Led by nursing professors Patti Bowman and Lorinda Lindemulder ’86, students experienced the health care disparity between the urban and jungle settings in addition to the disparities between persons of South America and North America.
Students visited two mission hospitals operated by HCJB Global and provided health care instruction at local churches in oral and hand hygiene, wound care, blood pressure monitoring, and sprain treatment. They also distributed family care packs containing soap, first aid products, medications such as antihistamines, and small toys.
Autumn Boss ’12 of Lansing, Illinois, said they went with the expectation of distributing care packages and received much more in return. “I received so much from God through these people that it is unexplainable,” she said. “I truly experienced how amazing God’s love is from these people, who live in the jungle with not much of anything.”
Members of the group were especially moved by the children they served at the Casa de Fe orphanage in the jungle in Shell Mera, Ecuador. Established in 1937 but later abandoned by the Shell Oil Company, Shell Mera became the main base of operations for Mission Aviation Fellowship and missionaries Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, and others who were eventually killed by members of the Waodani tribe.
Many of the children in the orphanage have special needs or are children from multiple births, both of which are taboo among the indigenous population. Because of ancient beliefs, mothers are required to kill children who may appear unhealthy, so many abandon the children in communities where they will be cared for.
Students, now back on campus, hope to raise $1,000 to donate to the orphanage.