Posted by: calloftheandes | May 19, 2016

Notes from the Quake Zone (Twenty-first in a Series)

Samango trees on the hills on the road to Agua Fria.

Samango trees on the hills on the road to Agua Fria.

(7 May 2016 Agua Fria, Manabí Province, Ecuador)

by Ralph Kurtenbach

We held the medical consults in a kitchen area near the soccer field and the place belongs to Ubilio, who is known as Uber. His brother is Ubaldo. Steve attended several families. Their needs were not quake-related but people talked of losses, such as a home or peace of mind in the quake.

As Uber talked of their small cooperative of organically-raised foods and how they’ve handled its various aspects from production of natural insecticides to packing and marketing their produce, it occurred to our team that they show a collaborative spirit that may blend well with Reach Beyond Community Development.

The ages of patients ranged from just over a year to an 86-year-old lady—a multi-generational bunch. Initially we dealt primarily with moms and children; eventually the men were willing as well. . . maybe from curiosity for what kind of humorous quip Steve might make during the serious business of answering health-related questions.

by Ralph Kurtenbach

Ralph Kurtenbach

Steve’s challenge at one point was when the pickup Ubaldo had been tinkering with for a couple hours finally roared to life—straight pipes, no muffler—and ran for several minutes during a lady’s consult. (video below) I watched as the stethoscope was on her back while the pickup roared. . . unevenly but still mighty loud.

The engine was cut and I heard Steve answer the patient, “It sounded like a poorly running engine but let me try again.” That brought smiles all around; the consults were not really private. We will see whether good word or otherwise spreads about the tall German who offers to charge cellphones on a set-up in the pickup, Dr. Steve, and me, whose reputation as a nanny was set when little Maximiliano came into my arms and promptly stopped fussing and fell asleep.

Ralph Kurtenbach is a missionary with Reach Beyond.


  1. […] What does God know? At a gas station in San Vicente, we wait for Steve. He has run to a pharmacy to find iron supplements to make available to patients in rural Manabí Province. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: