This morning at 6:45 our alarm went off and neither of us knew where we were. Ha! We had a quick breakfast with the team and got our fill of caffeine. Here I am with Melanie.
I took more pills than I've ever taken at one time to ward off Malaria, motion sickness and altitude sickness. Holy Moses. Quito is way up there, folks. Especially for sea level-dwellers like myself. I had a little snooze on the bus thanks to Dramamine and before long we arrived in the beautiful, rural village of Cayambe. Oh, but first we had a quick stop at the equator. No big deal, right?
Cayambe was green and beautiful with lots of little farms. It was like a South American version of an English village.
Our team was greeted at the "Carita Feliz" (Happy Face) child development center by the wonderful teachers and pastor whose church hosts it. One of the things I love about Compassion is how they partner with local churches who are already serving children. Compassion empowers these churches to provide significant ministry for impoverished families in their communities.
We split into several groups to have a "day in the life" experience at the home of a sponsored child. Melanie, Keely, Chris, Carmen, Andrea and I were told to hop in the back of a truck to get to our location. My husband is gonna be proud of me but I guarantee my mom is going to freak when she sees this.
We lived. And that's why I can tell you that it was super fun.
We got to spend a day in the life of Emma (6) and her big brother Alex (8). They live with their grandma and some other extended family members. Their mom passed away a couple of years ago from cancer and their dad isn't in the picture. The children go to school and are part of the child development program, but today they showed us how to work the soil.
We grabbed some tools and headed for the fields.
Abuelita is small and advanced in years, but she showed all of us up. I'm not even kidding. You can't imagine how fast she dug her rows. The rest of us are not going to be able to move tomorrow.
Alex and Emma grabbed Melanie and me by the hand and took us to see their house.
This is Alex's room. We found a letter from his sponsor, Corey, taped to his wall.
Here's sweet Emma's room.
Emma does not have a sponsor yet. Here's a link to a few others from Carita Feliz who also do not have sponsors.
The kids share their dwelling with a food preparation station and some cages of guinea pigs.
The adults live across the path in another building. My impression is this: they are doing the best they can for these children, but they can't care for them alone. That's where Compassion sponsors come in.
The ladies at the child development center brought a wonderful lunch to the family's home and we were able to serve food to Abuelita, Alex, Emma, and two teachers from Carita Feliz. Then we all sat down together and talked. I think we forgot we had translators making this possible. It was a delight.
I started reading Kisses from Katie yesterday on the airplane. Have any of you read that yet? I couldn't stop thinking about the author when I heard Myra, Alex's 20-year-old teacher, describe her passion for these children. Since Alex and Emma don't have a mother, Myra's role in their lives is vital. She goes the extra mile to help them learn things like good hygiene. And she simply loves them.
Melanie and I got to present a big basket of food to Abuelita from the child development center. It will go a long way. Here we are with the kiddos. What a great afternoon it was.
Keely gave Emma a new version of a polaroid picture of herself. She was so happy.
On the way back to the CDC we saw a very strange sight - watermelons growing on a wall.
And then we saw a dog running around on a rooftop. I'm not one to like dogs in foreign countries (ask Sophie how fast I ran from her little bulldog buddy this morning). But this guy was adorable. And confined to a roof.
That's all for tonight, folks. But you can go here to read posts from our whole team of bloggers. Hasta luego!