Medical mission trip

Health science teachers volunteer to provide care in Ecuador


Photo courtesy of Sharon Osborn and Nicole Antenen

Health science teachers Sharon Osborn and Nicole Antenen meet patients in Ecuador during a medical mission trip in August.

Addison Coerver, Staff Writer

When an older man showed up complaining of an ache in his lower right hip, Dr. Larry Miller first thought the protrusion was a bullet – not entirely unheard of for someone who lived through Ecuador’s civil unrest in the 1980s.
But when the patient returned the next day, health science teacher Sharon Osborn thought it sounded like a tooth.
“People can have teeth grow in unusual places,” Osborne said.
But it turned out to be a calcified piece of cartilage in just one of the most unusual experiences Osborn encountered in a medical mission trip to Ecuador with colleague Nicole Antenen in August.
They stayed there for six days as part of a medical mission to help with minor health issues interfering with patients’ daily lifestyle.
“They were some of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met,” Antenen said. “It’s very different from American culture. There is no entitlement in Ecuador; they are grateful for anything we can provide them. It was a much-needed experience for myself.””
This was Antenen’s first time; however, Osborn went to Ecuador in the summer of 2021.
“I was a little worried about going again because I had such a good trip before, and I was worried it was not going to live up to that,” Osborn said
Both said health care workers did not get the respect they deserved.
“I needed to reset and go somewhere that actually appreciated what I did,” Antenen said. “This whole experience allowed me an opportunity to remember why I became a nurse and do the things that I do.”
They plan on going again in June 2023.
“I personally get so much out of it,” Osborn said. “You come back and look at your life and go, ‘You know what? I have nothing to complain about.’ So yes, I will definitely no doubt do this all again.”