Week 5 Ecuador
This week has been incredibly busy and tiring. It started by two full days with 7 hours of Spanish class a day. Then starting Wednesday we went to the biggest hospital in Quito called Eugenio Espejo. This week we are shadowing a hematologist who specializes in leukemia patients. It was alarming and also sad to see so many young people with leukemia. It is interesting that even though I know there are just as many cancer patients in the US I have never been so exposed to them. It is such a difficult medical field and I truly admire the doctors who go into oncology.
Friday we left early in the morning for Otavalo a small city north of Quito. We went to the Jambi Juasi clinic. A clinic dedicated to preserving traditional indigenous medicine. It provides a space for Yatchas or shaman to give the locals the traditional spiritual attention they need.
Elizabeth and I were looking forward to the Couye cleaning. A spiritual and physical examine that involves the Yatcha woman to shake a Guinea pig violently around all parts of th indegenous persons body. Then she rubs the Guinea pig all over their body. The Guinea pig dies from a brain hemorrhage from all of the shaking. After a few minutes the Yatcha opens the Guinea pig and reads it. Often times the diagnosis is correct. Whether the person receives the news of parasites or a tumor. We did not get the opportunity to see this cleaning. However we did get to see the egg cleansing. A spiritual cleansing done with one or two eggs, two special medium sized rocks, one large rock, and oil.
The three different stages involve rubbing and chanting these things separately for a few minutes all over the body. The egg once completed is broken into a container and then observed. The the same procedure with the stones follow. We got to see this done to 3 small children ranging between 9 months and 18 months old. We also got to observe it done to an older man.
Elizabeth and I went on a huge walk in a quest to find La Cascada Peguche. It involved walking about 6 miles in total on the railroad out of Otavalo. We missed our turn and had to back track a lot but it was worth it in the end. So beautiful and also very rewarding.
Through this week I have learned a lot about acceptance and difference. The ability to negotiate with myself on how to connect and establish relationships. I have found that religiously accepting others, If not all of them some portion of them allows me to feel seen. I have learned a lot about other political perspectives some of which I agree with and others I do not. I am excited for this next week.