Wednesday morning the first thing we decided to do was provide for the children at Ramar. Our group piled into the tight van and drove to the location where we’d find a stove. At a discount, because we paid in cash, we got a 5 propane burner, cast iron, 15 year warranted stove. Bryan and another one of our guides/interpreters stayed behind to pay for and go with the stove and a driver back to Ramar while the rest of the group went on ahead to the mall.
Yes, the mall. Here we bought out the store’s $2 pillows, $1 pillowcases, and 35 bottles of lice shampoo. All that we needed was five dollars to provide each child with one of each plus a bottle of shampoo per two children.
Bryan had said that when him and our interpreter arrived with the new stove, Beatrice was so happy and grateful. When she saw the new hose for the stove she said to the other volunteer, “Now we don’t have to worry about blowing up.” Beatrice and the other workers were wrapping a wet washcloth around the cracked and broken old hose every time they needed to use the stove.
The rest of our group arrived with the new pillows, cases and shampoo and before the children came out to receive their brand new pillow we went ahead and put the cases on for them, leaving the plastic wrap on the pillows themselves to help deter the lice. When they girls came out to receive the pillows, they were so grateful, hugging and clutching onto their new treasure. The boys, of course, started pillow fighting. All in all, they were so happy. The children even learned and told us thank you in English.
After the pillows, the men brought in and hooked up the new stove. The workers were delighted when they turned a burner on and it worked. The looks on their faces were pure joy.
Later that day we stopped at another orphanage to revisit from the last trip. When they previous group came down before they saw the need for more space so the lady who ran the place could keep it open. We saw a before picture of the empty unused space and the results of their work- a new covered porch for the children to play inside.
We didn’t stay long because this orphanage was on the list to visit and provide for the next time the Dandor Amor group came to Ecuador. However, we left the children with coloring books, crayons, and fun colored and shaped sunglasses.
Thursday we walked and visited two Catholic orphanages. One orphanage was for only boys and another for both genders as well as a nursing home type place for older people.
In the first orphanage for boys, we met two feisty nuns whom you wouldn’t want to get on their bad side. Dogs are like vermin in Ecuador, and so one of the nuns was saying that she would walk with the children outside the orphanage, and when encountered by barking and vicious dogs would turn to them saying, “I am on a mission from God. You will stop your barking and leave these children.” And with that they dogs would turn tail and run. She would also do this to the snakes in the jungle when she was doing work out there.
This was also the home of boy who has since been adopted and now living with a family here in America. They keep his photo as a testimony that God does work for good in the lives of these children. And while not all are adopted out, a lot are, but they are all taken care of and given a chance at survival when it’s time to leave the home.
The second Catholic orphanage was the one for boys and girls as well as the older people who could no longer live on their own. While most of our group went on to take a tour of this location, a couple people went with the main people who run the place to discuss things for the orphanage.
When all was said and done, the rest of us learned that a girl who was about to leave the orphanage was going to have schooling, books, and whatever else she needed provided for to become a doctor. We saw her tear stained face show so much gratitude, so overcome by the love that she had just been shown, and grateful for the wonderful path that has been placed before her.
Before we left, a young woman had run up to the locked gates to see Rex. We learned that she was once an orphan, caused by her father killing her mother and almost killing her. Rex was the father she never had, so when she heard about him being in town, she left work and ran to where we were just to see him. She now has a good job, a wonderful husband, and beautiful new baby.
From here we flew out on Thursday night and back into our first city for a night of rest and two more orphanage the next day.