By Sarah Dugan: Public Health Intern, Summer 2014
As I approach the midway point of my internship, I find it difficult to believe how quickly the last few weeks have gone. We have concluded our initial survey of our first community, Santa Rita. We planned our first day to coincide with a community meeting so that the community president would be able to explain our project to his constituents. During the time allotted for us at the community meeting, we all briefly introduced ourselves (standing in front of over one hundred people and introducing myself in Kichwa was a bit of a surreal experience), and asked community members to draw two maps. One map was at the “micro” level, which includes the community of Santa Rita and its six neighborhoods. The other was at the “macro” level, which allows us to see the location of agriculture, livestock, logging, and other activities in relation to the main water source. We returned the next day to conduct surveys asking about water uses, habits, sanitation, and attitudes, as well as to take water samples from various sources. Overall, there was a lot of community participation and interest.
By Tina Wang: Public Health Intern Summer 2014
A lot of friends asked me, why I chose to come to Ecuador. To be honest, at first, I don’t know. I don’t have any clue of what Ecuador looks like on the map, what culture they have, or what I should expect. All I know is that the internship program really interests me and I’d like to continue my experience of doing public health practice in developing countries.
So with just a little bit knowledge of Spanish, and braveness, I came to Ecuador alone.
By Julia Kehoe: Forest Conservation & Watershed Management Intern Summer 2014
When I first applied and interviewed to intern with Runa back in November, I promised myself I would take the time to learn some Spanish before coming here in June. I took 3 years of French in high school, and three more semesters in college, but nevertheless, I still found myself too enthralled with Runa’s mission to care about the language barrier I would face. Despite my personal vow to start learning Spanish, I was, as happens, soon overcome with classes, work, and extracurriculars to commit to more than playing with the app “Duolingo” on my iPhone every now and then. Suffice it to say, I arrived in Ecuador, regrettably singing a resounding chorus of “No hablo español.”
By Eunhae Lee: Public Health Intern Summer 2014
From July 26-27, Anthony and I attended the 8th National Water Resources Forum (El Foro de los Recursos Hídricos) in Quito as representatives of Fundación Runa. As interns working on the new water/public health project, we have been working on developing and implementing needs assessment surveys in Kichwa communities around Archidona to see if there is a need and interest in establishing sustainable water purification systems in the communities and implementing sanitation workshops. By attending the forum, we were excited to learn more about the management of water systems in Ecuador and how we could apply to our project.
By Anthony Treas: Public Health Intern Summer 2014
We went into the town of Santa Rita early today to have the community members help us draw a map of their water sources and the different water access points.
Every month the community meets at the local outdoor basketball court to conduct a meeting to talk about local issues and to disseminate information.
We arrived in Santa Rita just before nine in the morning believing we would be arriving right on time. It turns out the meeting time was changed to 12 and the president of the community forgot to call us to tell us about the
By Sarah Carpenter: Summer Intern 2014
This week, I moved into my host family's home in San Pedro. I was very anxious and excited for the experience. When I arrived, I was immediately greeted by three puppies! Something I knew and was familiar with. I mean animals are the same everywhere, right? Shortly after, I walked up the short path to my new home. It was a small, one story home with a lot of foliage around. My mom was quiet but seemed excited that I had arrived. Lindsey and Raine confirmed some final details with my host mom and I, and then left. Then there I was standing at my new home for the next three weeks.
Zoe Lewis: Summer Intern 2014
Life in the volunteer house got comfortable very quickly! It's kind of like a cool floor in a dorm, with only nice people you like. The bunk beds make me feel like I'm at camp (I've never been, but I'm assuming nights are filled with too much chattering, giggling, and wiggling around trying to get comfortable). The tile floor gets dirty quickly with our muddy/sandy feet, the showers have one temperature: cold, and the demon flies eat up my ankles, but that all just seems like a part of home now.
By Eunhae Lee: Public Health Intern Summer 2014
Today was my first time ever using a real machete, and actually swinging it around in full speed and force. It was also my first time working in the chakra, which is a plot of land where the Kichwa people grow their crops, including guayusa, yucca, plantains, and cacao.
By Sarah Dugan: Public Health Intern Summer 2014
The time I have spent in Ecuador thus far could be described in many ways: exciting and inspiring as well as challenging. From experiencing a traditional guayusa ceremony to trekking to the Ecuadorian version of the “Gran Cañon,” my days are far from rote and predictable—something I appreciate in any workplace.
By Marcela Morales: Summer 2014 Intern
Every time I step out of my room in the Amazon, I always take a second to soak up the dichotomy of the imagery in front of me: My vision is many times blurred by the images engraved in my mind from life in the United States and those I see; I thus see two sceneries, not one.