(Plaza de San Francisco, Quito, Ecuador–photo by Tanner Latham)
Photographer Cary Jobe and I were in Ecuador for a week last year researching "The Common Language of Caring," a story that starts on page 74 in the February ’09 issue of Southern Living.
A medical mission team, comprised of many Southern doctors, nurses, medical techies, and volunteers, returns each February…
to a couple of hospitals in the city of Ambato. Medical Mission Ecuador was started 17 years ago by an Ecuadorian-born surgeon in Lexington, Kentucky, who decided to give back to his home community.
Cary and I shadowed them every step of the way–from the breakfast table to the operating rooms during surgery. We embedded ourselves, fully synching with their routines. We joined these men and women in a cultural immersion.
We discovered so many stories during our time there–more than we could ever tell in one magazine article. Over the next week, I’ll share several of those stories and Cary’s incredible photography on the blog.
We were complete tourists for a day after landing in Quito, haggling in the markets with cameras dangling around our necks. We hung out for a while in the Plaza de San Francisco (above), taking in the sights and the people.
(A Kichwa woman. The Kichwas are direct descendants of the Incas.–photo by Tanner Latham)
Once we boarded the bus bound for Ambato, however, our attitudes changed.
The mission had begun.