Sunday, July 31, 2011

Baby Time

I’ve been doing “Baby Time” for about an hour every morning this summer. A month ago, I wasn’t too sure this was what I wanted to be doing, but they needed someone to be in charge of the teams’ time with the babies in the mornings, so I volunteered…. not knowing, of course, that I would still be doing it 4 weeks later. It’s probably a good thing it happened that way, because I’m not sure I would have volunteered to do it later on in the summer, and I’ve really come to enjoy having that time to spend with the babies, because unless I make a point to go to the Baby Room during my “free time”, I don’t see them much. And, oh, are they precious! These are the babies:


                    Amanda just turned 5. As you can see in the picture, she has a beautiful smile. She is so gorgeous!





    Julianna loves to be sung to and her laugh is super contagious. And she has the cutest glasses.




      Denis is a little heartbreaker – he has the longest eyelashes I’ve ever seen and he has the sweetest smile. I’m hoping he will be able to walk all by himself before I leave!




I remember Frixon as a tiny little baby two summers ago…. he’s grown so much! Now he can roll over and prop himself up and “crawl” across the floor. He’s so sweet.



Diego is pretty small, but he’s always on the go! His hair was so funny when I first got here, because he had a mullet and a fohawk going on. He absolutely loves it when you blow on his face.




Moises is really quiet, but curious. If you don’t keep an eye on him, he’ll be gone as soon as you turn your back (guess how I know?). He’s still a little bit shaky, but he’s just learned how to walk by himself!




I can’t even tell you how precious Dolly is!! She has a special wheelchair and she loves to be outside and to listen to music… and she doesn’t seem to mind the silly songs I make up for her.




Thelmo is another little heartbreaker. He’s loves to cuddle the most out of all the babies and he just wails when you put him back in his crib. Sooo precious!





Esther is chubby! She pretends she can’t walk so that people carry her around all the time…. I didn’t realize that until about a week after I got here when I saw her running across the house. She’s quite hilarious.





Rayana is blind, but, to quote a lady from the team last week, “has the face of an angel”. She is super ticklish and when you really get her laughing, she blows bubbles!




Mishell is so funny and she’s always smiling. She loves to play rough and she’s learned how to roll across the floor in less than 15 seconds (so you have to keep an eye on her, too!). I found out this week that she loves to be tickled with long grass, bahahaha.





Karlita is the sweetest little girl. Like Esther, she pretends she can’t walk, but she really can. She’s easily entertained and she sings to herself when she’s in her crib.





Jacob Israel is our youngest and tiniest baby. He’s just learning to prop himself up on his elbows to make sure people see him in his bed!



Photo creds to: Laura Mathiason & Asia Barlett for some of the pics!

La Casa de Arbol

Two weekends ago we went on a massive fieldtrip to La Casa de Arbol – a 10-story tree house! Between the volunteers and the team that was here that week there we had a 1:1 ratio with the kids, so we each had a partner for the day. Ivan was my partner (this wasn't from that day, but I just LOVE this picture!!):


We spent the morning swimming at a pool there, exploring a maze of caves, and looking at animals they had in cages along the paths.


We took a break and left for lunch (no, the cuy (guinea pigs) were not for eating… yet, anyways). The kids at my table were served fish… and the fish was still “intact”, shall we say. It was actually quite yummy. We did get a kick out of watching the kids eat the lemons though: P1170810



After lunch we went back and climbed the tree house in the pouring rain – it was quite the feat!
(pictures to come of the tree house!!)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

In a Nutshell..

Well. Apparently I’m really bad at keeping a blog, haha. SO much has been happening.
Although things were pretty structured, I still got to be involved in a lot of different aspects of work here at Casa de Fe. I’ve been in charge of “baby time” with the short-term teams...
Karlita <3
...helping lead Kindergarten activities... 
Kevin shows off his artwork
Tati and Greis get dressed for the ball

... helping with “Bible Time” with all of the older kids (toddlers and up!)...
...helping lead Pre-Kindergarten activities...
Sheyla and Nila

 ...supervising and planning “field trips”...
"Teacher! Es frio!"
My swimming partner, Kevin,
decided the water was too cold,
so we played soccer instead.
He's cute.

... and helping plan and lead large group activities...
On Tuesday I got to help with construction on what will be the new school building! We poured 3/5 of the second floor. Words will never be sufficient to describe what we did that day, but in a nutshell: We spent 12 hours shovelling rocks and sand into buckets and then carrying these heavy buckets to the cement mixer. It rained most of the day and it had been dark for a few hours when we finally finished. I can honestly say that I never done work that is so physically taxing for so long in my entire life. They gave the volunteers Wednesday morning off, which we were so grateful for, because all of us could hardly move (I found out that, yes, even muscles in your fingers and toes can ache!). Now that I’ve done construction, I appreciate that aspect of work here all the more.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Only in Ecuador...

