Thursday, January 19, 2012

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

Today was our last “regular” day at Childcare Center 1 in Calderón. Tomorrow is a day of celebration and gratitude. The team—Kay, Sue, and Lucy—worked feverishly to accomplish our goals. I truly believe we have made an impact (however small) and we should all leave feeling as if we have touched the lives of the tías and beautiful children.

Tomorrow we will all have an opportunity to express our appreciation and present a banner created to permanently hang in the Center. The children and tías have been zealously practicing their songs and dances to show their gratitude. I feel grateful to have been a small link in the continuum of service to Ecuadorians.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

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

Wednesday morning we all headed out on the bus, even “Trooper Sue” who wasn’t feeling well from a head cold. We all went to our respective rooms. Lucy played with her babies, who especially enjoyed looking in a mirror and playing dump and fill. Kay’s room had an activity led by a teacher from the Ministry of Education. At the end of the hour, Kay brought out the precious “monos” and led a few songs. For the next hour and a half the children practiced their dancing for the program then watched the tías dance.

After lunch Kay had a fun time making play dough or as they say in Ecuador, plasticilina. Tía Olga helped and actually made a second batch, which was perfect. She really seems to have a knack for adding the right amount of water. She is a dear señora who always seems to have a smile for everyone. The day ended on a rainy, cold trip home. Maggie joined us for dinner and explained the evaluation process. After that we all wanted only to get warm and go to bed. Kay’s hair dryer –bed warmer was waiting for her.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

“Friendship weaves a tapestry of time and love and memory.”

Today marked our second day at Childcare Center 1 in Calderón. We began the day with a review of our team goals and were unanimous in confirming our efforts to achieve them. The team is in sync and working smoothly despite some health interruptions. Maggie is a marvelous leader and is always available to guide, support, and keep us safe. Kay and Sue are working their magic with the preschoolers. Their extensive professional backgrounds, skills, and flexibility are quite amazing.

I am thoroughly enjoying working alongside Tía Norma. She is kind, patient, and so very sweet with “her” babies. She expresses her gratitude to me often, which makes me feel needed. I am definitively in my element with the babies. I already dearly love each and every one of them. I find it so intriguing how someone who is a total stranger becomes a “mother” figure in a matter of moments. I’ve always believed babies are very intuitive. They can sense genuine affection and love and will spontaneously respond to gentle touch or a simple smile. It will break my heart to say goodbye on Friday and leave those dear babies behind. My memories, however, will live on forever.

Monday, January 16, 2012

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” –Abraham Lincoln

Today our group of three ladies started our second week at FUNDAC in Center One. Lucy was finally able to be with her babies, Sue chose 2- and 3-year-olds, and Kay continued with the 3- and 4-year-olds. It was testing day in the classrooms so the classroom tías worked one to one with the children while Sue and Kay tried to keep the children playing with toys. Fortunately for Lucy, the babies didn’t have any testing.

At noon we went to our usual restaurant for lunch only we no longer have to hike a long way. After lunch we all helped Lucy buy baby supplies. We enjoy helping Lucy spend her money. The afternoon was spent changing clothes and combing hair in preparation to go home. Sue is in her second week of perfecting the hand-face wash with special attention to the nose. This is Kay’s first week with hand-face washing but practice makes perfect. It is a good time to tell each child how handsome or pretty they are.

In the evening Maggie took everyone to La Ronda for empanadasand selected beverages. Lucy enjoyed the two-for-one selection of drinks. We all enjoyed strolling down the narrow streets which were the original streets of Quito. On the way home our cab driver drove us around the Basilica for a beautiful night time view. We all bid Maggie “hasta luego” with a promise of making morning meeting.

Friday, January 13, 2012

“As rain restores the earth, hope restores the spirit.”

Today is our last day at Center 2 as we will be at Center 1 next week. Thus a celebration/thank you party has been planned. It was amazing to see all the babies lined up in costumes in high chairs and the rest of the children on little chairs. The program consisted of each room including the babies doing a dance. Next the tíasdid a dance. Finally, we sang “If You’re Happy and You Know It…” in Spanish and English as we did the actions. Then we presented a banner made by Holly, Maggie thanked them for us, and lastly a frozen yogurt treat was given to each person. The program was greatly appreciated and had taken a lot of work by the tías and children.

