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Next Stop, Peru!

April 3

Time here just seems to be slipping through my fingers. I can hardly believe it! I was lucky enough to have my parents come and visit for a long weekend, which was absolutely amazing! Fortunately, my Ecuadorian family speaks phenomenal English so communication was easy and everyone got along wonderfully! The Martens family toured around Quito, went to a cloud forest called Mindo with fabulous bird watching (Linda and Dick were in their prime), and an Indigenous market. It was insane to have my two worlds collide into one, but a breath of fresh air to say the least!

Christa Martens and her parents in EcuadorThings at the hospital are going well. Over the course of these past few months, I've become a master at Disney puzzles, strategizing how to lose mancala and checkers, and have formed some unique and beautiful relationships with the children. As I've gained more confidence with my Spanish, I've been able to have more conversations with the parents as well, catching glimpses of their lives and the level of sacrifice they've made to dedicate anywhere from a week to years at the side of their child. One woman showed me a letter that her husband had written her, expressing his love and support as he stayed at their home in Tena (a small town in the Amazon) and she stayed with their 12 year old daughter Marilynn for two months. She said it helped her live each day. So simple, and yet so profound: relying on the love to live each day. I thought it was beautiful.

I've got quite a few exiting events on the rise...On Friday, five friends and I are headed off to Peru for nine days! We'll be hiking the Inca Trail on Machu Picchu, visiting Cusco, Lake Titicaca, and quite a few other destinations along the way. When we return, I'm hoping to have a homestay with an Indigenous family the following weekend. As most of you know, I've been struggling with how to reconcile the privileged life that I live here with the knowledge that such a small portion of Ecuador lives like I do. Hopefully this opportunity will give me a little more perspective.

It's always wonderful to hear from you all! Thank you so much for your love and I look forward to hearing more about life back home!