A Journey Up the Cayapas River

Ron Guderian ’67 Visits the People and Places in Ecuador
Where He Worked as a Missionary Doctor for Many Years

By Hannah Notess | Photos by Bear Guerra

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Life on the Río Cayapas

A Journey Up the River

Shortly after stepping off the canoe in San Jose de Cayapas, Guderian runs into an old friend who asks him to look at an eye ailment (which proves to be cataracts).

In the community of Loma Linda, Guderian shares a laugh with Gloria Añapa, the daughter of his former boat driver, Franco Añapa (foreground). Gloria is now a teacher at the bilingual high school in Loma Linda.

In Loma Linda, Guderian climbs the ladder into a traditional open-walled Chachi house belonging to Franco Añapa.

During the first stop on his itinerary at a clinic in Quininde, Guderian visits with Carlos Sandoval (right), a lab technician whom he has known for over 40 years, and Martha Chico (left) a medical doctor. Sandoval and Chico are long-time friends and colleagues who worked alongside Guderian in several field projects.

Maps on the wall in the Zapallo Grande health center display the incidences of different diseases along the Río Cayapas. These public health efforts were initiated during Guderian's time working in the region.

Guderian chats with an old friend waiting outside the health center in Zapallo Grande.

Guderian and his former student, Phil Cooper (left), a researcher through Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, visit with staff members at the health center in Zapallo Grande. Guderian built this health center in the early 1990s, and it continues to provide essential care for the communities throughout the Río Cayapas region.

Guderian visits with an old friend waiting for treatment at the health center in Zapallo Grande.

During a service in his honor at the Baptist Church in Anchayacu, Guderian receives a plaque from one of the first students to graduate from a school that the doctor helped establish in the community, and which bears his name. The former student is now teaching at the school.

Guderian and his brother-in-law, Phil Corey (right) enjoy dinner with Pastor Felix Valencia (left), in Anchayacu.