Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Spring into Service" in Ecuador!!

“Spring into Service” with Global Volunteers to receive a special limited discount offer for our March and April teams!

Four or more volunteers who apply by January 31 for any of these 28 teams in 16 countries will receive a discount of $200 off our standard service program fee, per volunteer, for one-, two- or three-week international programs or $100 off our standard service program fee, per volunteer, for USA programs. No other discounts apply.

Please encourage others to volunteer in our five fundamental project areas: education (especially promotion of girls education), labor and community infrastructure, health care, child care, and food and nutrition.

Call us at 800-487-1074 for details and we'll assist you every step of the way. Our worldwide host communities can’t wait to welcome you!!

Check out this link for more details & service program dates: http://globalvolunteer.org/special/springspecial.asp

Ecuador Service Program Dates, March & April Teams:
26-Mar-11 to 9-Apr-11

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Vote for Global Volunteers in the Full Page Project Contest!!

From November 15 - November 21 the Star Tribune newspaper is holding a contest entitled 'Full Page Project' amongst MN non-profits and the winner will receive a free full page ad in the Sunday paper!

Please vote for us this week ~ you can vote once per hour!

Here is the link where you can register and then vote for Global Volunteers (please copy and paste the link):

We would also encourage you to pass this link along to your family and friends, and post it on your personal Facebbok page or blog. Let us know if you have any questions, and remember voting has begun!

Thank you for your support.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Final Day in Ecuador...

Team Thought for the Day: "I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live." ~ George Bernard Shaw

Personal Thought for the Day: I will remember this trip for my fellow team members, the gracious Ecuadorian people, the wonderful leadership of Carl Granger, and of course, those cute kids.

Submitted by Volunteer Jane Sauther

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wonderful Ecuador Photo Contest Contributions!

This fall, Global Volunteers asked our amazing volunteers to share some of their favorite service program images with us. We have been thrilled and encouraged by the response, and have already used many of the photos on our website and in new printed materials!! Now, we would love to share with you, a few of our favorite submissions depicting our volunteer service program in Ecuador. ENJOY & thank you volunteers!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

The last day Friday, 30 July 2010

As typist, I’ll add our last notes. Our final day at center 1 was spent much as usual. The morning duties were performed, and then the volunteer team left to walk to center 2 in time for the 11:00 farewell celebration. John, Peggy, Karen, and Kristina scrambled around finishing up last minute projects and pitching in at both centers. Meanwhile the center 2 crew helped with the preparations for the performance. This started very early in the morning and resulted in lots of dressed up and “ready” little performers having to wait for what seemed an interminable period of time to dance. We were thrilled and intrigued by the traditional dance costumes in which the children were dressed. Apparently each class had been instructed to dress in a particular style, so children game with genuine and makeshift versions of outfits, including embroidered white shirts, sashes, hats, kerchiefs, and even black makeup for painting faces. The black painted faces were a particular challenge for us helpers, as the outfits for that dance were all white for the boys…

When 11:00 rolled around, we were treated to dances by each class, thank you cards and dough ornament gifts and kind words and multiple hugs from our hosts from the center. We, in turn, presented the ladies of FUNDAC and our tias with a poem (see below), our heartfelt gratitude for this learning experience, and some treats for the little ones from a piñata.

At the end of the day, when it was time for some of us to go to Cecelia’s to see the demonstration of ornament making (and later for the others), many of us were tearful and moved at the moment of saying “chau”. For me, as I hugged my tia, I thought of how she is only a year or so older than my daughter, and I thought of the vast difference in their two lives. I wished I could make her life easier – or at least more fair. When the few children up from nap hugged me, I wished them luck with their new government’s free education initiative and their slowly growing economy.

I also had a few minutes of being overwhelmed by what a little drop this two weeks of work was in the big outdoor washing sink of work faced by our world’s poor. But I knew as we made our way down the dirt road from center 2 to center 1 for the last time, that we had, indeed, touched some lives. Our smiles, sweat, soup-dipping, pantomimes, bad mopping, songs, and words of encouragement in English or elementary Spanish, and even our money had brightened the lives of the children, their tias, and the women of the community trying to help them. Every little bit counts, right?

¡Si se puede!

En este mundo tan lindo y tan grande,
Yo soy unico
Yo soy especial
Hena de amor, y de inteligencia

Yo puedo realizar mis sueños
Siendo una mujer fuerte, y siempre haciendo mi trabajo
Con amor
Con orgullo
Y con gusto

Porque sé que

¡Si se puede!

Yes, I Can

In this beautiful and great world
I am unique
I am very special, and full of love.
I am intelligent.

I can reach my goals by being a strong woman (person) and by always doing my work.
With love, with pride, and with pleasure.
Yes, I can!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday 29 July 2010

Message of the day:

“A long life is not good enough but, a good life is long enough.” Unknown

I am not usually a believer in horoscopes, but when Kristina read mine on Sunday and let me know that I was going to have a “challenging week” then I proceeded to get sick and had several crazy days in a row, I almost became a believer. The town of Calderon yesterday put all my petty “challenges” into perspective. As this trip comes to an end and I go home to my house with clear, hot water, a bed I don’t’ have to share with several others (potty trained or not), and more food than is necessary, I have to be mindful of all those in the world who have more/bigger challenges than is fair. Even though I found myself counting to 10 many times in order not to show my frustration with a student or I wanted to “critique” what the tias were doing – I cannot even imagine their true daily challenges and I now realize that what they are doing at the two centers is amazing considering their living situations and resources. The fact that Yesinia and Rubi (and the other tias) are teacher, nurse, custodian and also happily and willingly spending more time studying and learning English is inspiring. Wherever my luggage is – it’s just “stuff” and in the big picture is nothing compared to the real challenges of others.

Entry and message submitted by Linda

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Message of the day:

“In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”

Mother Theresa

It helps to be a heavy sleeper in this hotel, which never sleeps. As we gather around the breakfast table, you hear snippets of conversation about he late night repairs (was it banging on a pipe? Hammering?), the trash truck with its loud beeps and workers calling to and fro at 2 am, the rowdy guests who return at midnight, or the hotel staff children who run and laugh in the lobby and hallways until way past our bedtimes. These hotel walls are like rice paper, allowing the activities of the hotel to permeate your slumber. Of course, it doesn’t help that we all fall into our beds at 8:30/9pm and what appears to be the middle of the night disruption is only 9:45!

