This trip was one of the most incredible things i have ever done. From the people i met to the experiences we shared and the things i learned, my experience with the HLD far exceeded my expectations. HLD offers such a unique way of experiencing the beauty of Ecuador as it allows you to gain so much more out of it than you can ever imagine.
The LEARN part of the trip, we got to spend a week in Quito shadowing doctors by visiting different departments and actually standing right there inside the operating rooms watching surgeries! To this day i still am in awe of the fact that i got to stand right next to the surgeon while he operated on a patient. It’s an experience unlike any other, especially for aspiring doctors. They were just very helpful in answering questions, the knowledge i learned from them and the experience in Med rotations has definitely given me the motivation and completely solidified my decision in pursuing a career in Medicine.
The HELP portion was definitely the most life changing, as you’re in the community building houses for the local people who cannot afford proper housing themselves. It is sometimes hard, physical work as we scrap the houses so we'd have a smooth surface to paint on but at the end of the day you finished with the most rewarding feeling that we’re actually physically making a difference in other people’s lives. To see the result of our work at the end of the day, and to know that all of our fundraiser money is going directly toward people who truly need it is amazing. We worked alongside the locals and play with the children, we quickly built strong, lasting bonds with them, making it very hard to say goodbye when we had to leave. It feels good knowing that we had a little part in helping them build a future for themselves.
The DISCOVER part of the trip, which was spread throughout the whole month, helped keep us relaxed and sane, as we traveled to some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen and got to do some pretty exciting things. From hiking in the jungle to waterfall rappelling to surfing to tubing down a river through the Amazon, the month was packed with so many exciting things that I look back and wonder how we managed to fit all of it into only four weeks. What really made this trip for me was getting to do all these incredible things with some of the best people I’ve ever met. I come into the group not knowing anyone and left with some of the greatest friends.
If you are unsure about whether or not this is the trip for you, just take a leap of faith, it might be the best thing you did for yourself.