With the recent combination of power outages due to inexplicable late-May snowstorms, and internet failures due to the fact that Vermont’s state government doesn’t deem my home worthy of real internet, I’ve been unable to start a blog until today, three days before departing for Ecuador. This is my intro/test blog.

In Ecuador I’ll be participating in a program offered by a company called Child Family Health International (CFHI). CFHI provides international service-learning opportunities for pre-med or medschool students, and then takes the proceeds to give back to the communities that host the programs. While the mission of CFHI as a company is charitable, and we the participants will have opportunities to volunteer to help people in the area by, for example, teaching english on the weekends, the impetus for taking part in the program is not really a charitable one. For me, the program represents an opportunity to gain valuable clinical experience that will be vital both in my decision to apply, and–if I decide for sure that it’s what I want to do–in the actual application process for med school. I do hope to be given the chance to volunteer around the community, but there is no question that the primary beneficiary of this trip will be me. I hope that doesn’t sound as if my intentions are selfish, but in the recent weeks, many people I’ve talked to have gotten confused about the nature of my trip. I just wanted to clarify that, while I’d love to get the chance to help out in Quito and Puyo in any way I can, I am not going to be changing anybody’s life or anything like that. I’m just trying to get a taste of the nature of the medical field, practice my Spanish, have a little fun, and most importantly learn as much as possible about the eclectic collection of cultures gathered in and around the rainforest.

I’ll be blogging at least once every other week, hopefully much more often than that, but since I’m not entirely sure what my internet situation is going to look like in Quito, I can’t say for certain. Realistically, Mars has better interent availability than Vermont, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Quito was also an improvement.

If you’re so inclined, you can follow my writings here by bookmarking this page or subscribing to the RSS feed. (Feel free to shoot me an email at if you’re unsure about how to do so, but if you’ve seen this blog in the first place, you’re probably in the address book of the human RSS feed, my father, and so I wouldn’t worry about not getting notified when a new blog pops up.)

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And finally, I just wanted to thank Kirsti Zitar, Dr. Edward Haley, and everyone at Claremont McKenna’s Center for Human Rights Leadership for funding and supporting me!