Buenas, familia y amigos!
Nuka shuty kon Carolina and Lluvia! Today we went to the Project of Integrated Development for the Elderly in San Juan, where we got to see firsthand how a senior services center works here in the Riobamba region. After taking a tour around the center and learning about physical therapy, some of their needs and how their services are structured, Laura, Kevin, and Letty, who are part of the working staff at the home, taught us some Quichua. We learned how to introduce ourselves along with some of the basic words that could allow us to communicate in the future with people at the center and around Riobamba. After getting to know the needs of the seniors that visit the center, everyone split into groups to start planning how we are going to contribute to the center with a Community Action Project. Teamwork makes the dream work!
Something that stood out to us today was the conditions of the facility. Despite the fact that they didn’t have the best conditions in the center, the people in charge always tried their best to make the elders feel at home. Kevin, who was the physical therapist, explained to us a little about what he did there to help the abuelitos, as he called them. He said that he believed that making a change in health doesn’t have to be through medication, but that the quality of life can always be improved by doing some of the exercises and following them with discipline. Letty and Laura were our translators and they also taught us some Quichua, and Anita was the doctor there who was in charge of the medications that the elders have to take. Even though they don’t have the best conditions, their priority is always to provide a welcoming environment for the abuelitos. Compared to the United States, here in Ecuador they always have fun crafts and activities for the abuelitos to do and they don’t just stay in a room. Having a chance to go to the senior center was amazing and knowing that they were excited to see us made it even better.
As líderes del día today, we took away that there are small details that can always make you happy, not necessarily material things. Seeing how activities, like doing handcrafts and planting seeds for food, make the elderly happy made us realize that all you need to be happy is love and support.