Our days at centers 1 and 2 were much like any other day with complete mayhem, laughter, and tears. When I asked Linda on the bus ride home what she had done for the day, she wearily commented, “I herded cats.” Several tias at center 1 worked alongside volunteers to complete the art project of classroom supplies pockets, learning enormous amounts of children divided among the already large classes to be supervised by the remaining tias and workers. Classroom sizes swelled to above 20 in those tiny rooms, making access to your neighbor even easier to pinch, push, hit, and take things. Sarah’s highlight was to take the class outside in the covered area to play with the ball. One child managed to kick the ball over the railing and into the street below. Sarah’s very accurate reporting of the story stated that a police officer found the ball and tossed it back over the railing, then she said “gracias” and he said “de nada.” Her four years of Spanish really paid off.

At Center 2, the crying was magnified by the addition of several new students who sobbed uncontrollably after their moms left. By lunchtime they had settled into their new routines, except for the new one in my toddler class. He cried steadily all day yesterday on his first day, so much so he couldn’t eat or drink at any meals. The same woeful sobbing continues today, adding to the wails of the other toddlers as they were brutalized by the two gangster baby boys. Yesterday, the new boy broke my heart with his cries. Today I was over it; he needed to get with the program. With 11 babies in that classroom, there is no time to hold him. Fortunately, Kristina came up for awhile and, as she said, pushed his mute button when she picked him up.

Kristina’s main goal in our classroom was to purchase a vacuum cleaner for the carpet John and Tia Patty worked hard at installing. With much deliberation and rearranging, the room was eventually divided into two separate areas – a conglomeration of cribs tightly fitted together on one side, and on open area with carpeting on the other side I’d call this a play area since that’s where all the toys are located, but the children are rarely allowed to touch the toys, so we’ll just call it the run around and fall and get a bloody nose area (we had 2 bloody noses yesterday). The carpet is filthy, no matter how many times Tia Patty sweeps and sweeps, which brings us back to Kristina arriving with a brand new vacuum cleaner in the afternoon. Since I haven’t seen a Target or Sears, I’m not sure where she located one in Calderon, but it arrived in our classroom and we spent until the end of the day chastising the children not to touch it, over and over and over again. Why the box couldn’t be moved to the hallway to eliminate the temptation was beyond me, but then again, I didn’t see any harm in letting them touch the box either. I’m anxious to see if the dust clouds will be gone.

The construction at center 2 is nearly complete. Peggy and Karen are finishing up loose ends in the courtyard while John installed shelving in the toddler classroom. The new soccer goals have arrived and are so small and cute. There continue to be plenty of community volunteers helping, which isn’t all that helpful when a child inside spots their mom in the backyard through a window. But what’s one more child crying? There were a lot of giggles and wiggles as Mary, Bobbie, and Breanna’s classes rehearsed their dance recitals for Friday’s goodbye celebration. At the end of the day the kids got their last snack – a concoction of brown and white beans with sliced onions, that they eagerly devoured. We tried to imagine presenting that to American children instead of Oreo cookies.

I guess as adults we are not much different from our children with our addiction to junk food. Instead of another healthy home cooked meal of soup and potatoes, we opted for pizza, and oh, have we all looked forward to it! And even better yet, it tasted like American pizza with lots of cheese, veggies, and meats. We devoured the pizzas greedily, only to have us so full and carb overloaded that some people napped through our nighttime entertainment. Marin reserved tickets for an Ecuadorian folk dance at a local theater. The musicians were fabulous; the costumes were elaborate and colorful. However, the theater was hot, the show was long, and some of the dances were a big slow, and there were no refreshments at intermission, all leading to perfect conditions to yawn or snooze a bit. The one dance number which stood out for me was the maypole dance. I enjoyed it because of the festive music and the intricate weaving and unweaving of the ribbons around the pole, but mostly it captured my attention with the dancing clowns, the largest of which danced in front of Breanna, who is terrified of clowns. Fortunately, she kept her composure and was able to participate in the finale when dancers drew up audience members from their seats and danced for everyone.

Hump day is over now, and I’m certain we will all be asleep within moments of our return. It’s 10pm and now we are the loud and late night guests returning home.

Entry and message submitted by Colleen

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Martes, el 27 Julio 2010

Message of the Day

“The deed is everything but the glory not.” Goethe

It’s the plaintive cry of “tia” I will never forget. Who could believe that three letters could be drawn out into three syllables…

The class sizes at Center 1 were quite large today because Tia Gaby’s class was spread among the other groups. Not even two people together can control 14-17 two to five year olds in one room. My ears are still ringing and I just may dream of today’s morning at Center 1 for a long time.

The tias used all their resources to keep things going but all lesson plans were scrapped. Not even dancing tias, including volunteer tias, could calm los niños.

Work continues apace on the jute bags although progress was stymied somewhat by the balking hot glue guns. The small bags were nearly done with the larger book bags to be tackled next.

Tia language training continues, and it is clear that they all look forward to that change in routine, no matter how tired they are.

From Center 2:

The walls around the ditch had to be built, so Rodrigo asked Peggy to get 4 wheelbarrows full of sand. From 4 this became 8, and then it became 10. Either Peggy’s Español is not improving or we were just not filling enough in each load!

As the cement was being made. Peggy went to shake her hips with Bobbie and the kids. I left to help John and Breanna repair a cot. As John sawed away, the humming sound of the saw was drowned by the loud wails from Colleen’s babies. Please, I hope Colleen gets her ears checked when she returns.

A wonder dinner of empanadas was followed by handsome Andres showing the volunteer tias of Calderon how to dance salsa. Some of our tias certainly showed some moves… and there moves have been recorded for posterity. Others of us simply enjoyed the show.

Entry and message submitted by Kathy and Karen

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday 26 July, 2010

Message of the day:

“What you do in the present creates the future, so use the present to create a wonderful tomorrow.” Anonymous

The day begins early with breakfast and journal reading. Spirits are high as we enter the bus that takes us to center 1 and 2. Our little niños await our arrival; eager for the attention we give them. In order to give my tia a break, I blow bubbles for the children to watch and catch which keeps them focused as well as stops any crying. Once the tia returns, papers are passed around for the children to place felt shapes around a circle around which the tia has placed paste. Some of the children do a beautiful job, while others have no understanding of the task. Classes are switched after 15 minutes and then it’s off to wash hands again. This routine is repeated often and it’s time for lunch.

What’s missing from this commentary is the fighting, hitting, crying, moving chairs about, and escaping from the room. Have I left anything out? Perhaps.

