WEEK #73 HOW ARE WE DOING? Donation made, brakes too & being honoured

After a bad experience with ceviche, the local fresh fish dish in and around the coast of Ecuador, I ate it again as soon as my body would “allow” it. Those who have had a “bad fish experience” know what I’m talking about…

According to doctor Els van der Linden, co-founder of La Sonrisa Naranja, the project I’ve visited the past week, I should be careful, if the symptoms come back I should start antibiotics… Meanwhile I’ll take my chances, the ceviche is just too good…

IMG_1426La Sonrisa Naranja, a medical centre in El Barrio Horizontes del Fortin, one of the most deprived areas in Guayaquil, was founded in 2007 by Els and her husband Gonzalo. Their mission? To make sure that as many people as possible receive the healthcare they deserve, for an affordable price. Most of the families in the neighbourhood don’t have access to or cannot afford healthcare. Diseases like dengue are common in this area. To structurally improve the health condition of the people, workshops are given and valuable information to all patients and their families.

The first time I met the doctors they only had a few minutes to talk, the waiting room was filled with people seeking advice and medical care. Luckily the second and third day of my visit things were different. I was staying with the doctors and the parents of Els, who were visiting their daughter and helping out with the foundation. Good meals (Dutch cheese!!!), a bed and great company were part of the visit too.

In a few years time the medical centre has grown. Els and Gonzalo started with one consulting room, which was also their own room, and home to be exact. Working from their home they gradually grew and now have a medical centre with a waiting room, two consulting rooms, a dental office, a pharmacy and a medical laboratory for physicians. They are currently living above the medical centre.IMG_1455

As with all projects I visit, I am here with a purpose. What can 99%RIDE do to help? What is necessary at the moment? How will our help contribute to the well being of the project? The same questions every time, yet very essential.

What does La Sonrisa Naranja need?
The foundation is in need of a new computer & printer for all the correct registration of the patients, the input of lab results and the printing of receipts and prescriptions.

How will a computer & printer contribute to the foundation?
The doctors will be able to work more efficient, save more time and be able to help more patients in a shorter amount of time. A computer and printer are valuable items in the medical centre.

99%RIDE is proud to be able to help La Sonrisa Naranja; we are donating a new computer and printer for the medical centre in Guayaquil, Ecuador. A video of the project will be posted soon, making it able to meet Els and to see the medical centre with your own eyes, something we at 99%RIDE find very important.
Who are the people behind a project? What does it look like? Where are they working? Questions we have asked ourselves many times, and now we are giving you a look at the charity you support. Check out our YouTube page to see our videos.

What else happened in Guayaquil?
Well, I finally got my brakes fixed… I found a nice bike-shop in Guayaquil, Hot Bike, and met the owner, Arturo, who helped me out. After having a nice conversation about cycling, the opening of his shop and 99%RIDE, I left with a new powerful brake and the feeling of having met a new friend.
The next day I received an invitation from Arturo to go for some ceviche, apparently the best in town. First he had something else on the agenda, I was to be honoured in the City Hall of Guayaquil by the Minister of Sport for my cycling achievement and 99%RIDE, something I am personally very proud of!
The local press and media were there with cameras, microphones and a radio interview. A medal was given, along with a large book containing beautiful pictures and the history of Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador.
Arturo, I can’t thank you again for everything you’ve done for 99%RIDE and myself. I hope to meet you again and ride during a Ciclo Paseo in Guayaquil. Oh yeah, the ceviche was amazing!!!

Heading south to and through Peru will be a real challenge now. The Andes are serious mountains and have already asked a lot of my physical strength and stamina. The two days after leaving Guayaquil have taken me from sea level to over 4100 meters. No time for adapting, 99%RIDE moves on. The next project is far away, in Cusco. Follow my progress and join the ride!

Please keep following and supporting 99%RIDE. You are making a difference.

From Cuenca, Ecuador,

Dirk Spits

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