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Day 2 -March 7, 2019

After 5 hours of sleep, I awoke to a new day and could hear some noises of the city, especially the barking dogs.  There are a lot of street dogs most everywhere you go in Ecuador.  They wander around and occasionally form a glee club to serenade all the sleeping people.  After getting up and around I packed my stuff for travel and then went out of my room to meet Loida.  She had prepared some delicious breakfast for me.  About 9 am Damarys came and Loida and I put our suitcases in the car and off we went to San Lorenzo.  The trip took most of the day.  The road through the Andes is not straight by any means.  There are multiple switchbacks and twists and turns.  The driver must remain alert constantly as oncoming traffic will pass on blind curves over double yellow lines so two lanes turn into three many times.  We stopped in Ibarra for lunch and then continued on to San Lorenzo arriving at the clinic about 4 pm.  

I always enjoy this trip because of the spectacular scenery that appears around every turn.  The mountains are lush with grass and vegetation.  The sun was shining most of the way making a feast for my eyes.  I tried to capture some of this beauty with my camera as we drove along.  I will put some of the best pictures on a separate page from this post so you can take in the beauty that God created here.

In all of my trips frequently Jane, who typically drives me from Quito to San Lorenzo and back, will suddenly shout, “Toucan!!” and I frantically look up to see what she is seeing but never have been able to see one.  Today, however, two Toucans flew across the road in front of us and I was able to actually see them.  It took 15 trips to finally see a Toucan in the wild.  

My main task after receiving hugs from everyone was to move into my room.  Now my stuff is unpacked and somewhat organized so I can be ready in the morning to work in the clinic.  Tomorrow Jane and I will evaluate patients she has asked to come in to examine and decide on whether surgery is needed and what type.  We will develop our surgery schedule for next week.  Jane already has some patients scheduled.

I have been able to text Phyllis at times today.  The cellular signals are much better now than they were and most every city or village we drove through had a signal.  I remember the sudden leap frog the city of San Lorenzo took when cellular service came her.  Before the phone was at a phone cabin and you stood in line and paid per minute to make a phone call.  Then suddenly everyone had a cell phone.  There was no transition to the rotary dial or touch tone phone that I remember.  As we drove through these small villages or even just by a single house along the road invariably I would see someone standing outside holding a smart phone and working on it.  This looked so different as the homes were so primitive and I was not sure there was even electricity.  But, cell phones were there, even smart phones.  Again, a leap frog jump into the 21st century for this place!

This trip I hope to keep in touch with Phyllis daily.  I am paying a premium to have and international plan for my phone but that gives me unlimited texting so I can communicate with her.  She told me today how much she enjoys hearing from me.  

Father, You protected us all through the day giving us safety on the road and keeping us alert as we drove along.  You provide for us in so many ways.  Your grace is more than sufficient; it is absolutely amazing.  Thank You, Father, for Your unfailing love.  Thank You for bringing me here to serve the people here, people You love, people You died for, Lord Jesus.  Father, I pray for a good night’s sleep tonight so I can be fresh and ready to help Jane in caring for the patients she is bringing in.  I pray for wisdom for us both as we evaluate them and make decisions regarding their care, decisions that are life-changing, possibly even life-saving.  Lord, You enable us to do this work and will empower us to complete the task.  Thank You for having confidence in us to serve Your people here in San Lorenzo.  Thank You, Father.  Amen.

For dinner we had some fried chicken, French fries and fresh watermelon and pineapple that was delicious and sweet.  Jane also served Babaco, a fruit grown in the mountains.  She blends it into an applesauce consistency and adds just a little sugar.  It was very good.


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