Operation Rainbow Team Member Spotlight
Savannah Nickols – Team Coordinator & Translator

Flying into Guayaquil, Ecuador I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the coastal city. Again, I was mesmerized as I rode the bus to Cuenca through the luscious Andes Mountains. However, as I stood on top of the hill in Turi, Ecuador overlooking the vast basin of Cuenca overflowing with small houses stacked on top of each other to accommodate a population of 700,000 I was momentarily concerned knowing our small team of volunteers was not capable of meeting the needs of everyone in just one short week. But then I remembered the true purpose of Operation Rainbow, teaching.

The compassionate Operation Rainbow surgeons shared their expertise with local doctors and nurses while the team spent the week immersed in their culture. It brings me immense joy to be a part of something so powerful. With almost 50 surgeries performed during the week and so many more children and young adults receiving non-surgical intervention, it is fulfilling to know their lives were drastically changed by Operation Rainbow’s simple desire to help. Even more so, it is extremely encouraging to know that long after our team has left, the local health professionals are equipped and able to perform these much-needed surgeries for their people.

These medical mission trips truly bring to light how seamlessly the entire healthcare team works together to coordinate the care of each surgery recipient and their family. From pre-operative care, surgery, post-surgery/anesthesia care, to the physical therapy team and translators, as well as the wonderful coordinators working behind the scenes, every single team member plays a crucial role on the trip. Yet, even while we all have our own distinct role, the one thing I enjoy most about these missions is the opportunity the learn from one another.

I am honored to have been a part of this wonderful team of volunteers and so grateful to have spent the week surrounded by the beautiful smiles of the people of Ecuador. I have been fortunate enough to participate on four medical missions, and each time I am again humbled by the ability of the small team of volunteers to drastically change the lives of hundreds of people. It has been a truly unforgettable experience.