By Elijah Hendrix (Ohio University student and TDR 2019 participant)
Sunset at Loja province, panoramic view of Cariamanga.
I have always felt a connection to service, health, and doing the right thing for the benefit of others and as a Cutler Scholar at Ohio University, I am encouraged to participate in service projects each year and this summer was not the exception. Through the lectures in my public health class and the conversations I had with my professors, I was able to come to the issue of Neglected Tropical Diseases, specifically, Chagas Disease research in Ecuador.
Throughout my participation in the program, I had many reflection opportunities. I am able to sum up my experience in three words: learning, community and service. Before this trip started, I only thought of learning as a one-way street. For example, in school, a professor stands in front of a classroom of 200 people and there is little to no interaction within the flow of information. I was prepared to have small talk with the people of the communities that we would be visiting and teach them what I know. The night before the first day, my cohort and I discussed the importance of sitting back and listening before acting to ensure the most collaboration between our team and the communities. I did not quite understand the meaning of listening first, but I kept an open mind.
By Daniela Grijalva
The Healthy Living Initiative would not be possible without the support and hard work of our foundational Development Team. Over our many years of research and community service, our team has been composed by individuals from interdisciplinary backgrounds in international studies, biomedical studies, communication studies and other majors. These individuals have taken the initiative to not only expand the missions and visions of HLI, but additionally to further general knowledge and research about various topics of interest within the communities we work with. Their projects aim to generate a more comprehensive picture of the situation in rural Ecuador, and to generate creative solutions alongside stakeholders to achieve positive change. The energy they bring to our project is invaluable, and their creativity is the driving force behind the constant innovation and expansion of the Healthy Living Initiative.
By Daniela Grijalva
In addition to creating Healthy Homes that comprehensively improve the well-being of their inhabitants, and work to fundamentally stop the Chagas transmission cycle, the Healthy Living Initiative works in collaboration with these local communities to conduct research on other aspects of community life, and their day-to-day challenges. Together we have worked to implement sustainable and creative solutions that both mitigate problems resulting from the lack of health, housing, and water infrastructure, and also serve as community asset-based development.