Irina’s Life in Ecuador


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Bus to Santo Domingo           Santo Domingo                      Next door street               Nearby street


After studying Spanish in the capital of Ecuador, Quito, for two months, I moved to Santo Domingo where I practice as a physiotherapist in a Christian Charity School for children with learning and physical disabilities.

Just a short description of Santo Domingo… It is the fourth most populous city in Ecuador with a population of over 305.000. It lies in the foothills west of the Andes at an altitude of 625m. It has a tropical humid climate, which ranges from 22c to 30c +. Although it is growing rapidly, there is still a great deal of poverty in the city with some of the accommodation and facilities very basic. The city offers very little recreation and in the area where I live, it is not safe to venture out after dusk. I do most of my travelling by bus, an experience in itself….It is a very noisy town and I often have longings to be running at Bircher, through beautiful woods and common.

Life, in a language I can only have a grasp of, is one of my biggest challenges. However, I am certainly gaining experiences I wouldn’t have at home.. Fixing a toilet, surviving cold showers and zero kitchen appliances, having to wash my clothes in an outdoor concrete sink, with water from the well… longer a bucket and chain…the luxury of an electric pump…and when we run out of water, I need to carry water from the well to flush the toilet, cook, wash my dishes and me too………I have made ribbon and embroidery flowers, managed to have 40 mosquito bites in one day and recently….. helped to make concrete for a security wall…..and am learning to trust more in God to help me get through the frustrating and difficult times.

Several times a week I visit an orphanage called ‘Orphiads’, where the children are suffering from AIDS. I assist with physiotherapy, to the mother of 2 of the children in the orphanage. She contacted AIDS and also a disease, which caused paralysis down her left side. I help her with movement and teach her skills to help her become more independent. With some of the funds raised for my trip, I have been able to buy her a wheel chair and various aids to help with her mobility and for the staff who care for her. There are other patients I visit outside Santo Domingo suffering from various illnesses.

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My house                                   Washing ‘machine’              With Maria at Orphiads         Work place

Being in the countryside again is an opportunity to get fresh air walking among the Banana Plantations. I can sometimes fit in a run, followed by a swim in the river. I also help with a project for women suffering from social/ economic difficulties or domestic abuse situations. I have been fortunate enough to have some like-minded people as friends so have been able to explore some of the beautiful craters, waterfalls, mountains, rivers and coasts in Ecuador While in Quito doing my language study, I was able to run which was great altitude training at 2,800 m -9350 ft.

However here in Santo Domingo, the hot humid climate and novelty of a female runner in a macho society makes running rather uncomfortable although doable. I think of you all.. And I really miss being part of the club.

Wishing the team all the best for the winter league races.

Love and Best Regards


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