribute to the Timmy Scholarship fund. Below, read Star’s reflection on her experience.
This January, the Indiana State University Timmy chapter travelled to Guangaje, Ecuador where we helped 452 patients. This trip was definitely a learning experience for everyone. There were many members who had never been on a Timmy trip, while the rest had never been to Guangaje.
Guangaje was a very rural area of Ecuador. Houses and communities were miles apart and the locals walked to the clinics each day in their best cloths. As students, we got a learning opportunity like no other. For myself, it was the first time scribing for a physician as well as doing any work involving pharmaceuticals. In addition to the clinic responsibilities we got to be a part of the community. Whether it was socializing with the locals, greeting the patients, or even just playing with the children we were placed in a completely different environment and learned more about the culture every day.
It was the last day that was by far the most memorable. I was working in vitals, and we had gotten everything done and cleaned up. While we were waiting on the rest of the crew to finish up, some of us went outside to play soccer or play with the smaller children. It didn’t take long before I and some of the younger girls of the community started drawing in the sand with sticks. We played hopscotch and drew simple silly figures. Eventually it turned into a lesson on languages. The girls would draw something and ask me to say it in English and then I would ask them what it was in Spanish and Quechua. We went back and forth, taking turns drawing and saying what the things were in our language. They would repeat the words in English back to me and get really excited when they got it right. Then I would say the words to them and they would mostly giggle because I said it wrong. It was something so simple but it allowed us to communicate despite the language barriers. It was this moment on the last day that I knew I had learned much more than I intended.
This service trip clearly taught me things that are medically related, such as how to take vitals and how many mL of acetaminophen to give a child, but it also taught me certain values of life. For instance, notice the little things. When I packed I thought to myself “bring these shoes because they are old and won’t get ruined” or “I wouldn’t mind getting that dirty”, but the locals walked miles up and down mountains in mud just to be seen. This trip was very humbling, and I hope I speak for more than just myself. It teaches more than just how to treat patients, it teaches us how to care for people.