Ecuador: Day 5 Update

Our morning began with the usual devotions and breakfast, and quickly got on our way to the mountain. Mark, Jim and Brett went with Richard and Renee (Merge facilitators) to purchase lumber to be used for building tables and benches for the patio area. The rest of the team rode in trucks to the school to attend part of the 20th anniversary celebration of the school. We saw a group of girls dancing, listened to several speeches, and watched a slideshow about their school, which featured many pictures of our groups visiting and more of just Sue. This really showed how much we have meant to them over the years.

We then headed up to the church to do some more work. When we arrived, the people of the church were already working on welding the metal posts that will hold the new patio enclosure. We quickly went to check on our yogurt that was made yesterday, and IT WORKED!!! It was thick and sweet and ready to go!

The milk truck arrived from the city to collect the milk from the community bulk tank just as the men arrived with the lumber. We all watched it being emptied from the bulk tank into the truck, and were able to ask questions. They have a milk truck come collect from them every other day, and today they had 512 liters to sell. We did find out later in the day that they have been having problems with the company they work with. They don’t get a fair price often, and are told their milk is not a high quality.

Many leaders from the Covenant Church of Ecuador, the president of FACE, Chris Hoskins a representative of Covenant World Relief, and many others showed up for a meeting with the local church leadership. They were tossing around many ideas of how to help these mountain communities. This meeting kind of put the construction on hold for a while because all of the Lote 3 people who had been working on construction were at the meeting. We ended up eating lunch sitting on the patio in some more beautiful sunshine. Shortly after lunch, a truck of concrete blocks arrived. The team worked on unloading the blocks that will be used this week to add height to the existing wall before enclosing the patio. While we waited for the meeting to end so work could begin again, we spent a lot of time just building relationships with other Lote 3 residents and lots of children. We played soccer, Jenga, introduced them to Mancala and the game of “statue.” Some of the older women in the community were so happy to just sit and hold hands with us.

Once the meeting ended, we served the yogurt that we made yesterday with honey and fresh strawberries on top. The people LOVED it….even licking the cup clean. Many of the leaders from the Covenant Church of Ecuador ate yogurt and were very encouraged that we had taught them how to make it and that it was delicious.

A discussion of cleaning the community bulk tank was held next with cooperative members. They talked about their current processes, and Jim and Brett led a talk on cleanliness of the bulk tank. Part of the talk included a demonstration on better cleaning practices using different chemicals than they currently use. Brett had to climb into the tank to clean which included wearing rubber golashes, long rubber gloves and safety goggles. The people of Lote 3 sure got a kick out of seeing Brett all decked out, and were intrigued by the golashes and commented “we’ve never seen someone put shoes on over other shoes.” Brett was able to remove all of the soap stone from the tank…which should help to reduce their bacteria count and improve their milk quality….if they keep up with the cleaning. After cleaning the tank, more time was spent just visiting (using the limited Spanish we know and lots of sign language), and playing more games. The Jenga games turned into building blocks for many of the children.

We stopped for ice cream on the way home we stopped for scoop ice cream and headed back to the hostel for dinner which was soup, a fried rice (full of meat and veggies), fried plantain bananas and fresh pineapple juice. After dinner we relaxed in the living room… planned tomorrow and later this week, played games (including pterodactyl), doing physical therapy on Beth’s arm, blogging and introducing our fearless leaders Mark and Sue to Snapchat…which was quite hilarious!

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