Words We like to Hear

Words We like to Hear
September 5, 2012 Callie Daniels-Howell

by Matt MacGregor

Perhaps the best part of my job is the few times a year that I get to see Timmy’s work up close. Visiting our programs in the developing world, and hearing first hand the stories of lives transformed, programmatic achievements, and the enthusiasm with which our partner organizations tackle countless challenges alongside the communities we support, is a poignant reminder of what all the long hours of fundraising, the speeches, and special events really mean in the end.

After my recent trip to Ecuador in July, I’m more convinced than ever that the incredible support of our donors, the contributions of Timmy’s volunteers, and the efforts of our student chapters are indeed helping to enhance, expand, and deepen Timmy’s impact on the ground.

But don’t take my word for it. Take the words I heard on the ground in Napo Province, the Amazon Basin, Tena, and Quito.

“What Makes Timmy Global Health Different…”

In a meeting with myself and Dr. Sergio Chacon, the Governor of Napo Province, Ecuador, the head of our government partner in the Amazon Basin said these words:

“Mr. Governor, I want to stress to you what makes Timmy Global Health different. They do what they promise. They support the communities consistently and they spend their time, money, and resources on patient follow up. It truly separates them from any of the other organizations working here.”

Don Ramiro, Patronato Provincial

Nothing is more pleasing when our own partners recognize Timmy’s efforts to enhance the quality of our service provision in rural areas. For the past year and a half, Timmy has worked closely with the regional government of Napo to ensure that our primary care medical clinics become a reliable entry point into the local healthcare system. After each clinic, dozens of patients are referred to Timmy’s partner hospital, Stadler Richter. It is our unique collaboration with the Napo government that ensures they receive the transportation, logistical assistance, and financial support they need to get the care they deserve. In fact, the regional government has been so supportive of Timmy’s model that they have proactively suggested making it the standard for any short-term medical team operating in the region. Hearing Don Ramiro’s unsolicited comments were a heartfelt validation of the model Timmy has spent the last 17 months developing in the Amazon Basin.

“Coming together to construct a better facility…” 

One of Timmy’s adopted communities, San Rafael, faces some of the most difficult logistical barriers to accessing quality healthcare in Ecuador. It is, quite literally, an island. Located miles down the Napo River—a tributary of the Amazon—it is accessible only via canoe. As such, San Rafael is largely cut off from the network of public clinics that dot parts of the Amazon Basin. Combined with our follow-up and trainings of community health workers, Timmy’s bi-monthly clinics have become such an important source of pride for the community that they are putting up their own resources and labor to construct a better facility. During a tour of San Rafael with one of Timmy’s Community Health workers, I was awed to hear that the community is building upon Timmy’s own efforts by coming together to enhance their infrastructure.  According to Aida:

“In fact, we are so excited about the medical care provided to the community that the entire community is coming together to help construct a better facility to host the Timmy medical teams that come to work here.”

Aida, Timmy Community Health promoter in San Rafael

“We see a bright future with Timmy…” 

One of our partner organizations, Tierra Nueva, is was where Timmy’s work in Ecuador began. And as Tierra Nueva has grown from the dream of its founder to a full-fledged foundation now operating one of the largest hospitals in Southern Quito—Timmy’s work with Tierra Nueva has grown as well. During a meeting I had with Tierra Nueva directors, Timmy re-affirmed its commitment to the organization, agreeing to send five primary care medical teams and two public health teams to support their community outreach in 2012-2013. We also pledged to donate nearly $25,000 in financial support for the Tierra Nueva patient solidarity fund, as well as $5,000 for a program focused on providing medical care to low-income elderly patients in South Quito. The encouraging words that Tierra Nueva’s Executive Director exchanged with Timmy’s founder and President, Dr. Chuck Dietzen, during that meeting were music to our ears:

“We see a bright future with Timmy. We hope that the next ten years are marked by the same exciting collaborations that have characterized the last decade. We’re thankful that Timmy continues to value our work.”

Margarita Elizondo, Executive Director of Tierra Nueva

“Working with Timmy was an amazing reminder of why I went into medicine in the first place” 

Timmy has always strived to provide future healthcare leaders with the opportunity to see, and dissect, firsthand the challenges faced by patients in the developing world. I had the pleasure of meeting with Matt Nolan during my trip to Ecuador as well. Matt is one of Timmy’s first long-term volunteers to work in Ecuador and was an incredible reminder of why our new long-term volunteer initiative is going to be such an integral part of the organization’s future. Through the process of volunteering with Timmy, Matt didn’t just learn—he also strengthened Timmy’s on the ground team, assisted with patient follow up, and set a high standard for the many long-term Timmy volunteers yet to come. And his own comments about that experience reflect just the type of learning experiences and values we hope to inspire in each of our volunteers:

“I couldn’t have dreamed up a better summer experience than working with Timmy–Fantastic medicine, inspirational people, space to improve my Spanish, and a beautiful country. Working with Timmy was an amazing reminder of why I went into medicine in the first place. It allowed for human interactions stripped of the distractions and bureaucracy that so often puts distance between patients and caregivers in the U.S.

It’s tempting to go abroad with the idea that you’ll be changing the lives of others–though you might to some degree. But I think at some point you realize that they have changed your life just as much, if not more.”

Matt Nolan, 2nd-year Med Student, Boston University

 

 

 

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