A Life-Changing Ecuador Experince

Last week, I got the opportunity to interview Light Laleye, a neuro and psych major and bio and chem minor. Light recently got the opportunity to go to Ecuador with Timmy Global Health for a winter term, so I asked her a few questions about her experience.

HerCampus: Where specifically did you go in Ecuador, and for what purpose?

Light Lalaye: I went to Chontapunta and Quito with the Timmy Global Health Program. We got to open 8 different medical clinics there in small towns.

Light and the group of people she worked with every day.

HC: What was an average day like?

LL: Everyday, we opened a medical clinic in a rural community. This consisted of a doctor’s office and a pharmacy. I got to work closely with the doctors, often as a scribe. Sometimes I got to work in the pharmacy, counting pills and getting prescriptions ready for the patients. I loved that I was making a difference.

Light with Dr. Jeff Jones in Campococha one of the days she got to scribe with him. Dr. Jones specializes in travel medicine.

HC: That sounds fantastic! What was your favorite part of the trip?

LL: My favorite part was probably being a scribe for the doctors. I loved being right there in the action. I want to sign up to do it in the USA someday! I loved really getting to participate and learning medical terms. I love that Timmy really makes an effort to make life better for people in Ecuador (and all over the world, too!). Every three months, Timmy goes to these towns in Ecuador, so it’s like this continuous service to the people there--it’s not a once and done kind of thing. They’ve got this fantastic program designed by Microsoft--it keeps medical records for all these people and doesn’t require Wi-Fi to save or anything to help make sure the healthcare continues. Someday I think I want to work with Timmy and I want to help run that whole system.  But our rest days when we weren’t working with patients were amazing too! We got to see this natural formed lagoon and some waterfalls; both were absolutely beautiful! We got the opportunity to cliff jump, and the views from the canoe rides we took on the Amazon River at sunset were breathtaking. I met so many amazing people there, and I learned how to salsa and make chocolate, and all the food was amazing.

The view from the canoe on a tributary of Amazon River at sunset.

HC: It sounds like the whole experience was fantastic! Did you have a least favorite part of the trip?

LL: The bugs and the bug bites and the bug spray. I hate bugs, and we saw so many! Once, we got lost in the jungle and had to wait for the bus for two hours, but that wasn’t too bad. Honestly, it was so wonderful. I wish I could go back!

HC: Why did you choose this specific study abroad trip?

LL: I have always been passionate about global healthcare, and I have known that this is what I want to do with my life since I was 12 or 13. I wanted to start my own organization that basically did what Timmy does, but then I found Timmy and now I want to work for them. I love Timmy and what they stand for and what they do. It’s a cause close to my heart--I grew up in Nigeria; lots of family and other people I loved fell to illness, and if there’s anything I can do to prevent that from happening for others, I’m going to do it. When I realized I had the opportunity to work with Timmy over winter term, I jumped on it.

HC: It’s so wonderful that you found a study abroad program that fit exactly what you were looking for! How were you able to make it happen?

LL: The Hubbard Center at DePauw was great--I just sat down with them and they talked me through the whole process. We discussed travel, financial stuff, everything! They helped make it really easy for me.

HC: Well, honestly, I’m jealous I didn’t get to go to Ecuador with you. It sounds like you had a really unique experience.

LL: It was life changing. I want to go back and work with Timmy again after I graduate from DePauw. I’m kind of sad I’m back, actually. Yeah, I didn’t have Wi-Fi there and I missed my parents and friends, but it was so beautiful and fun, and it was nice to see the difference I was making every day! I had so many experiences there I’ll never forget.

One of the pictures Light took of the scenery in Ecuador. 

All pictures courtesy of Light Lalalye.