Week 1, Part 2

Another interesting thing we talked about this week during class was contraceptive options for people here. I figured contraception options would be limited with 75% of individuals being Catholic, but in the cities there is high rate of contraceptive use and this has increased over the past 10 years. The average family living in the city only has a couple children. Catholics in the US use birth control at the same rates as Christians so I guess I should not be surprised of its use here. In the rural/indigenous areas there is less contraceptive use and therefore higher birthrates. All the contraceptive options we have in the US are available here with condoms and OCPs being the most commonly used. Abortion is strictly prohibited. I asked whether talking about sex/sexuality with patients was taboo and I was told that in the past it was, but now it is acceptable to have these types of conversations between patients and physicians. It will be interesting to see what actually happens during the clinical encounters. I am pretty sure they are still more conservative about sexuality than the places I’ve trained in Columbus, but it was good to hear that they are making progress.

Angel, Me and Shannon another program participant.
Angel, Me and Shannon another program participant.

Angel, our Spanish instructor is a renaissance man of sorts. He was in the Ecuadorian Army for 10 years, played professional soccer, was a scrub nurse, and has a bachelors in linguistics. He offers unique perspectives on politics and the medical field in addition to being an effective Spanish teacher. Ecuador was established in 1830 as an independent country. It is a representative democratic republic. Just like politics in any country, there seems to be varying opinions on the political leaders. Our homestay mother is not a fan of the current president and it’s interesting to hear the varying viewpoints. It was interesting to find out the one of the ex-presidents of Ecuador is a professor at Harvard. He was ousted in a military coup in 2000 before he came to the states. His name is Dr. Jamil Mahaud. Angel fought in the final war against Peru in 1995 in which Ecuador ended up winning additional territory, but Angel said that Ecuador was forced by the UN to return the territory back to Peru. You could sense that he was disappointed in the outcome of the war and how impactful the loss of some of comrades was. Angel and I worked out one evening this past week and he definitely schooled me during our 40min run.  I think part of the issue was the higher altitude here, but I think the other part was all these wonderful pastries on every corner…


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