Our First Week of Work in Calderon, Ecuador

Message of the Day – Pamela Ward
Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. (Margaret Mead)

We have all gotten to know each other pretty well and realize that we have so much. By floating from room to room I was able to observe my Global Volunteer colleagues and “paying it forward” or giving to the children and expecting nothing in return. On the other hand we get much in return and it is hard not to become teary eyed when we are greeted each day; with beautiful smiles and “Hola.”

Elle, by the way, wields a mean pickaxe. She had the grass that was growing into the front wall removed in no time flat. Her next task was to supervise two volunteer mothers pulling weeds while at the same time mowing the playground grass. No wonder that by 1 p.m. she took a much needed rest – but it was no ordinary rest. She was on the swing with 3 month old Leonardo cradled in her arms. Latter we learned she loves to eat beetles – if properly prepared.
Julie never ceases to amaze us – after just one day of slaving in the kitchen, the staff claims she now speaks Spanish. She has also become rather adept at peeling apples and get out of her way when she is scrubbing. They cleaned everything – walls. cabinets, doors, and floor. As a post script, the kids ate almost everything today, without too much coaxing. I guess there was some extra love in those pots of food!!
I still hear bells. Around 11 a.m. I was putting tools in the shed and saw Claudia playing soccer with the older ones, “all of four years old.” The kids were laughing and shaking the bells on their wrists that Claudia tied on. It was quite a sight. Later we were all glad to have some quiet time. While the little ones napped, I spotted Claudia holding a sobbing Adam. Poor Aidem and his brother Abel are always so sad. Each day with hugging, holding and soothing – English of all things – they seem to be responding.

According to Paty, Pamela is the “princess” of arts and crafts, lego building and puzzles. She speaks to the little ones with such kindness and warmth they feel loved and comfortable and want to participate and cooperate. The floater also noticed she had the clean plate table at lunch – they ate it all. It must have been that extra love in the food pot and the kindness in the voice.

Rita spent the day with the inquisitive two year olds. What a handful they are but they are calmed by Rita’s infectious smile and her calming demeanor. Just peak into the “Home Room” and watch them serve a meal to Rita. The 2 year old niños seem to be the best at high fives – I saw Rita coaching them along too. PS. She likes to hold Leonardo too!!
Last but not least – where was Jennie most of the afternoon? Just think, we were allowed to walk back from lunch unsupervised and we even got on the bus by ourselves. It seems that Jennie and Mari spent several hours with FUNDAC officers planning the coming years activities and construction schedule. It will be difficult this year for FUNDAC since the number of volunteers are way down. Please convince anyone you can to “pay it forward” and consider helping the neediest children of Calderón.
-Ed Collins
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