The afternoon consisted of teaching English, and making pockets from jute for supplies.

As I process this day’s work, and record my experience, I find new ways of looking at the world and my place in it.

Entry and message submitted by Ann

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday, 23 July, 2010

Thought of the Day:

“The highest reward for a person’s work is not what they get for it, but what they become because of it.” ~John Ruskin

It’s hard to believe that it is the end of our first week already. It’s been five days since 21 eager volunteers headed off to Calderon not sure of what to expect.

Now we know the daily routine with the children, the construction project is almost finished, we are speaking Spanish more confidently and the tias are even beginning to speak a few words of English.

Because two families in our group will be leaving on Saturday, there was a celebration in Daycare Center #1 to thank those volunteers. The Calderon children performed songs and traditional dances and presented each volunteer with a thank you card and marzipan figurine.

Darcy, along with all of the Global Volunteer children – Sarah, Breanna, Isaac, Leo, Eli, Theo & Henry – presented a large poster card from the volunteers and led the children in “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “The Wheels on the Bus.” Many of the Calderon children joined in the hand motions.

After lunch at Mi Quinta, some of the volunteers stopped at Cecelia’s Marzipan Tienda to see a demonstration and make a few purchases before heading back to the day care centers. Several of us have decided to stop in a shop or two each day after lunch to help Calderon’s economy! So many handicrafts to choose from, but Calderon is best known for its marzipan.

When we arrived back at the daycare centers, the children were still napping and the tias and cooks were waiting for their English lessons. This is the first Global Volunteer Ecuador team to offer English instruction and the tias have told us how much they appreciate our lessons.

Before heading home to Quito, the volunteers from Center 1 stopped by to inspect the construction project. The transformation form dirt piles and trash is truly amazing! Soon the children will be able to play on their newly paved playground.

As we gathered for dinner, Josh passed out photos of our Global Volunteer Ecuador team to everyone. And at Colleen’s suggestion, we ended our meal with birthday cakes – chocolate and Tres Leches – form the Dulcinea down the street for Mary and Ann.

We said our final good-byes to Darcy and Josh and their children Eli, Theo and Henry, and to Delia and Aaron and their children Isaac and Leo.


Saturday and Sunday many of the volunteers took the opportunity to explore Quito and the surrounding areas. Our guide Martin shared this story:

The difference between the rich man and the poor man….

The rich man has 2 dogs.
The poor man has 10 dogs.

The rich man has a swimming pool.
The poor man has a river.

The rich man has a car and city pollution
The poor man walks everywhere and has fresh air.

Entry and message submitted by Bobbie and Breanna

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Message of the day:

“I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”~William Penn

We started our day with breakfast together with a new twist: eggs cooked to order. Bobbie lest us know she wasn’t well and would need to stay behind. Colleen and I (Mary) promised to team up with Breanna and watch out for her. (Each of us knowing well that Breanna would help us with her command of Español!!). I thought our bus ride had a slightly quieter buzz of conversation as we discussed what our day might bring.

From Center 1 (from Sarah)

After climbing off the slightly fancier bus (with a coffee button but maybe less character than our usual carpet-ceilinged ride), we made our way through the less-active market (finding a gym on the way) to center one. After watching our kids drink colada and eat warm bananas we had a bathroom break and switched students for different activities. Tia Yesenia and I prepared a painting with sponges activity for Kathy’s kids, but soon after they arrived, and Joel finally stopped crying, they left and we got Linda’s group (who, being 2 or 3, were not suitable candidates for painting). After a brief activity involving shoelaces and foam beads, we traded kids again and we got Ann’s little ones who danced with us for about ten minutes before they lost interest and moved on to playing with wood blocks. Snack time involved watermelon seeds that needed to be swept up. About 10 bathroom breaks later, we had lunch… soup with yucca, then rice, beets, and spinach, of course only for those who finished their soup, and after making it most of the morning without a problem, Carmilo finally fell apart and responded, when I asked if he wanted to eat his rice and beets, that no, he wanted his mama. Then one of Karen, Theo, and Henry’s charges took Carmilo’s spoon and proceeded to finish the meal.

Lunch for us was uneventful, but included some laughs about potatoes and the amount of food left on Peggy’s plate. English teaching was fun (but hard as Linda and I struggled to explain certain pronunciations and English-Spanish equivalents). With a few interruptions, including cries of “sangro!” coming from the nap room where someone had a nosebleed. Also we saw Carmilo smile for maybe the second time today, as he chased some of the bubbles that Ann brought. Hair was unsuccessful as the only ponytail I made was deemed unsatisfactory by four-year-old Helen and redone by my tia. After sweeping, mopping, and picture taking, we left the center and settled in on our usual bus to ride to center 2, and later ride back to Quito with everyone piled on the left side to get a glimpse and hopefully a picture of a certain Chinese restaurant.

Outdoor Labor at Center Dos: (from John)

The men, young and old, accompanied by Kristi and Peggy arrived to a fresh delivery of paving block. Dogged and determined, the team slapped down 1000 square feet of pavers in two ½ hours. The community provided a wide array of qualified volunteers. Our leader, Rodrigo, skillfully laid out the screed the surface to be paved, while the young men adjusted the sand base. Another crew – 2 guys and a lady who laughed and joked the whole time, worked hard to filter the stone dust with a screen and brought their product to the ever dynamic Peggy, who swept it into the spaces between the blocks with her rustic sweeping implement which obviously was a remnant of the Incan era.

When energy ran low, the team was bolstered by the arrival of Aaron (we had already confiscated Josh and Eli from the relentless taskmaster, Tia Olga).
We returned from lunch to lay another 600 sq. feet, then proceeded to move/throw the remaining 100 or so blocks into a staging area with help from Mary & Lily.

On a side note – it’s been just great working with my pals Aaron, Josh, Isaac, Eli and the speed demon block layer, Leo. It’s been such a pleasure to meet your families and it hurts to see you go!

Inside center 2 (from Mary)

Without Bobbie, the older kid crew was a bit short this morning. Colleen jumped in with Breanna & her 15 2-3 year olds, then returned to work with me and our 4-5 year olds when Peggy (with a sore arm) arrived to join Breanna. Literally, I think the walls were shaking when those toddlers got taste of playtime “Peggy-style.” Kathleen and Delia were, as usual, swept away to care for their tiny, sometimes dribbling, sometimes crying, and sometimes giggling charges. As tutoring began, Delia, Breanna, Colleen and I were told to go awaken everyone and come down to do hair. The three of us with the older ones took our time climbing the stairs, I must admit, as we considered the prospect of waking 35 or so 2-5 year olds, herding them downstairs, and combing each little head as we attempted to keep everyone else occupied and out of the just washed toys. We made it – though I daresay some mamas were dismayed with braids that looked worse than this morning!! With everyone lined up, dishes washed & last blocks moved, we dragged out to the bus.

