Every day begins with our team meeting at the hotel and the Message of the Day – which is to remind us of where we are and why we are here. Yesterday I contributed a Ghandi quote: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” – which resonates with me and is one of the reasons why I am on this trip. Today’s message is: “The soul is healed by being with children” by Dostoevsky.
We went to Daycare #2 today. It is a large, airy building that has doubled in size with help from a series of previous volunteers over time. The tile work is impressive and the murals are colorful and creative – tangible evidence of cross cultural teamwork.
From there we walked to our home away from home, Daycare #1, strolling through the open-air market adjacent to our building. On display for sale are numerous fruits, vegetables, and fish that I had never seen nor heard of (but had apparently already eaten). I can’t recall ever being in country with so much diverse, unfamiliar food.
The daily routine is becoming familiar and comfortable. Today I am helping Tía Gaby and her two-year-olds. This is the third class that I have been in so I’m familiar with what to expect. I write down the children’s names on strips of masking tape and put them on their shirts or jackets. I assist Tía Gaby in making a cardboard toy of basic shapes: my cutting and gluing is imperfect at best so she silently fixes my mistakes and makes it more durable. I busy myself for the rest of the day with the back and forth of lunch, naptime, and brushing of teeth. The kids are remarkably self-sufficient, patient, and well behaved.
Finally, we end the day by visiting one of the children’s home. We ask some questions and get a feel for real life in Ecuador. We leave some groceries as a token of thanks for being allowed to visit. Tomorrow is my last day and I’m wishing I could stay another week.
Entry submitted by: Roberto
Message of the Day – Mark: “The soul is healed by being with children.” – Dostoevsky