photo submitted Sue Wiggin (right) took part in a health care volunteer vacation in Ecuador hosted by the Tandana Foundation from March 25 to April 8.

Vacation with a purpse

Coldstream’s Sue Wiggin took part in a health care volunteer vacation

A Coldstream resident was able to give back during a global adventure.

Sue Wiggin took part in a health care volunteer vacation in Ecuador hosted by the Tandana Foundation from March 25 to April 8.

“I valued the opportunity to learn about Ecuador and Ecuadorians by interacting in a meaningful way,” said Wiggin.

During the trip, a team of 25 volunteers worked alongside Ecuadorian medical professionals providing care to 875 residents in 10 rural communities surrounding the city of Otavalo.

The team included both volunteers with a medical background and those without. The volunteers with a medical background included six physicians, three registered nurses, two medical scribes and a pharmacist. The rotating Ecuadorian medical professionals on the team included four physicians, a dentist, a dental hygienist and several nurses.

Every morning, they visited a different community to set up a health clinic. The volunteers treated 405 medical patients and 432 dental patients. They conducted 196 vision screenings, and 279 children received a pediatric checkup.

Individuals also got their vitals taken, their ears washed, their prescriptions filled and lab work done at the clinics. Many patients who were not able to be treated right away were referred to a local health centre for follow-up care. Besides the medical treatment offered by Tandana, community members have little access to health care.

The afternoons were filled with cultural activities and opportunities to enjoy the region’s natural beauty.

The Tandana Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports cross-cultural volunteer opportunities, scholarships, and community projects in highland Ecuador and Mali’s Dogon Country.

For more information or to sign-up for a volunteer vacation, visit

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