Addendum: Dinner Out

We truly enjoyed our meal at Crepe & Waffle restaurant both for menu sin papas and wonderful conversation. Too bad we didn’t think of a crepe sin crepe for Josh!! The finale of dinner was delicious ice cream and happy laughter on the bus home.

Entry and message submitted by: The Bennett family

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday, 21 July, 2010

Message for the day:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not, unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human races.”

Calvin Coolidge

Our day started with an egg-less breakfast but a good coffee (thanks to Josh & Darcy). We arrived at the center #2 after a quick drive through a clean landscape of tall mountains and urban chaos. For the first time since we have been here, no clouds crowded the skyline. Upon arrival we all went to different jobs. Delia with Kathleen went to help Tia Patty feed (or force feed) the babies downstairs. Mattie, a 15-month-old child with one ear and big melancholic eyes, welcomed us with a smile. I couldn’t believe Tia Patty was eating the same unidentifiable substances the kids were eating. The morning went by very fast, punctuated by libros time, music and dance. Both Kathleen and Delia had to sing to the kids who unknowingly were exposed to fragments of Japanese and Italian children songs. Since there was a little bit of time left after the kids’ lunch, Patty instructed us to help move the cement blocks at the construction site. After lunch as soon as I entered the room Patty gave me a bunch of instructions, filled my arms with clothes and ran downstairs to attend the English lesson. Here I was left alone with the kids (who said “a tia is always with you”?). I did what I was told to do (chanted clothes, spray and comb hair, changed diapers, etc.) let the kids play freely in the room, and yes let them take all the toys out of the boxes. When Patty came back first thing she said was that I had to put all the toys back after the kids left.

Hey, but we all survived, no injuries, no crying! I did it.

Meanwhile, out back, work continued on paving the courtyard. Whereas yesterday had consisted of moving junk around to clean the space, and hauling it up to the roof (for future G.V. to haul back down at a later date) today’s work was much more satisfying. We started with a level dirt lot, and a big pile of sand. Using buckets and a rickety wheelbarrow, John, Peggy, Isaac, Leo and I together with the local volunteers hauled the sand in and spread it around. Under the watchful eye of master Rodrigo, and with the mangy dog barking orders from the rooftop, we formed a human chain and passed the pavers from hand to hand into the lot. Four truckloads of pavers. By the way, this was a great lesson in teamwork. None of us can keep up with Peggy, who is twice our age and works twice as hard.

After mercifully stopping for lunch and a brief respite from the hot sun, we continue dropping pavers into place. By this time we are a well-oiled machine and making quick progress. Leo especially enjoys placing the pavers just so and knocking them into place. Why can’t I get him to be so meticulous when it comes to cleaning his room at home?

By 3:00 pm we are finished paving for the day. We are dusty, sore, sunburned, and tired to the bone, but satisfied with the progress we’ve made. We can see our work progressing and speak of plans for tomorrow. The boys have stopped complaining, probably equal parts exhaustion, and satisfaction with a good day of work.

Entry and message submitted by:
Delia & Aaron

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

At the end of the second day working with the children of Calderon, Henry said, “I can tell that every day is a new day in the baby room.” As I write this, he and Theo are reviewing each of the babies: Mojses the energetic one who always smiles, James, the one who pushes, Samantha, a future Olympic medal winner, David, whom they are teaching to walk, and Steven, who I personally watched fall apart when Karen had to leave today. He calls her “Mama.”

As for me, I was surprisingly happy to see my little rascals today. Tia Gaby’s room is full of energy, but when she challenges them they are focused and clearly love learning. Tia was especially tired. She smiled less and yelled more than yesterday. But she told me about her life, and I learned that when she isn’t working at the school, she is a single mother, trying to learn English and hoping to come to America. And as the day wears on, the kids break through her had shell over and over, getting her to laugh – and in turn she makes them laugh. While waiting in the room for our turn to go out to the lunch area, she broke into song and dance – something about “elefantes” and the kids’ faces glowed. Now – for those of you who are not members of my family, you wouldn’t appreciate the irony of Josh and Eli standing side by side at the kitchen sink, washing dishes, picking through beans, peeling plantains, & slicing carrots. Personally I am thoroughly enjoying Tia Olga’s domination over them, as she overlooks every move they make with a fierce eagle eye. It remains to be seen whether this will translate into a long-standing commitment to kitchen work… time will tell.

On the bus ride home, the sound of conversation was punctuated with voices, describing the children that drive them crazy, the children they already love, the ways of the tias, & the missing construction tools. The voices are exhausted, thoughtful and happy. There is a lot of laughing.

This leads us to the message of the day, coined by the esteemed British philosophers, Monty Python:

“Always look on the bright side of life.”

Entry and message submitted by:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday, 19 July 2010

Message of the Day:

“We ought to be doing all we can do make it possible for every child to fulfill his or her God-given potential.” Hillary Rodham Clinton

We begin our first day of “real” volunteering with a breakfast of cereals, breads, jams, fruits, yogurt, juice and coffee at 0700. Our missing volunteer, Linda Longtin, arrived Sunday at 12:30 and joined us for breakfast. After a hearty breakfast, the bus arrived promptly at 0800 and took us to Calderon, home of daycare center 1 and 2. After an orientation by Lily, coordinator for FUNDAC, all 21 volunteers busied themselves with various tasks helping the tias in the kitchen or with the children. At 1300, we all broke for a lunch of vegetable or vegetable beef soup, spaghetti with potato and cheese or spaghetti with potato and meat sauce followed by fresh pineapple slice for dessert. Afterwards, we all returned to our respective work stations where Karen frantically tried to learn the Spanish phrase for “I do Not change diapers” and Aaron developed blisters on his hands from chopping carrots with a dull knife and removing screws with a less than ideal screwdriver. At 1600, the bus picked us up and returned the “cansada” volunteers to the Sold de Quito Museum Hotel. During our two hours of free time, Kathy and Karen purchased water for our group while other volunteers did errands or rested. At 1830 we reconvened for a delicious supper at the hotel. After supper the volunteers shared first impressions of the daycare centers and then retired for the evening.

