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I am currently in Ecuador with the University of Michigan’s Quito Project. So far, the experience has been unbelievable. I arrived almost three weeks ago and I feel like my ability to navigate the city and my Spanish have improved markedly since then. There are six of us here now, but we’re working on two different projects. Myself and another M1 are assessing the rate of depression among patients at a cancer hospital here in Quito. We’re administering surveys in Spanish using iPads. The work is very challenging, but I feel like I am making wonderful connections with patients and I know that I am very lucky to get the opportunity to work with patients undergoing such a difficult time of their lives.

The other group here is studying chronic diseases in hospital subcenters in Quito. They have not begun their research yet, and have been spending a lot of time setting up their project. Nevertheless, we’re all having a wonderful time. Last weekend we hiked up a volcano outside Quito called Pichincha. We were around 13,000 feet and the air was so thin that it was extremely hard to walk uphill. We were unable to get to the top, because we did not have enough water; but it did feel like a major accomplishment to get as far as we did go. I have included some photos from our hike below.

I have to go workout at the gym now. I have found that the best way to reset myself for work is to have a good workout in the afternoon. I love the patients that I’m working with, but it is very emotionally difficult work and it is nice to do something completely different at the end of the day. We get to start work a bit later tomorrow, so tonight we’re going to the centro historico of Quito to watch some live music and get some drinks. I hope that everyone is having a wonderful summer and thank you for reading!