When we announced our first “virtual minga” on the site a couple of weeks ago, we really didn’t know what to expect. We had never asked for donations before, and we knew that many of our readers were saving money for big adventures in life just like us. But we really felt compelled to give back in some way when we’ve received so much from this place and its people.
You guys really went above and beyond your armchair travel companion duties! A big thank you from the bottom our hearts for your response to our request. You raised $420 for the Mojandita Clinic outside of Otavalo, Ecuador, which means they now have medicines they have only rarely had access to in the past – medicines you and I take for granted.
virtual minga: the coming together of an online community for the betterment of all
We could not have done this without our favorite tour guides and friends Catherine (from France) and Fernando (from Ecuador), who introduced us to the idea of “minga” on our first week here in Ecuador and then took us to the clinic as part of the tour of the area.
When first we asked about doing a project like this, Catherine jumped right on it, discussed it with the doctor, and arranged for us to go together to the pharmacy to buy the medications. The world is full of generous people, and we are fortunate to be meeting some of the very best on this trip, both in person and through the interwebs.
As you can see from the pictures, $244.80 buys a lot of medicine in Ecuador. It was terrific to have Dr. Sonia there to pick the medicines, check the expiration labels, and make sure the money was spent on the amount and type of medications that would be used the most. In addition, the clinic gets a discount at the pharmacy, so we were able to buy more just by having Dr. Sonia there.
The pharmacist spent 30 minutes bringing our medicines to the counter in batches, and he quickly ran out of room. I think the other customers also ran out of patience waiting on him to finish our order!
The doctor has been donating her services to the clinic one day per week for the last 15 years, and she’s made a huge impact on the health and well-being of the community, even with limited access to medication. This is truly a labor of love for her.
Nurse Evelyn is the first part-time nurse they’ve had who speaks both Spanish and Quechua, so the patients now fully understand the instructions they are given, which is just as important as receiving the proper medications.
We have deposited the remainder of the donation to the clinic’s bank account to replenish the medicine when the inventory gets low.
Thanks to all of you who donated and made things a little bit better for these people who already work so hard to help each other live well. This was a really great project for us, so look for other “virtual mingas” as we travel around the world.
*Thanks to Fernando for taking such great pictures. You are our favorite paparazzo!