Entry and message submitted by Peggy

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday, 18 July

Message of the Day:

“Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out”

“Bienvenidos!” reads the sign to our breakfast and meeting area as we are welcomed by our team leader, Kristina Herman Hill. We are informed that we will be the 138th Global Volunteer Team to serve on the Ecuador project. After every volunteer enjoyed their wonderful breakfast provided by the phenomenal staff at the Sol de Quito Museum Hotel, we commenced with our introductions of twenty of twenty-one volunteers present this day. Following our introductions of learning names to faces and brief background information exchange, we proceeded to signing up for the daily journal chronicling and message of the day duties. Kristina proceeded to provide us with a brief summary of the historical Global Volunteer service establishment at Calderon. She then guided us through the service manual provided by Global Volunteers to review and discuss the Philosophy and Service, additional duties to be undertaken by the volunteers to assist Kristina, daily schedule review, sign up for projects, team goals, review of characteristics of an effective team, discussion of the Global Volunteer policies and guidelines and general information about Ecuador. A brief overview and welcome orientation were provided by representatives from the Calderon community, Yolanda and Malakita. Five team goals were developed by the team:

1. To meet people and grow through relationships.
2. To help others and make a difference.
3. To learn about Ecuadorian culture.
4. To not take things fro granted and remind myself to stop whining/complaining.
5. To practice Spanish.

Any donations brought to Ecuador by volunteers are to be collected by Kristi by Wednesday or Thursday to be presented on behalf of the team volunteers:

Coordinator duties to assist Kristina:

1. Kathy & Karen: stocking water
2. Mary & John: free time
3. Bobbie & Breanna: health & safety/first aid kits
4. Colleen & Peggy: meals
5. Ann & Kathleen: final celebration 2nd week
6. Darcy & Josh: final celebration 1st week

After lunch, Kristina provided the volunteers with a Spanish lesson with the inclusion of practice time. We ended the day of programming with optional “free time” activity suggestions provided by two tour guides, Martin and Andres. John and Mary, volunteer coordinators for free time will post sign-up sheets for all to finalize decisions regarding the weekend tours, dance program, salsa dancing or other additional programs.

Our initial day of full orientation came to a close with a delightful meal prepared by the staff at Sol de Quito Museum Hotel. ¡Buenos suenos!

Entry and message submitted by: Kathleen

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 12, January 14, 2010


This has been quite a full week already. We have all worked really hard and some of us are needing a rest from the daily activities. But it is not time to slow down just yet. There are still things to be done.

This morning it was our delightful breakfast as usual with our thought for the day and journal reading from yesterday read by Cora. Then it was everyone off to the work centers.

About mid morning Sue and I finished the grouting for the upstairs room that Barbara and I had worked so hard on. It was the remaining room that had not been grouted. I have to say it looks really good for a trio of first-time grouters. I’m not sure but I think Maestro was impressed. I know I was.

Jackie and Joanna worked with Kathy and Alexandra in construccion with the 3 – 4 year olds. Their project today was making footprints. They painted each child’s foot, one foot yellow and one foot blue and made their footprints on white paper. From upstairs I could hear the kids laughing about getting their feet tickled. Joanna and Jackie were happy to finally get the kids outside in the sunshine. The ninos loved it.

Cora was with Paty and the babies. Cora tells a story about one of the babies, Anahyi, who has had a fever. She was given a liquid Aleve and then rubbed down all over with a lemon. The tias are convinced it was the lemon and not the Aleve that broke her fever. It is felt all around that these little ones are going to miss Cora as much as she will miss them. Not to mention how much Paty will miss Cora. I really don’t know how Paty manages on her own.

Barbara spent the morning with a new child. The little girl cried all morning. Barbara finally got her to stop crying, but the group sang a song about mothers and children, which started her crying again.

Glenda was with Sandra today, and they also had a new child. They were singing and dancing every time I looked at them. They also recruited one of the workers from outside to lead in the dancing to the always beautiful Ecuadorean music.

Joanna and Meredith had a nice break, getting a manicure by Paolina’s mother, Janet, who is also an artist like Marguerita. Joanna got a really nice French manicure, while I got some fancy stripes with sparkles.

Judy and Shannon were at Center #1 today. They both thought it was a very pleasant experience and not at all like the first impression we may have had.

I was still feeling under the weather so I took some time off to sit in the swing. As I soaked up the warm sunshine and marveled at the beautiful surrounding Andes mountains, I couldn’t help but be a little awe-inspired by this seemingly less complicated culture. The people, the children, the music, the colors, the language all make up this beautiful collage called Ecuador. I am very glad I came.

Later that evening we went to a wonderful restaurant in Old Town called Hasta la vuelta, Senor. We had a great dinner along with sangria. Everyone had a fun time.

By Meredith

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 11, January 13, 2010


First, I wish to recap two items: Who we are, and where we are from; and team goals:
Barbara (NY), Glenda and Judy (Boston, MA), Jackie (CA), Shannon (AZ), sisters Meredith (TN) and Joanna (WV), me—Cora (MO), and our beloved leader Jennie (MN).

All of us are between the ages of mid fifties to early seventies and are grandmothers, except Jennie who is in her late twenties, has yet to “bite the bullet into motherhood,” but has mothered each of her Oldies-But-Goodies expertly and compassionately.

Our team goals included: (l) to learn Spanish; (2) to promote goodwill as an ambassador from the U.S.; (3) to serve the children, workers and community; (4) to appreciate Ecuadorian people and their culture; and (5) to enrich our lives. At last evening’s team meeting we all agreed our goals had been more than met. We have also melded into a strong (sometimes strong-willed) team as the 136th to this beautiful country.

We were all together for our breakfast of fresh fruit and juice, yogurt, roll and butter, and guava jelly, cereal and scrambled egg with ham. Joanna will rejoin the team at day care center (DCC) #2 after a 24-hour flu. Meredith and Judy will remain at Sol de Quito to recuperate. Jackie gave us her journal report during the meal. Shannon and Jennie will work at DCC #1.

It is sunny today, beautiful, yet I still have no photos of the Andes, especially Cotopaxi. Jennie used my camera in hopes of capturing the sight for me, but the mountains were shrouded in a haze.

Lunch at our regular spot, Mi Quinta, featured juice for some, potato soup, an entree of chicken, potato cheese patties, beef salad, and red Jello for dessert. We look forward to lunch, to down time, to compare notes. We brought back leftovers for our dog on the roof.

