Our first work day started with a beautiful sunny sky, allowing a great view of the mountains as we drove up to Lote Tres. The road was a bit muddy from heavy rain last evening but we only feared getting stuck in one spot. A group of six stopped at the elementary school in Lote Quatro to spend an hour playing with the kids. They had as much fun as the children jumping rope, decorating with sidewalk chalk and playing tag.
The rest of the team continued onto Lote Tres and started assisting with the major construction projects, replacing the roof on the milk house and laying tile on the stage in the church. The milk house project included removing the old roof and steel beams, clearing bricks off the top of the wall to smooth it off, digging holes sanding rust off of and painting sealant onto steel beams. With our team and the large number of community members who joined us, the project went quickly and more progress was made than expected. Our team assisted with the tile on the stage by carrying cement blocks, bags of sand and gravel, bags of concrete mix, water and tiles up two sets of stairs to the sanctuary. The members of the church took over from there and completed a large amount of tile laying today.
Joni was a great help to the team by volunteering to help in the kitchen while the ladies from Lote Tres made us lunch. Her skills at Spanish were very helpful, and provided one more interpreter for the team. Some of the team members were witness to our lunch being butchered in front of the church and Camilla volunteered to help in the kitchen so she could help pluck the chickens.
Many of our team spent time in the morning helping peel and clean onions with members of the community in the newly developed onion cooperative. The members of the cooperative bring onions there every day, and spend time cleaning and packaging for market. They have contracts with several different vendors for their onions and each has their own quality standards. Some of the onions are sent to market precisely weighed and meticulously cleaned, and others are mostly cleaned and packaged by the count. It was an excellent opportunity to chat and get to know each other while assisting them with their work. They are selling onions directly to a supermarket in Quito and it’s a good source of income. The supermarket sells the onions for $.49 a bunch and the cooperative is paid $.40 per bunch. The cooperative pays the members who work and other employees $8 per day.
After enjoying a lunch of chicken, potatoes and rice soup, the youth on the team held a VBS for the children of the community. One of the highlights was launching the paper airplanes they made from the balcony. They also had a Bible story and outdoor games that the children really enjoyed. A thunderstorm moved in quickly during the afternoon, forcing us all inside the church but it let up before we had to head back to Cayambe. The thunder and lightning were pretty amazing that high up on the mountain, and we were very thankful for a place to take cover. At the same time as the VBS Mark, Jim and Jo held an agriculture discussion time with community members and discussed a variety of topics including forages, milk quality, and pasture management. The community members are excited to return tomorrow for more discussion on these topics. Several team members continued with construction during the VBS and discussion time by painting more beams for the milkhouse on a covered porch area.
After a drive down the mountain the team cleaned up, ate dinner and spent the evening relaxing and playing games together. Everyone is very tired but in such a good way and can’t wait to go back again tomorrow to continue helping at Lote Tres.