We were invited to lunch at a FUNDAC board member’s home, which was a marked contrast to the home we were in yesterday. We had a nice meal and learned more about FUNDAC. It was started 30 years ago by a group of friends who saw a need for a low income daycare facility. Global Volunteers helped greatly with the construction of Center 2. We will miss the people we have been with at Center 2 and wish them many blessings in the care of the children.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

“To give life meaning one must have a purpose larger than one’s self.” - Will Durant

Another day at the center with each of us falling into our respective routines: Holly giving the babies love and attention; Sue enjoying the 2- and 3-year-olds; Kay riding herd on the 3- to 4-year-olds; Lucy having time with the 4- to 5-year-olds as well as helping in all areas; and Frank continuing to use his skills in so many ways. Lucy returned to the hotel before lunch as she was feeling ill. Frank continued to work through lunch so our lunch group was small - just Maggie, Holly, Kay, and Sue. Kay helped the tías make play dough, which they appreciated.

After the work day we were invited to visit a home of one of the children, which was very gracious of the family. It made us thankful for our blessings and glad we had brought them a gift of fruit.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” – Mother Teresa

The weather today was the nicest since we have been here. The clouds cleared off and it was very sunny. Kay felt much better today and joined us at the center. Frank and Patricio laid blocks and tile in the kids’ bathroom and it is starting to take shape. Holly went back to her babies in the 1- to 2-year-old nursery. Holly noticed that one of the things the Global volunteers have to give is that little extra time or extra hug that these babies need when the tíasare just to busy trying to keep up. Sue and Kay are life long teachers and the tías seem to appreciate their patience and dedication. We took our daily walk to town and had another nice lunch. We found out popcorn is pretty good in tomato soup! The afternoon went by with more of the same, but Frank finally got a smile out of little Pierre! Our leader had to attend meetings so we traveled back to Quito on our own.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

“People need the most love when they are the least lovable.” - Mary Jane

Tuesday morning came with the team catching its stride
It is nice to feel like a group with nobody outside
Maggie came early and set the stage for the day
We headed to Calderón in the fog to help the kids play
Some of the kids knew us amazingly fast
We are all hoping we make an impact that will last
We pushed all the programs there is so much to teach
The rascals don't care if we are in their reach
As the mayhem of the masses slowly sinks in
The tías’ amazing energy never runs thin
Those wonderful ladies who work every day
Will be working and working when we're gone away
The bathroom at Center 2 was getting pretty sad
But Frank and his helper were not even mad
They tore out the concrete to make a new drain
And changed out some pipes without any strain
A couple more days of cement blocks and tile
And the children should be good for quite a while
We fixed up some toys for a tía or two
And left a couple more waiting on glue
We packed up our things and headed for the hotel
Thinking our team is doing quite well
All of us need to share as much as we can
We thank Global Volunteers for such a great plan!

Monday, January 9, 2012

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

So Monday morning came we all woke with a start
First in the shower turned out to be smart
We had a morning meeting and jumped on the bus
Thoughts of 90 kids were with all of us
We rolled into Calderón first stop at Center One
We immediately realized these special women's work is never done
After meeting all the tías and
examining the ceiling
We opened up Lucy's stash and left the FUNDAC people reeling
Now on to Center Two a 15-minute walk away
We finally met the kids with whom we would spend the day
All the girls picked a group and spread about the school
Frank went to the kitchen in search of a tool
All the cooks ganged up and showed him the drain
He knew pretty quick the first job was to be a pain
Pilar and a pen made a list on a pad
Then we walked to the store to see what they had
We found light bulbs, fixtures, and
plumbing parts, too
Went back to the center to see what we could do
We got back to the center to find lunch in full swing
Holly, Kay, Sue, and Lucy were doing their thing
The laughing was loud and the kids were on the run
Before long all those little tykes were pretty much done
They finished their lunch and laid down for a nap
The drain project, it seemed, was going like crap
Lunch was next so we walked back to town
Must have been good as there was nary a frown
The afternoon was fun ’cause the kids were so sweet
Frank fixed a leak and they thought it was neat
We finished our tasks as our butts started to drag
We headed for Quito with our first day in the bag
Stopped off at the mall to grab beer and a snack
Now we all knew how good it is to give back.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

January 2012 Team

Our first day we met Maggie our leader who is surely a star. The discussion then centered on safety and GV’s mission. We found we could be a team with little division. We then met the FUNDAC girls and learned about their center. Everyone now dreaming of the world we would enter. Lunch was chicken and soup well received by the whole group. We started the afternoon by assigning everyone a task. Holly is in charge of water and Lucy is the doc. Frank and Holly promised to make the Friday party rock! Kay hates to write so she got the food Sue's in charge of fun ’cause she's a cool dude. Goals were picked next both personal and team. Dinner was a great presentation of spinach soup and fish, there was very little left on anyone’s dish. Now we are ready for a nice and early start to take care of the kids with all of our heart!