Shannon at DCC #1 with Jennie worked with 3-4 year olds coloring and practicing for their Friday presentation. Jennie also danced with the children.

At DCC #2 Glenda worked with tia Kathy, Jackie with tia Alexandra cutting, dancing, as they practiced for Friday, and reading two books in English. We swept the second floor for grouting.

Barbara cut, sliced, and diced in the kitchen. Joanna and I stayed close to tia Paty, where we shared nine, three of which are infants and most of the group is in diapers, but tia Paty works hard at potty training any toddler over 12 months. Having Joanna sing to the babies is such a treat.

This afternoon at DCC #2, Jennie, Sue, and Jackie prepared art activities for tomorrow while I attempted posters for one of the songs we will use Friday. Shannon at DCC #1 punched holes in art work for the children’s folders and both sje and Jennie helped get the children ready to go home as did those of us at DCC #2.

After a supper of spaghetti and a fruit-filled mousse, we nine, including sickies, were escorted to Jacchigua, a national folklore ballet, by our patient tour guide Martin and driver Carlos (both in suits). We were all pretty spiffy too. Jennie, who’d seen the ballet last year, made other plans—understandably.

Oh were we in for a treat! The small theater was perfect for close viewing and many had front-row seats. The cast attire was authentic Ecuadorian. The music group of four included the pan flute and mandolin (known here by another name). What a wonderful way to wrap up our time here!

Yes, two more work days.

I don’t recall ever working with such a caring and quirky bunch of volunteers. Yes, we are FAMILY.

And, Jen, while this experience would be good anytime, you have made our two weeks absolutely exceptional. Bravo!

So I leave this additional thought: Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. I John 3:18 (NIV)

By Cora

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 10, January 12, 2010


I awoke this morning to my regular cheerful good morning from Sue my roommate who is usually up before me. The sun was out!

Breakfast was at 7:15. Our cook Chartio made a nice breakfast as usual. During breakfast Jennie noted that dinner is at 6:30 tonight. A short meeting will follow.

Around 8:00 Pili picked us up at the hotel. The city of Quito comes alive at that time. Riding to Calderon at that time is a learning experience.

After stopping at center #2 first, Sue, Jennie and I went on to center #1. The children were finishing their snacks. The tias greeted us with hugs and kisses. Center #1 is a beautiful old Spanish building (needs a lot of work). It used to be a restaurant I was told. It is also used for a temporary Calderon bus terminal. The children are divided into two rooms, babies, 2-year-olds and 3-to-5-year-olds. I worked with (Yesenta) who has been with the center for 5 years.

For their table project she talked about chickens. The children glued egg shells on traced chickens I prepared the day before.

Tia (Germania) worked with Sue at another table. After craft time we spent some time in the large yard where the children loved the freedom to run and play ball.
At lunch the children always have soup which they love. They had rice, avocado and hominy as well. The tias always made sure they finished their food. Their nap time followed their lunch on floor mats. Jennie, Sue and I left for lunch while they napped at 1:00. Mi Quinta served us lentils, herb rice and pork chop and always soup of the day.

After the children woke up from their nap, Jennie, Sue and I worked on a project which started the previous day as well. We cut out rabbits for their personal pencil boxes and traced chickens, large and small.

Some children loved sitting with us cutting and drawing with scraps of thin foam material. Others just loved having enough space to run and play with each other.
We helped clean up the room when Pili arrived at 4:00. Before we left we said our sad goodbyes.

P.S. I will remember for a long time the tias, the children and the wonderful aromas coming from the kitchen each day!

By Jackie

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 9, January 11th, 2010

Message for the Day from Judy: THEY TOO SERVE, HE/SHE WHO STANDS AND WAITS.

Monday, the beginning of our last week, turned grey and drizzly. This is our first rainyish day with the ninos. I don’t know if it is a “Monday thing” or the weather, but the children seem restless today. Last week I was amazed at how most of the 2 to 4 year olds could sit quietly in a chair for what seemed to be 10-to-15-minute time periods. Today they seemed to be more like this age group in the U.S. Last week some volunteers, unused to activity, gave out books. The children love books. They read to each other. Ignacio reads aloud. His favorite book has pictures of animals, and he moos, neighs, and barks loudly—to himself having a wonderful time.

The volunteers help the tias by tracing the picture of the day—a cartoonish dog, cat, duck, etc. Today, however, the activity of the day involved the tia painting each child’s hands in turn so the child could make a hand print on paper. After each hand print the child had to leave and wash los manos. The hand washing is in addition to the 6 or 7 mandatory hand washings before and after breakfast, snack, lunch, and snack. After lunch the kids also brush teeth. Also the tias prepare for each meal by working tables and hoisting tables on top of each other so the floor can be swept and mopped. Between cleaning tables carrying chairs, sweeping and mopping, washing and drying hands, and washing towels, the tias have very little time.

Meanwhile, today, Barbara and Meredith toiled and tiled. Barbara said, “It’s back, arms, dusty and dirty. Kudos to these two ladies.

Jennie, Sue, and Jackie worked at day care center numero uno under difficult circumstances. The children eat, have an activity or not, and nap in the same space. Hopefully this afternoon will be better.

By Judy

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 6, January 8, 2010

Message for the day from Meredith: EXPECT MIRACLES

TGIF! What a full and exciting week it has been! The characters in our story have become our friends—Tias Elisa and Chavela in the kitchen, Tia Paty with the babies, Tia Alexandra in Arte, Tia Sandra in Hogar, Tia Kathy in construccion. And, of course, Lily, Pili, Margarita, Elvita, Carmita, Marujita and all the women of FUNDAC who have worked tirelessly with us and helped ease our transition into Guarderia #2.
Buenos Dias! We greeted the children and they greeted us. We helped the children eat breakfast and then went on a quick tour of Calderon. Elvita told us about the oldest barrios in Calderon and how the population has exploded in the past 5 to 10 years. We saw many neighborhoods, the old-style tile roofs, the unfinished construction, the Cementerio—Parque del Recuerdo. The views of the valley and the new airport were beautiful.

Our final stop was both impressive and emotional. As we entered Escuela Fiscal de Minas “Tarqui” we were surrounded by hundreds of girls in uniform. They were all eager to meet us and even practiced their English a bit. This public school as girls in the morning from about 7:30 – 12:30 and boys and girls from about 1 – 6 p.m. (Escuela Fiscal Mixta Bernardo de legarda)

Everywhere we go we are greeted with open arms. As we finished our tour, Elvita explained that many people from Calderon have moved to Spain and the U.S. in search of work.

