Alas … I am back home to reality in Guelph and did not blog daily as I had planned while away in Ecuador … now trying to process and come to grips with all I saw and experienced … I have decided to continue to blog my thoughts as I process everything (both from emails I sent home and from present thoughts) …
From an email I sent home to Le-Anne on July 16, 2008, I wrote:
” Another full day yesterday … saw how the Compassion Child Survival Program works here in Ecuador (ages 0-3). It reminds me a little of Kindermusik (an early childhood music program I used to be involved with) – working with babies and their mothers to ensure the child is receiving good care with the bonus of all kinds of early child development exercises etc.
Our home visit was perhaps the most desperate situation I have ever seen in my life. We all broke down and cried when we heard the mothers story (with six children between the ages of 4 months and 11 years old) … her husband abandoned her a year ago when she became sick and hospitalized during a premature delivery – leaving her an overwhelming debt … she lives in horrible conditions … smelt like a cistern – sewage flows into the house … the house fills up with water in rain storms … they all have to huddle in one room to stay warm and dry … they all sleep in a single bedroom the size of my bathroom at home – all seven on one double bed). She has to leave her children at home under the care of her 11 year-old daughter while she scrapes out a living washing cloths ( she makes $30 per month.) Her number one prayer request was that her husband would come to God! We prayed for her, but it felt like such a hopeless situation. Without the work of Compassion, she probably would not be alive. Three of her children have sponsors and she has a strong faith in God that He will provide for her … we left her gifts and food. I will never forget this home visit. It rocked my week!”
Mom with children … demonstrating what her boy can do with some plastic building blocks used in the Child Survival Program (CSP).
The CSP worker for this family – a true hero in my eyes! Each CSP worker treks up the steep hills in all weather conditions to visit 24 families per week to educate the mom and provide the early childhood skills for each baby. She carries all her supplies for the day in her back-pack. Many CSP workers believe so much in what they do, they donate some of the little wage they make to those families in desperate situations like this one!
The kitchen smelt of rotting food and sewage …
The family of seven all sleep in this room on a double bed … here they are enjoying a meal that was brought in for them … we were invited to eat with them but lost our appetite for the food due to the horrible living environment.
View of southern Quito, Ecuador from the back door of the home … one of the poorest regions of the country.