Yesterday, our Dr. Suzanne walked outside into the chilly 5:00 a.m. morning to start her drive to Shiprock Emergency Room on the Navajo Nation. She immediately appreciated what she saw. “It’s really dark and there’s lots of stars. I saw a shooting star right when I came out!”
Of course Suzanne knows it’s not an actual star that’s shooting. She went to science class in grade school. It’s just a small meteor rock that’s burning up in the earth’s atmosphere. Simple, factual, and awesome.
As a doctor, Suzanne believes in the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on EVIDENCE, also known as science. Her grade school teacher was sharing the best information that was known to humankind. If we’re realistic, we would be actually wishing on a piece of dust dying from space.
A few days ago, we had the pleasure of meeting a Navajo woman named Tisa. Tisa lives on her family’s land in a very difficult place to find in Two Gray Hills, Navajo Nation. She was in need of help with some water issues, mainly that there was none.
Like most Navajo living on the reservation, she gets water trucked in and stored in a container, as there’s no running water. Pictured here is her main container, which over time becomes full of algae and bacteria. She was thrilled to receive a water filter, and we all drank this old untrusted water with confidence.
It’s difficult to hold your head high with your hand out.
This mother and baby pictured in Puerto Lopez Ecuador, is a common sight here, and in Latin America in general.
A Venezuelan refugee humbly begging in front of a Tia grocery store.
Today is Independence Day in the USA.
On many Native American reservations, they celebrate this day by holding ceremonies and giving gifts, so much so that the Indian Bureau calls is “Give-Away Day”.
On this day back in 1776, these great words were pinned in the Declaration of Independence.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
A photo of A Ripple’s president from today, a couple of miles from Shiprock hospital, New Mexico, USA.
Dr. Suzanne willfully came to the Navajo Nation in May of 2020, during the hight of an unknown pandemic. At that time, the Navajo had the highest infection rate in all of the USA, the country with the highest numbers of Covid cases in the world.
Here on the reservation 14 months ago, it was desperate. Many elders of the Navajo, some only speaking their native tongue, dying from this grave virus. Patients in the hall of an overcrowded emergency room.
Unfortunately nothing progressed when working here in September, even as the Navajo Nation was on strict lockdown. Many tribal elders, story tellers, historians, moved on to the Great Spirit.
Happy Fathers Day!
Here in South America, do you know how many fathers it takes to change a light bulb?
Today is also World Refugee Day!
“Happy Day” to the over 80 million people displaced in the world. You get a day too.
Could we please introduce you to one?
Please meet Inaky.
Inaky departed from Venezuela 3 years ago, and now calls the town of Puerto Lopez Ecuador home. With a heavy heart, he left his family in Caracas as he felt there was not a future, no work, and plenty of danger.
When you’re high up in the Andean city of Cuenca Ecuador, do yourself a favor and head over to Full Criollo restaurant for some delicious Venezuelan food. They’re located on Gran Colombia and are open everyday from 9 until 9, except for Mondays. They have a wide range of delicious Venezuelan cuisine from soups, grilled meat platters, hamburgers, and vegan options, all with a unique twist. Of course no proper Venezuelan eatery would be complete without the iconic arepa. If you’re interested in getting a taste of how they make their delicious arepas, watch this video as chef Javier tries to teach Josh from Loco Living the recipe. Tries is the key word 🙂
Here in Ecuador, like all countries with refugees, when one desperate foreigner does something wrong or stupid, that whole community is accused and guilty by association. Here, one Venezuelan asylum seeker commits a crime, the other honest 500,000 countrymen are automatically looked at differently. This is not right. What about the other 99.9% peacefully living or striving to get by?
Narrated by Josh at Loco Living, we would like to introduce you to a gentle soul. A friend, a savant, and humble Venezuelan man named Jose Luis.
If you want, you can call him Dr. Joker.
Dignity, a sense of pride in oneself. Self-respect.
In Ecuador, there’s over 400,000 Venezuelan asylum seekers and refugees. You can’t miss them, they’re on street corners, in parks, and outside of grocery stores humbly asking for a little help.
So let’s help.
In the past few months, we’ve purchased Dignity Kits for Venezuelan refugees living here on the streets. These kits might be more commonly known as hygiene kits, but we feel Dignity has a much better ring to it, don’t you agree?
Being a refugee during a pandemic is not easy, and when food and shelter are hard to find, other necessities like hygiene become secondary.
This is why we’ve assembled Dignity Kits containing essentials like soap, shampoo, deodorant, nail clippers, feminine pads, alcohol spray, toothbrush, toothpaste, and a razor, all in a reusable bag, to be passed out to those that have sacrificed their hygiene for more “important” things.
We’re sure you agree, having the basics to maintain health and preventing disease specifically through hygiene is essential everyday, but especially during a pandemic.
Today, April 16th, marks 5 years since the Ecuadorian coast was rocked by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. 676 people lost their life, close to 20,000 were injured, and many many more displaced.
With great volunteers, we tried our best to help those who lost loved ones and homes. Within 24 hours, Dr. Suzanne was escorting patients with the airforce from Manta to Guayaquil, as the local hospitals were damaged or overwhelmed. This started our 6 month effort to assist those in need.
We ran pop up medical clinics in rural areas for those that could not reach a hospital because of broken roads and bridges or the hospitals were destroyed. With generous contributions, we were able to share thousands of mosquito nets with the many people who couldn’t or did not want to sleep in their damaged houses. For months, the constant aftershocks would not let any of us sleep. We were also able to share 1,000 water filters, possibly giving over 10,000 Ecuadorians free and safe water to drink.
There was much needed, and we were only a ripple.