This blog post is written by Pallavi Tatapudy, MS4 at Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University who served as co-leader of the 2017 medical and surgical mission to Sacred Valley, Perú organized by A Promise to Peru.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” - Melody Beattie
Today morning was our last in Riobamba, Ecuador. Five of us from the team woke up at 4:15 am to get ready for Las Aguas Termales in Chambo, located about 25 minutes away from Hotel Zeus. We left by 4:45 am in two taxis and enjoyed the unique, calming experience offered by Mother Nature.
We returned back to the hotel by about 8:30 am. Everyone came down to the lobby by 9:30 am with their luggage. We loaded the bus and left Riobamba for Quito. We made a quick stop at a gas station to get some snacks for the road, drove for a while, and then went to a restaurant in the rural farmlands of Ecuador with an outdoor park filled with tire swings, wooden swings, benches, and playground rocking horses. Our team had a lot of fun at “recess” before being called in to eat!

We got back on the bus and finished our journey. We arrived at a local artisan market in Quito by 3:30 pm and stayed till 4:45 pm. We then drove to the new hotel we would be staying at for one night, called La Casa Sol. We checked in to our rooms, relaxed, and ate dinner. Two key members of our team left for the airport at night – Dr. Allison Angelilli, a skilled ophthalmologist who made it possible to perform three glaucoma surgeries during this mission, and Shashi Muttreja, a knowledgeable registered nurse with years of experience in the operating room. We are grateful for their major contributions and look forward to working together in the coming future. For now, it’s time to sleep. I have a volcano to hike tomorrow. ¡Hasta mañana!