The First Beginnings of the Clinic
The hardship of the sick in our community
The difficult situation of the sick in Ecuador leaves much to be desired. The health insurances are in the hands of the government, and therefore, extremely deficient. Many families are not insured at all. So one could say, “Only the ones who have money can afford to get sick in Ecuador.” Because of this situation, an important part of our pastoral work consists of helping the sick. This way we are also following the gospel of Jesus Christ, who was greatly concerned for the poor and the sick. He healed their body and soul.
The first beginnings
Our project to build a small clinic started several years ago when we had a doctor who visited us once a week in the Mission of Guadalupe. Dr. Jaime Ortiz came from the neighboring town called Zumbi to minister to our people weekly on Fridays. He continues this practice to this day.
The Catholic mission director of the Dioceses of Feldkirch in Vorarlberg, Austria, Prälat Albert Holenstein, who is also the pastor of St.Kolumban in Bregenz, Vorarlberg, annually sends us medicines. We distribute these medicines at a very low price to the poor in our primitive “Consultorio Médico”, which is no more than one of our small bedrooms in the Mission of Guadalupe.
The new project
The project of a new health center, little by little, became a dream of the mother superior, Sister Consuelo Carvajal C., of P. Jorge Nigsch and many parishioners. So, after several years of thinking and planing, we decided to make our dream come true. Father Albert Holenstein from St. Kolumban in Bregenz, Austria said that he would give us a hand financially to build the new clinic with funds from the Pontifical Mission Works of the Dioceses of Feldkirch.
A young architect from Loja in the highlands of Ecuador, Carlos Espejo, helped us with his ideas to make an excellent plan, and in May 2000, we began with the construction. In numerous mingas, which are gatherings of volunteer workers from all the villages of La Paz and of Guadalupe, the people helped and took ownership for this project.