Back to work!

Barbara and Jackie continued working with Tia Alexandra in Arte. Alexandra’s mother filled in for a while, and they all colored pets. Jackie’s dog, Indy, is now famous. To elaborate on the theme of “pets,” Barbara read an entire book about two dogs upside down in Spanish.

Sue and Tia Sandra helped the children paste red crepe paper on green Christmas trees, and Sue organized each ninos’ work in folders.

Cora continued to have at least on, often two, in her lap at all times. I spotted her singing to Victoria during refingerio. Per Cora, “Victoria appreciates good music.”

Tia Kathy had no problem asked for Judy’s assistance! Tracing cats, pasting brown foam pieces, helping with the daily meal routine, and cleaning the center and the children.

Upstairs the princesses are nearly completed and beautiful. Meredith painted yellow and silver stars, and Joanna painted the shirt purple. They also painted the floor a lovely shade of purple! The turpentine came in handy.

Glenda finished the silver crown and star wand and said, “She has become herself.” A beautiful Ecuadorian princess indeed. Glenda admired Carmita’s work on the flowers. And we all have admired Margarita’s bears.

Shannon stayed back with a nasty head cold. We missed her, but were glad she didn’t spread her germs.

Lunch at Mi Quinta featured empanadas. Highlights in the afternoon included painting the maracas, story time, nap time, and deep cleaning.

Off to Otavalo, Mindo, and Quito’s historic center.

By Jennie

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 5, January 7, 2010

Message of the Day from Joanna: LIVE IN THE MOMENT

We arrived at Center 2 at the usual time and were greeted by the children and tias. Today they requested that some of the volunteers work outside to clean up the garden. To that end, Meredith and Barbara spent most of the morning and early afternoon working alongside parents and grandmothers weeding the flower borders, cutting the grass with dull and broken hedge clippers, and edging the borders. Joanna worked in the garden as well. We had these observations:

1. The people are very diligent and hardworking.
2. They seem to prefer using hand labor in lieu of tools, lawnmowers and rakes.
3. They used potato sacks as trash bags—a form of recycling.
4. Jennie suggested that they have difficulty repairing lawnmowers, etc.

Joanna and Glenda continued painting and refining the murals. It has been very pleasant painting in quiet companionship with the birdsong music and breezes through the open windows. Glenda helped Joanna with the mouth on her princess; tomorrow we will add the finishing touches.

Judy was proud to announce that when the other volunteer group presented the cake to the children she didn’t eat it. Judy and Glenda played with the two year olds—interactive games and stories. They worked with Sandra—played outside. Judy’s observation: They washed hands five times—before and after playing outside.

Jackie worked with Fernanda. Some activities were: Story at board regarding family life and a song—Jewel of Father’s Eye, about a father and children. Kids made play dough. Jackie observed that the children are very receptive to Fernanda.

Barbara floated (operative word) from garden to kitchen. Barbara’s observation was that dishes are washed with Lava soap and cold water. Boiling water is poured over stacked dishes.

Jennie bought hand nails from little Ignatio’s grandfather. These will go on the stairwell that is to be tiled. Joanna observed Jennie reading a lengthy Dr. Seus book to a very attentive group of two year olds. Observation: Children are able to sit and attend to task as well as wait while teachers prepare.

Shannon spent time in construction rincone. She traced pictures and wrote instructions for kids in Espanol. She played outside pitching balls with kids. Observation: Some tias speak loudly to children but always lovingly.

Cora continues working with Pati and the babies. Joanna observed that they have a good rapport with one another. Cora observed that Pati was affected by her child’s illness (as anyone would be).

Judy observed that the children (even 2’s) have good coordination while eating.
Sue spent time with the babies and seemed to love feeding, holding, and rocking.
Glenda was given an ice pack by the kitchen tias.

We returned to the hotel and prepared for an early dinner consisting of a delicious crunchy roasted corn, fried plantain, ribs, hominy, and cake.

At 6:00 a group of us embarked on the tour with Martin and Andres. We drove by the Basilica (built in 1898) adorned with indigenous animals instead of gargoyles. Continued driving to the “border” between Old Town and South Quito—up the mountain for a sparkling vista of the city at night en route to The Virgin. Unfortunately she was shrouded in darkness. Continued to La Ronda where we strolled this historic district replete with artsy shops, bars, and musicians. We enjoyed Canelazo at the Bohemia.

The city was founded in 1534 and has 1.5 million people.

Later we drove by San Francisco Cathedral and Independence Cathedral. Also the President’s mansion.

By Joanna

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 4, January 6, 2010

Message of the Day from Shannon: DON´T HIDE YOUR LIGHT UNDER A BUSHEL

After breakfast, we drove directly to Center #2. The volunteers who purchased supplies at the art store presented them to Lily. She was most grateful for the gifts.

Sue spent the morning in the art room where the lesson of the day was hygiene. First the children had a talk about bathing, shampooing hair, and brushing teeth. They then took dolls outside, were placed in groups of four, and each group bathed a baby. This was followed by a writing lesson on the letter O. Then they had a period of outside play.

Meredith was in with the babies. She helped feed the babies twice, helped them go to sleep for their naps, and played with them. Cora was also with the babies. She fed, diapered and rocked babies, and washed the bibs. She also recommended that one of the children see a doctor for what looked like a splinter in his left hand which was developing cellulites.

Jackie worked in the construction room where the children had a similar hygiene lesson. The children also painted. Outside the children played soccer, ball, played on the swings and teeter totter.

In the morning, Joanna was with the 4 year olds. They exercised then had a hygiene lesson similar to the others. In the afternoon, she worked on the mural.

Glenda painted and painted and painted. She is 75% done with the figure she is painting.

Barbara spent a frustrating morning trying to create purple paint unsuccessfully. She played outside with the children.

Judy was with the 2 year olds. The children finger painted a quarter moon with a face that she had traced. The children painted the moon, themselves, the table and the floor. She was intrigued watching Kathy mix soup with a wooden implement that looked like a chicken foot.

Shannon worked in the kitchen. She washed dishes, peeled potatoes, and shelled beans, then washed dishes again after the children´s lunch. We learned the menus are planned and rotated every three months. A government nutritionist checks the menus and the FUNDAC treasurer is also involved. Shannon has a new appreciation for canned and frozen vegetables.

