Global Seva Amazon Day 6: Health in the Amazon

Posted on April 2nd, 2014 by Tamara McGuire

Today the OTM group met representatives from Timmy Global Health and Hombro a Hombro. These organizations are providing direct medical assistance to local people through a primary care model. They are on the front lines in the fight against health inequality.

Typical of the Amazon in the rainy season, the weather changed our schedule today. We started with a tour of the community, San Pedro de Sumino, until the rain drove us inside. This is one of the poorest communities in the region. On average people survive on just $2/day. Granted they do not need to purchase much in their day to day lives, but this becomes a huge problem when they need gas money to travel to Quito for urgent medical care. It is a community of farmers and ranchers and most people speak both Spanish and Kichwa, the indigenous language. Despite being so poor, the people are engaged and vibrant.


After lunch, we worked hard. Timmy Global Health, in partnership with OTM, is building a permanent health clinic to better serve the people of San Pedro de Sumino and the surrounding communities. The land for the health clinic was donated by Dona Antonia, a well respected midwife. In order to clear land for the building, they had to cut down her cacao field. To repay her, we planted 50 cacao saplings. We also painted logos on the walls and moved massive piles of dirt and rocks. It was a hot, tiring afternoon, but also so rewarding to engage with the community on a more concrete level. While planting the trees, the young children would laugh and dive into the new holes to help pull dirt out. While moving dirt and rocks, the men would laughingly lend a hand or give us tips on our pick axe technique.


The community was interested in yoga and asked that we teach them a short stretching class that would help them deal with their physical discomforts. So we walked over to another building. We were expecting maybe 10-20 middle aged people. Instead everyone showed up! We had toddlers, teenagers, adults, and the elderly. Amazing! They all participated wholeheartedly. They laughed, and concentrated, and tried new things. It was the perfect way to end our day.


Timmy Global Health is doing such important work here assisting these people in navigating the complex and cumbersome public health system, providing access to basic care, and educating communities on water safety. Please consider directly supporting them in their work by going to the link below. Every little bit helps.


Tamara McGuire lives in Chesapeake, VA where she teaches yoga, takes care of her husband and two children, and gardens. She believes in the power of personal connection and shared experiences to break down barriers and create community. She successfully mobilized her community to raise significant funds for OTM’s 2013 Seva Challenge to support organizations in Ecuador working to protect the rainforest and uphold the rights of its people.


For more information or to donate and support these incredible projects, visit: Protect the Amazon

NOTE: The views expressed in this blog belong to the author and are not necessarily represented by OTM.