Baby day

Journal by: Jessica Nysenbaum

While Susan and Kristina went back to Center #1, Steve and I went to Center #2. Center #2 was even more chaotic than usual as Gracia, the tía for the 2-year-olds was out for the second day in a row. Yesterday a new tía took care of the 2-year-olds, but today she was nowhere to be found. I’m worried she may have been scared off and will never be seen again.

While the other tías took off with their kids, the 2-year-olds were left wandering so I herded them into their room. I was alone with them for about half an hour and just when I was at my wits’ end, Andrea arrived and took the kids to a room for other tías to watch. I’m sure it made for an interesting day, watching 4-year-olds and 2-year-olds together. I spent my morning in the baby room. A new baby, Leonardo, who is only nine months old, had his first day and was crying constantly. I played with the babies, changed diapers, and tried to distract the inconsolable Leonardo. Tía Pati was busy meeting with a woman from another children’s organization. The woman told me that she does home visits with the children once a month. She teaches them proper nutrition, explains when it is that children need to see a doctor, and checks on their development. She was teaching Pati how to do tests in her class to gauge the babies’ development.

After a fairly unpopular lunch of tripe, Steve made some more masapan purchases. Susan explained to Cecilia that she would like to get in touch with her son Andrew, who is living in Tena, Ecuador. On our way back to Center #2 snack shops were eyed, but we did hold out. Steve returned to painting while I helped with Tía Jessenia’s kids while she filled out assessment forms. We also fit in a little English lesson and I taught her “Rock-a-Bye Baby.”

Meeting up with Susan and Kristina on the bus, we heard that Susan ended up teaching English to an assorted mix of tías’ children while Kristina worked with the tías. All together we headed to Old Town to visit a historic house museum. It struck me that Maria Augusta, the house’s owner, was like a one woman FUNDAC. She fed 150 kids a day in her house. The group was most impressed with her ornate bathroom. This was especially impressive as in her time everyone else used outhouses. After the museum we had a drink at an incredibly charming restaurant Kristina discovered. It had gorgeous views of Old Town and wider Quito leaving most of us pondering when we could return.

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