Saturday, February 7, 2015

Saturday, February 7:
We had a very nice and generous breakfast at Posada de Arte, the hotel we spent the night. After breakfast, we went out for some more shopping, and we all met at a cafe for lunch. We continue to share and enjoy each others' company.
After lunch, we loaded up the bus and set out for the long bus ride to Quito.
We visited Casa Gabriel and met Phil and Debbie Douce and the boys who live there.  We listened to a life story from a boy named Sydney, who spent much of his time on the streets of Shell.  He has had a bumpy road, and it gives us a different perspective of our own difficulties. We bought some crafts, pizza was ordered, and we had a good time there.
We arrived at the airport early, and are waiting to check in for our long flights toward home!

Friday, February 6, 2015

We packed our bags in preparation for the trip home, and then went to Casa de Fe. Today we went on an outing with a group of the preschool age children. Each of our team was paired with one child to watch over during the outing. We walked from Casa de Fe down the hill to the river park to wait for the bus to pick us up. It rained!
We rode to a public swimming pool.  We had a quick traditional snack with some singing. Those children who wanted to swim then went into the pool for swimming!  It was a great day. It was very hard to say goodbye.
We had lunch at Esmeraldita's, and then we loaded the bus.  Our driver's name is Byron, who drove the group from Casa de Fe last year.  Mark, his wife Cynthia, and their son, Mark Daniel, joined us on the ride to Banos. It was a sunny day, and the views were very pretty.
We arrived at Banos 2:45 pm.  We spent the afternoon walking the streets to look at the many tourist shops. Banos is nestled in the mountains and is a beautiful town.
We had a "taste of Ecuador" supper, served family style, which was very good. We were served trout, quinoa with vegetables, fried plantains, potato cakes with cheese served with peanut sauce, and salad.

Today we continued with grounds work.  Six banana trees were transplanted to the new garden area.  The raised garden rows were reinforced after we had a rain fall, and then sand and mulch added to the muddy soil there for better gardening.  Jaime, Rae and Rachel cleared some of the wetland with machetes while Lexie and Andrea weeded the fruit tree and garden path area.
Once Hernan and Jeff, Dave and Chris were ready, all-hands were once again called down to help handle the gates. Once again, the gates were fitted successfully. The Tias from the Casa treated everyone to iced tea and bread with mora jam. 
Carol spent a long time writing Valentine's Day cards for each of the 58 children. Lexie, Andrea, Rae, Rachel and Jon joined in to help decorate the cards at the end of the work day.
After lunch, we returned to the Casa to do some more work on the grounds clearing the garden path by the tilapia ponds and pruning the trees. 
At the end of the work day, we had some time with the children, and said our good-bye's to those we would not be working with anymore on this trip. The maestros Hernan and Jaime are so friendly and have a lot of humor. The Tias and staff at Casa de Fe are also very friendly, and are efficient, knowledgeable, and caring with the children. We will miss working with them all.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Today most of us spent the day at the Casa with the children. Jon helped chisel away at the mound of clothing, and spent time with some of the children reading. 
Jeff and Dave continued their work with Hernan on the Gates, preparing the hinges for the next day.
We had Chinese with Mark and his family and Rebecca.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

We had another hard day of work. Jeff, Dave, and Hernan continued working on the gates while Carol and Jon worked again with Mandy helping her with categorizing and sorting donations. Rachel, Andrea, Rae, and Lexie worked with Jaime on the grounds clearing and mulching more fruit trees, and clearing more waterways.  Lunch again at Alexander's was very good.
After so much careful planning and measuring to place the hinges for the gates, the guys were ready to attempt to mount the first gate.  All hands were called in to help lift. The very heavy gate fit perfectly!  Hernan's joy at the success was immediately apparent. The gates are the major goal for our visit, and it appears that all four doors will be in place before we leave.
Andrea, Lexie, Rachel and Rae went up with Jaime to work on the future garden area.  This garden is planned to provide enough produce to allow Casa de Fe to be more self-sufficient, and hopefully to produce a surplus to use as a fund raising product. The area now is very wet and boggy. We were there to dig drainage canals, and this day was the muddiest yet!
We were invited to have supper with Mark and his wife, Cynthia at their home.  There we met another friendly missionary family, Andy and Priscilla and their three children. Cynthia prepared a wonderful Peruvian dish, and Priscilla provided a delicious banana desert.

Monday, February 2, 2015


We are falling a bit behind on blogging. The days are full and the work is hard. The team has come back exhausted. Monday was the start of work week. It started as it had for the last 9 days in Shell, looking as if it would rain all day. A number of us have already been soaked. But, of coarse, God has a sense of humor. As soon as the work started the clouds broke and the sun beat down. Even our seasoned  veterans did not put sunscreen on and fried!

The first thing we did was have the group meet the maestros, Hernan and Jaime. Each morning begins with them in prayer. 

The first job was an all-hands-on-deck type as we loaded up the gates in the truck to bring them down to where they would be put into place. They are metal and very large. Of course, what gets loaded has to be unloaded! After that we split up into groups. Dave ind Jeff worked with Hernan to get the gates ready to hang. The others went with Jaime to play Ninga! With machetes in hand they hacked away at the brush, clearing part of the never-ending jungle creep away from the river and pathway. Lexie and Andrea also weeded and mulched around the young banana, orange and palm trees. Rachel and Rae begin clearing debris from the multiple drainage ditches, something badly needed in all areas unless one wants a bog. As you will see in one picture, Andrea was knee deep in a bog. Carol and Jon  worked with Mandy, organizing and unpacking the needs list items we brought down. They are always happy and surprised at the amount  we bring down.

We enjoy siesta at noon. We walk into town for lunch at Alexanders. Meals are simple, but generous and delicious.