Lunch was at the same restaurant. We had chicken, rice, broccoli, juice, and some fruit for dessert. On the way back to the center, we stopped at a Marzipan shop and had a demonstration on how to make marzipan. Most of us tried it out and made a flower. We were given pins with the FUNDAC logo. They are very pretty. Back at the center Joanna organized some singing games for the children. They, us and the tias had fun. This evening we went to La Marical, walked around and had tea, coffee, or wine. Did a little shopping. We had dinner at a crepe and waffle restaurant. Delicious! Much laughter and storytelling--a good day and evening.

By Shannon

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 3, January 5, 2010

Message for the day from Sue: Carpe Diem; Seize the Day

This group was eager to do so. After the reading of a clever account of Monday´s activities, assignments were discussed over breakfast and we set out with Pili for site 2 and to work. Everyone seemed to have a good day.

Meredith reported that she was able to read a storybook to the ninos in Spanish upside down. Shannon worked in the anteroom where the children glued pieces of paper on a tracing of their names. Joanna started out in the art room and then the mural project beckoned and she ended up helping out downstairs as well. We are all excited about the murals being painted to complete the work on the 2nd floor. Team 136 leaving our mark!

Jackie reported that the babies were especially vocal and that she was able to quiet 1 of them successfully. Judy was glad to get her group of children outside playing catch and soccer. She did rescue the escapees who ran upstairs. Glenda is working on the mural and again led the tias in the maracas project. Cora worked with the babies and expressed particular appreciation of Paty. Barbara installed another toilet seat, peeled potatoes and is painting ARCA IRIX rainbow upstairs.

I enjoyed my time in the kitchen and peeled more garlic than I ever have. Late in the afternoon after a session with books and coloring , volunteers sang active songs with the ninos.

Ending the day with stop offs at stores, supper and salsa Lessons. A day properly seized!

By Sue

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 2, January 4th 2010

Message of the Day from Glenda, NOTHING VENTURED NOTHING GAINED

I write this journal in between arriving back to the hotel and dinner. And I must say this was one amazing day.

The official day began with breakfast and the journal reading, then onto the bus to view the other day care sites. Then on to work.

The facility was clean and tidy and the classrooms, ninos, and tias were welcoming. We were ushered off to our designated classes and from that time on a frantic, frenetic pace through lunch.

At lunch I asked my colleagues for comments regarding their morning and here are some responses regarding jobs accomplished.

Meredith- I did slicing, chopping, and dicing. I am a Vegamatic!
Sue- Wonderful little 2 year olds!
Judy- I swept 2 rooms and made ¨pelota¨ small paper balls.
Cora- beautiful babies
Shannon had to change one dirty diaper and Cora only had to do a wet one.
Barbara installed 6 toilet seats and organized the office.
Chip-cur off some of his finger and Shannon used her first aid kit to keep the man still chopping.

I witnessed and heard Joanna´s lovely voice made magic with the children. They all became quiet and listened too.

After lunch we returned to the work site where I was able to do paper Mache with our team and the tias and the kitchen ladies. If all goes well, at the end of this week, everyone will be shaking their maracas.

by Glenda

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 1, January 3rd, 2010

Message of the Day from Jennie-EXPECT SURPRISES!

Global Volunteers 136th service mission to Calderon, Ecuador begins with a day of orientation. Judy, Glenda, Sue, Jackie, Meredith, Joanna, Cora, Shannon and Barbara gather for breakfast, introductions in pairs and then a meeting with our FUNDAC hosts. Yolanda, Marujita, Elvita and Pilar seamlessly translated by our fearless leader Jennie. We learned about the two centers -#1 has 60 children including 10 kids of the tias. Children are in a nearby house. Center # 2 has 40 children completing 2nd floor construcion. Curriculum includes art, reading, legos, puzzles, homemaking and science "rincones." There are 15 tias-8 at the first center, 6 at the second center plus Lili the administrator. The children range in age from 7 months to 5 years. The women were warm, open-hearted and repeatedly expressed their appreciation for the work of Global Vonunteers. Hugs and gratitude all around.

Jennie then reviewed our possible roles in Calderon, practices and policies. People volunteered to coordinate food, water, celebrations, journal, first aid and free time. We signed up to write Journal entries and "message of the day." Jennie reminded us of the GV principal mission to "Wage peace and Promote Justice."

We then did an exercise beautifully facilitated by Jennie where we each wrote 3 "to verb object" cards indicating our most important reasons for coming to Ecuador on this trip. All of the cards were posted into five categories by a group decision making process. We then chose one statement that best exemplified each category as follows-
To Learn Spanish
To be an ambassador of good will from the US
To serve children, teachers and the community
To appreciate Ecuadorean people and their culture
To enrich my life

The morning ended with the group spelling out some characteristics of an effective team as follows-
Respectful, Cheerful, Coorperative, Energetic, Flexible, Open Hearted, Friendly, Cohesive, Teamwork, Accountable, Appreciative, Enthusiastic, Prompt, Attentive, Giving, Sharing, Generous.

A delicious lunch was served featuriing lacro de papos-potato soup
pollo-chicken arroz-rice papas fritas-fried potatoes, forsas con crema-strawberries and cream and maracuya-passion fruit juice.

A break after lunch. Some went to the mall. Then we gathered for a review of Safety and Health suggestions.
Remember safety trumps.
No personal gifts
No intimate personal contact
No illegal drugs
There must always be matched labor.

An animated Spanish class followed highlighting greetings, ages, marital status, family composition and body parts which culminated in a body song.

Martin Mioanda coordinator of Ecuador-Quito.com then spoke to us about available tourist opportunities for weeknights and next weekend. There was considerable interest in our group for many of his exciting offerings. He generously proposed lower rates and a free salsa class at the hotel. These activities will be coordinated and we will get back to him. More hugs all around.

Dinner featured trucka-trout arroz-rice papas and sopa de verduras-vegetable soup jugo denaranjellas-juice. Dessert was a pear like fruit called babaco.

After dinner we met to discuss free time plans. It was decided that most of us will go to Otovalo, a trip that included leather, lake, equator and market on Saturday Jan. 9th. We will go to Mindo, the cloud forest for nature on Jan. 10th. Jacchigua the National Folkoric Ballet on Jan. 13th and the Night Tour including churches lit, Panecillo and La Ronda on Thursday Jan. 7th.

We requested a better rate and Martin has offered the Tour for $20 each. He´ll let us know about the Salsa class on Tuesday Jan. 5th. Final event was a birthday song and gift to Evan. Exhausted volunteers retired before 9 pm.

by Barbara