... can you buy a fistful of cilantro for $0.25
...  is it apparently socially acceptable for a man to say to you and your friend, “Hello. I love you” as you pass him on the street
... will you share your kitchen & shower with cockroaches and be o.k. with it (although our initial screams might cause our neighbours to think otherwise!)

... will there be a water pump in your window that shakes and makes a terrible noise waking you up in the middle of the night every time someone in the house drains water
... will you make a bruchetta in a pan that’s so old that the top layer of the pan sticks to the bottom of your bread... and you don’t find it until after you’ve eaten it!
... can you manage to sleep with a rooster next door (who feels obligated to crow every half hour from 2am-7am), a broken water pump in your window, your neighbours doing karaoke (including a painful rendition of “Poker Face”) until sunrise, torrential rain and bugs.
... can you go shopping at the same store 3 times in one afternoon
... will you have random guys “psssssst”-ing you
... will you get up at 5am to go to the market to get fresh fruits & vegetables

Friday, July 1, 2011

14 Americans and The Canadian

I am home! I’m sitting in my bedroom in my new house and I can’t believe how un-strange this feels. The sights and smells and tastes are so familiar and it just feels like home.  
I met up with a team that’s come to Shell for the week at the airport in Atlanta, which was fantastic, because I wasn’t too sure about coming into Ecuador alone. I could have done it if I had to have, but it was nice to be with a group.  There's 14 of them on the team, and I was adopted as "The Canadian". They are constantly checking to see if everyone was all there throughout the day and the leader would call out, "Yup. Fourteen Americans and the Canadian". It's good to be loved. :P  
We all stayed at a missionary guesthouse in Quito last night. One of the girls I worked with at Casa de Fe last summer had come back for a few weeks and she was at the same guesthouse last night, so we stayed up talking and she caught me up on the happenings at the orphanage! It was good to see a familiar face in a city far from home.
This morning we began our trek to Shell. We manoeuvred around crazy drivers, construction, bumpy roads and stray dogs and we arrived late this afternoon! We unpacked the bus and then I brought my bags to my new home for the next few weeks – the bottom half of a missionary family’s house. They’re currently back in the United States for a while, so the volunteers are keeping their house company. My bedroom is is pretty big, and I have my own bathroom!
You won’t (or shouldn’t) be surprised to hear that as soon as my stuff was in the house, I made a bee-line for the orphanage. It was a little strange going alone, but that was okay. You have to walk down a huge hill and then up a smaller one to get to their new property and I could see the new building from really far away. It was probably the longest walk of my life – I just couldn’t get their fast enough.
I walked in the front door and the kids were sitting in the main room watching a movie. The first one to see me was Ivan. He looked at me, and tilted his head and then his eyes got really wide as he recognized me. His smile was the most beautiful thing in the world.

Ivan pre-Big Smile. :)

The next one was Dubi. Little Dubiasca. She ran over to hug me and then she went and sat back down in her chair. Then she looked at me and looked at me again, and then her eyes got really big. She screamed “Miss Charito!” and jumped out of her chair and ran back for another hug. Priceless!

Little Dubi <3.
There’s a number of kids that were there last summer who, for a variety of reasons, aren’t there anymore. It was a little sad not to see them, but it was also really encouraging to know that most of them were able to be reconciled with their families. Most of the older kids and some of the younger kids remembered me and all tried to pile on top of me in a giant group hug/human web of arms and legs and smiles.
 Some kids were happy to see me.... 

Others, not so much.... 
Haha, Martin tries to impress me with his angry face. :)

I didn’t stay for long, because I was supposed to meet up with some of the other volunteers for supper. I met most of them this evening and I’m really looking forward to working with them and sharing Casa de Fe adventures.

It’s so good to be back.

The Beginning

(this is from yesterday!):

Well. I’m really not sure where to start.
I’m sitting in Pearson Airport in Toronto waiting to board my flight to Atlanta.... and then to Quito, Ecuador!
I’ve been saying that the reality of this trip has been hitting me over the past few weeks, but this morning I realized how untrue that was – it didn’t hit me until this morning: I am going to be going to sleep in Quito tonight! This is actually happening! I had a few moments of initial terror and wondering what on earth I was doing, but Perfect Love casts out all fear and my burden to go back is stronger than any feelings of hesitancy.
Anyways, my plane is about to board, so... here I go!