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Email: support@total.com
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Address: Las Vegas, Nevada

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Participants for Next Ecuadorian Expedition Announced

Dr. Wendy Schmitz has announced the names of Ohio’s Hospice team members who will join in the Ecuador Experience in 2018. Dr. Cleanne Cass of Innovative Care Solutions, nurse Judith Hempfling of Ohio’s Community Mercy Hospice, massage therapist Amy Green of Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton and chaplain William Sangrey of Community Care Hospice will travel to Cuenca Ecuador January 20-28, 2018.

This group follows in the footsteps of others who have experienced the expedition to Ecuador to support efforts to establish hospice and palliative care services. Two previous program participants say the experience is life-changing. Linda Burr and Jordan Gay went outside their comfort zones to take part in Ecuador excursions in 2017. Both were overwhelmed by the transparency and welcome they received from Ecuadorians. “They have no walls,” Linda said. “They welcome you as family from the first minute you meet,” according to Jordan. “They wear their hearts on their sleeve.”

Linda and Jordan stayed with host families and formed friendships that continued past their departure. When she arrived at her host home, Linda was concerned because she spoke no Spanish. Her hosts put her at ease and she found herself sharing time with their 7-year old son who collects U.S. quarters. “I had brought quarters with me and the next thing I knew we were sitting side-by-side sorting through them for his collection,” Linda recalled. “The language barrier disappeared.”

The clinical staff and family caregivers they interacted with and taught were extremely grateful and appreciative for their expertise. Staff members from Ohio’s Hospice offer multiple educational presentations over the course of their week in Ecuador. The experience, is NOT a vacation, says Jordan. “It involves a lot of work. The preparation of presentations in advance and then sharing them with groups eight to ten times over the course of the visit. But they note that everyone who attends – doctors, nurses and family caregivers – are so interested and grateful for what they had to share. “They are the pioneers of hospice in their country, just as there were hospice pioneers in ours 40 to 50 years ago,” Linda observed. “They care so much for their patients,” Jordan said. “They are so loving.”

 

The country offers beautiful, postcard worthy vistas, a contrast of wealth and extreme poverty, and a culture centered on church and family. Linda and Jordan found the cuisine to their liking, raving about the availability and flavor of fresh fruits. There was only one experience that struck fear in the heart of both Linda and Jordan – the driving. “There are no stop signs or lights,” Linda explained. “There are roundabouts. It’s better to have a horn than brakes.” Drivers, said Jordan, appear to have only one rule – “to be first. Totally chaotic driving.”

Nevertheless, “I would highly recommend this experience to everyone,” shared Jordan. “Being in Ecuador makes you want to work twice as hard and love even harder.” Linda agreed and offered another benefit she gained from the experience. “Everyone who helped me prepare my presentations was so generous and helped me succeed. And I bonded with members of the hospice team I had never worked with before. I know I would love to go back.”