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.
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!
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.