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May - June Update
Stewart & Anna-Claire Cusick

It’s a beautiful Sunday in Shell today, the sun is out, it’s not raining for a change, birds are tweeting and it’s nice to be back in Shell.  Yes, I say back in Shell because as most of you will know we were in Ireland for the first 2 weeks of June.  This was a very last-minute trip and, when we were writing our last update, we weren’t even thinking about a trip home until we had finished our 2 years in January 2023.  However, 3 weeks before we left Anna-Claires job had conveniently decided to give her vacations that coincided with her brother returning to Ireland from Australia for the first time in over 5 years.  He was returning to surprise her parents who were also returning from the Philippines.  Even with the holidays coinciding we didn’t think we could return to Ireland due to the lack of funds but thankfully her brother offered to pay and a few days later we had them booked.  There was a bit of a mad scramble to sort out vaccine certs and tidy up some lose ends in work before we could travel but it all worked out well and we were off for a well-earned rested!!  All starting with a lovely 2-day journey on buses and planes.

Our time at home…

We don’t think we made it to bed one night before 1pm the whole trip and Stewart managed to regain the 8kg of weight that he had lost in Ecuador.  It was a great time catching up with family, friends and supporters and the highlight was having the whole McMahon family together again with the 3 partners for the first time in nearly 6 years.  There really is too much to tell so these pictures below will show a few of the great times had.

Getting back to our home in Ecuador…

So, the day before we were to leave Ireland, we heard there were protests and roadblocks in the province we live.  Due to the Indigenous population unhappiness at the president and cost of food, healthcare, and fuel.  Therefore, we may find it hard to get back to Shell.  But regardless, we had our tickets booked and we were ready to get back to work.  Unfortunately, when we landed in Guayaquil there were no buses or private taxis able to take us the 9-hour journey to Shell due to the protests and blockades.  We, therefore, had to sit tight in a hotel in Guayaquil for 3 nights, which didn’t turn out to be all bad because after the trip home we needed a holiday to recover.  But it became apparent after the first day, with the tension escalating, that there was not an end in sight and we needed to get back to Shell.  Luckily with Shell having an airport this wasn’t impossible but to get a flight we would have to get to Quito and for this we also had to take a flight.  So, after 5 flights, 3 days and Shell airport staying open 30 minutes after closing we finally made it home to Shell.

The protests and blockades…

We arrived in Shell and Stewart spent the first day back stocking up on food and finding what gas was left in town.  For us it’s an inconvenience but the longer it goes on it really starts to hurt the most underprivileged people here.  We have money to stock up on food but most people live hand to mouth and currently can’t get to work to make a living.  Gas prices, if you can find them, are $20 to fill a tank which was $3.50 before we left.  Some food is running out of stock, prices are rising and fuel for cars is running short again.  There doesn’t look like there is any sign of this situation being resolved and for many people this will push them to their limits of what has already been a tough few years.  The worry now is that the protesters stop the electricity or water and then it will get very tricky.

Straight to work…

Anna-Claire was straight to work the next day after we arrived for a 7 day straight.  She had to work the whole weekend as, due to the strikes, may doctors can’t make it to work.  Luckily, or unluckily for her, she lives and works in Shell, whereas some of her colleagues are traveling from Puyo (the city/town next to us) which may require them to cross rivers on foot as the road is closed.  The health center has been pretty busy during her first few days back as people can’t get to the main hospital in Puyo unless they have a letter from the center or in an ambulance.  Even then they aren’t always allowed to cross the blockade and things can get tense.

Hospital Shell…

Hospital shell is also struggling with getting staff to work as well as shortages of drugs.  It is currently running a very basic A&E service as there are not enough staff to man all the different departments.  The diesel for the generator is very low and without it they can’t risk doing surgery.  Stewart starts back to work tomorrow and was due to continue to help labs automate their tests but he may be roped into seeing a few patients if this keeps up!!

AC’s trip to the community Meshiant…

Below are a few images of Anna-Claire last trip to the jungle community to provide medical care.  The trip went well and she continues to grow an understanding of the needs of the people but not a pallet for the food.
Prayer Requests
  • Prayer for AC’s visit to the community, that the collaboration between organisation and community would run smoothly and really help to develop closer ties.
  • For Stewart that he would remain patient with the work he wants to do and that he would remember that building relationships is more important than solving the problem.
  • As we approach the 3/4 mark on our time here that God would really make it clear to us our calling, be it here in Shell or elsewhere.
  • Prayer for Stewart as in May he will take his first devotional in the morning in the hospital in Spanish in front of patients and staff and he is a little nervous!
We are extremely grateful for all your loving prayers and support.
Please become part of our work
For those of you who are interested in our support group feel free to contact Hannah Das  We meet once a month via zoom for prayer and a catch up.  We love to hear about peoples lives back home so please join us.
Support Link
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Please see our contact information below.

UK Tel: +447969386770
Ecuador Tel: +593989899371

UK Tel: +447821224993
Ecuador Tel: +593989890445

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Stewart and Anna-Claire Cusick
Hospital Shell
Calle Asunción Cueva

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Stewart and Anna-Claire Cusick Latin Link · 4 The Folly, · Antrim, Co. Antrim BT41 1LY · United Kingdom

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