Gabrielle D’Astoli: Despite working over twelve hours a day, it will never feel like it was enough time. Procedures that seem mundane and readily available to us mean everything to the hundreds of people we have cared for this past week. The biggest thing I noticed during my time in Ecuador was how THANKFUL the people are. This experience has really reminded me of how two little words can mean so much. Not only am I thankful for my family and for my health, but I am thankful that the people who we treated this week are happy and healthy too.

Erik Lalezarian: Working long hour shifts may sound gruesome, but I feel so good about myself afterwards. The patients we treated do not have it easy to begin with, so why am I to complain? The whole entire point about this mission is to treat as many individuals as possible. This is my second time coming to Ecuador which I thought would never happen. I don’t have any plans becoming a dentist in the future, but I will always remember the times I actually got to do a full cleaning.

Eliana Murphy: In all honesty, I was nervous before this trip. I’d never been on a mission, or South America, and only knew my Mom. Once I started working and got to help patients, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders and it felt good to know that I was helping patients who really need it, and how grateful and appreciative they were afterward. It was an amazing experience being able to scrub in and help out with surgeries, and even getting to polish teeth at the dental clinic. This trip has been such great experience and has really opened my eyes to show me that helping people in need is something I know I want to do for the rest of my life.
Laila Akhavi: The experience that I have gotten on this trip is unforgettable. Helping all these people who were in need made me feel thankful for everything and all the opportunities I have. Seeing the smiles on all the patient’s faces is what really put a smile on my face, considering the long, long days we would be at the clinic.This trip also allowed me to experience things that I would have never been able to do in my life. I am extremely thankful that I had the opportunity to come on this mission trip and will always help me remember to help others at all times!

My name is Chiara and this is my first mission with Blanca’s House. In the midst of applying to medical school for next year, I can say that this experience has reaffirmed my passion for medicine in a huge way. In the few short days here in Guayaquil, I have learned so much, seen so much, and felt so much.  As a JV, I was able to help with pediatric patients in pre-op, scrub into the OR and observe their surgeries, and follow through with their care through post-op and recovery. I loved seeing the smiles of the patients and their families after a cleft lip repair and knowing that all the tears in pre-op were worth it- these kids are so brave and I am so lucky to have been here to help out with their care. I can’t wait to come back!

My name is Kylie Tsotsos and I’m a JV on my second mission. This experience for me was infinitely more hands on and fulfilling. From learning how to start an IV, to scrubbing in on major surgeries, I have never felt more confident in my dream to become a doctor to help others. From following one patient from the OR to recovery, seeing the results in one night was something I will never forget. Being able to go on this mission with both parents and my little brother is a time my family will always thank Blanca’s House for!