Be the Cause


Ever since landing safe and sound in Quito on Saturday we have been busy.  We helped Barney (yes the real purple dinosaur) hand out Christmas gifts to 300 children in the north part of the city on Sunday – what an experience!  Children waited in line for over an hour for a mere bag of candy and (what we would consider a cheap) toy.  The thing that struck many of us in working with those children was the care and concern so many of them demonstrated for their smaller siblings (hermanas y hermanos).  Six and seven year olds were caring for infants and toddlers, holding their hands, ensuring that they participated and recieved attention.  The other very sad part was the number of children left out, banging on the doors, trying to get in.  The Foundation only had a specific number of gifts to distribute and had handed out certificates the previous week to most needy families for admittance; however, I am hard pressed to distinguish levels of need in this deprived country.  We have learned a lot about the corruption and graft that prevent so much good from reaching these people.  There are many both within the country and outside who struggle to get goods and services to these families, but are thwarted by the need to pay bribes and the endless stalling that customs puts them through.

Yesterday we travelled 3-4 hours through the Andes to reach another major city called Santo Domingo.  We would drive for miles along winding mountain roads only to happen upon a peice of plastic suspended from a stick that was sheltering a mother and her children.  Nothing around for miles and miles and it was desperately cold – what were they doing out there in the middle of nowhere with nothing?, we wondered as we sped past, safe and warm in our chaffeured van.   It feels as if you could never do enough and it´s so hard to see so many that you just don´t have the resources or time to help.

When I think about my life back in the states it seems so unreal compared to this – like a giant plastic bubble floating in pink clouds of cotton candy.  It has really hit home to me why people like Eveny give up so much and work so hard to come to the United States, and why they continue working so hard once they´ve gained residency.  It would seem as if you were granted this phenomenal chance that millions and millions of other people will never get to have, no matter how hard to they work or try.  No matter how hard things may seem to be for any of us living in California, remember always how much we have and that there is so much available for us to give and share.


Lap of Luxury!

Well all of us are feeling extremely guilty having landed ourselves in the lap of luxury on a service vacation!  The president of the local Rotary Club happens to own a very very nice hotel in the better section of Quito and has put the group up at a greatly reduced rate.  We have carpeted rooms with blow dryers and coffee in the lobby and a great restaurant that serves a complete breakfast buffet for $4 American.  It seems a crime to be feeling so spoiled!  We are heading out this morning to work with 300 children (each of us are to be assigned 20 kids apiece to play with – my Canyon Acres friends will laugh to think of me back in the mix again without even being able to speak the language!)  I am looking forward to getting back into the “service” part of this vacation because – as wonderful as Machu Picchu was – it really didn´t give me the same kind of high as I felt working with the children at the orphanage in Cusco or the dancing with the wheelchair recipients our second day.  When I look back at the pictures I feel that overwhelming sense of connection and love that all of us experienced and just want to be able to share that with the Ecuadorians also.  More later!   (And I keep forgetting that it´s almost Christmas. There are so few indications of it here compared to back home.  It i not commercialized at all and there is so much more emphasis placed on the nativity and spiritual aspects of this holiday.  In any case, I wish all of you a very warm and loving holiday; hopefully you will be with those you love…)

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