I (Alex) joined the medical team sent from Ecuador to India in January. The purpose of the trip was to encourage HCJB Global partners in India and research the possibilities of future work in the country. I thought I was going to investigate the need for water projects in the country, but when we got there I found that the area we were in had very good water supplies: one village had 15 water pumps installed by the government! The only real sanitary engineering I got to do was unplug the toilet! However, I was not bored or idle! While the doctors and nurses saw patients in the villages and ran the pharmacy, I taught hygiene classes to the people waiting in line and helped Dorothy entertain the children.
The evenings were packed with classes to the nurses school and playing with the children in the orphanage where we were staying. At the end of the trip we were able to do a little sight-seeing and visited the Taj Mahal and Jaiphur.
In the beginning I found it difficult and frustrating not being able to communicate with the people without a translator and having to be careful what I talk about as Jesus is not accepted in the Muslim areas. How I take for granted in Ecuador the ability to freely talk about God in Spanish and people being receptive.
I feel very privileged to have been invited on the trip and it was a lovely opportunity to get to know better the lovely Ecuadorian doctors and other missionaries who were on the team.
While I was gone, Alfredo kept busy in Shell and Quito: sorting out details for the next projects, meeting government officials to decide contracts and preparing for the class in February. The original plan was that his brother would be in Shell with Alfredo, but Josue got a job in Quito just as I left, so Alfredo was forced to find new friends in Shell to reduce the boredom! He had a fun holiday with his family over ‘Carnival’ (the weekend before pancake day) when they all came to Shell to visit.