The ESPINA project was established in 2008 with the aim of assessing the effects of pesticide exposure in the development of children living in agricultural settings. Over the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure of working with the team at the Cimas Foundation, helping with data collection for the 14-year follow-up of participants.
Everyday around 6:00 am, we leave Quito and head to the different parishes (parroquias) of Pedro Moncayo, spending about 5 days at each parroquia with the goal of collecting data from 24 participants each day. Over a period of two hours, each participant completes a series of assessment aimed at capturing anthropometric measurements, enzymatic activity, neurobehavior and respiratory performance.
Throughout this process, my primary role has been measuring blood levels of acetylcholinesterase and hemoglobin through collecting a drop of blood from each participant. Conducting this work in a fully immersive Spanish environment has been a great learning experience.
Once we’ve seen all the participants for the day, we head back to Quito. After grabbing a quick snack back at my apartment, I usually walk to Parque La Carolina, where I’ve been able to play pick up soccer with the local Quiteños. This has been a great way to stay active and meet people in the city.
The weekends are perfect for going on day trips to visit the scenic mountains that surround Quito. My first weekend here I took a trip to Quilotoa and saw the beautiful lagoon on top of the active volcanic crater.
I’m loving my time here so far and excited to continue exploring this beautiful country!