Sex, Drugs, and Public Health

November 4, 2017

Wrapping up Ecuador, part 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbmosher @ 3:11 am


We finished up work in Post-Anesthesia Unit (“Recuperación” is their official word for it) with patients both hard to awaken – – –



And patients radiating The Cool – – –




Our magnificent Logistics experts (Sandy and Yovi) ferreted out and purchased walking boots, a wheelchair, crutches, and a walker with money donated by generous U.S. friends. We taught people to use these devices (with varying success – the walker failed our 80 year-old with a fractured patella, thus the wheelchair). After a final rounding on the patients and arranging for follow-up, we did our own “recuperación” by exploring the city before descending again to Guayaquil.


To arrive at the Regional Hospital in Cuenca, we had taken a bus from Guayaquil (the country’s name warns you about such sea-level cities: Hot. Muggy). The bus had climbed us east, into the mountains and over an Andean pass at 13,500 from which vantage you can look down on the clouds.



Then you drop into a valley where the city of Cuenca sprawls at 8,200 feet.



The city has been conquered and colonized several times, morphing into the hybrid where we spent the week. Ten thousand years ago, it was the center of a hunting culture. Then agriculture developed, evolving a stable population center, peopled by a now extinct race.


The Quechua took it over and re-made it into an urban center with their stone work. It became “Tomebamba,” the northern hub and second largest city of their Inca Empire. Then the Spanish arrived and built their colonial churches and administrative buildings on the decaying bones of the Incas.


It subsequently grew into an Ecuadorian spa town with steaming baths fed by volcanic heat and with regional resources (like the hospital) for the farmers of the surrounding mountains.


Most recently, the city’s been invaded and colonized by 20,000 white-skinned English speakers grown too old and wealthy to work.


These are the parts of town where I felt most at home – – –






Blog at

%d bloggers like this: