Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fun in the Sun

Be amazed. This is 2 blog posts in one day...WITH pictures!
If you want to see the pictures bigger, just double click on one of them. Then you can choose to view in full screen.

Our Two Newest Angels

I am so behind on blogging, it's not even funny! I'll try to catch up after the summer's officially over.

I realized I hadn't introduced Julianna, who was our latest addition until yesterday! (You say her name starting with an "h" sound.) Julianna is 3 years old, and her parents brought her to us about a month and a half ago from the jungle. She had meningitis in the recent past, and it's a miracle that she lived! Her motor skills have been affected, and we're not sure yet what the extent is as far as developmental/learning issues with her brain. She doesn't have complete control of her extremities, and she can barely sit up on her own. She prefers to remain lying down flat on her back, but we continue to work with her on sitting up. She cried all of the time for the first two weeks, but she has adjusted really well since then! She now smiles all of the time, and she is much happier!

Sadly, her parents just really don't understand what happened to their little girl. As far as we know, she was perfectly "normal" before she had meningitis. When her parents brought her here, they asked us to "fix" her. It's so hard to have to tell them the reality of the situation. They continue to visit her often, and I'm not sure what the future plan is. Hopefully she will learn to walk and gain some of her motor skills back with therapy. Maybe she will possibly return home after that.

I love this next picture. She looks so surprised.

Yesterday, the police arrived with a girl whose name is Anita. She was found at the bus stop alone, and someone finally alerted the police. She doesn't speak very much, and she appears to be developmentally delayed. She will tell you her name, and she said the first names of her parents. Other than that, she just smiles....REALLY big, and A LOT. :-) She is beautiful!

This has happened before with other children, and every situation is different. Sometimes, these children just got on the wrong bus and ended up in Shell. Other times, their parents purposely put them on the bus and send them off to anywhere but where they are.

Anita will be registered in the Missing Children program, so if her parents actually look for her...she will be found. I pray this is the case, and I hope she has loving parents waiting for her.

As you can see....if she stays here, she already has lots of new friends!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

2 more things for "The List"....

...Incredibly cheap roses and large rats....both of which you can find in my house right now.

Roses cost about $2.50 per 2 dozen! Isn't that incredible!?! Ecuador just happens to be the world's largest producer of roses. They come in more colors than I've ever seen at home...and the stems are over 2 feet long. Patti Sue always brings them back for me when she goes to Quito. :-)

And for the rat..... we discovered our little friend the other night when I was cleaning. I moved something in the food section of our shelves, and a lonely little spiral noodle fell out. I thought it was odd considering I hadn't opened that bag of noodles yet..... until I discovered the hole in the package. I proceeded to pull out everything in the cabinet...about half of which had been torn into. Our little friend was VERY hungry.

We found the hole that he comes through in the ceiling, but we're waiting until we know he's dead to block it. So...after taking all of the food out, we put out some poison pellets on each shelf. Side note...rats can somehow do little somersaults from one shelf to another if there's not another way to reach the food on the lower shelf.

About 30 minutes after putting the food out, I opened the cabinets to look...and I'm pretty positive he ran by and went up the hole. I didn't see HIM, but I saw the empty tupperware container that he tipped over as he fled.

Dwight, however, DID have the pleasure of seeing our little friend. Up until this point, I had convinced myself he was a rather small mouse...even more like a little gerbil, if you will. Dwight opened the cabinet and saw him in all of his glory....about 6 inches long in the body....and 6 inches long in the tail. (gag)

The next morning we got up to check, and he had definitely been back. I had left one single item in the pantry....a bag of rice enclosed in a ziploc bag. He must have been desperate, because he tore into that too. He also gnawed on the edge of the top shelf, b/c there were shavings on the bottom one. Dwight said he had eaten the poison and was going crazy... HA! I don't know why, but the mental image of the little fellow going into a frenzy and eating the wood makes me laugh.

Needless to say...I am actually very thankful he's contained to the cabinets in the kitchen. If I thought he was in the house.... I told my dad that I would have to put chairs all the way from the bed to the bathroom, so I could walk on them at night when I needed to get up. lol.... I would NOT be putting my feet down on the floor in the dark!

All in's just another fun memory we'll have when we get home. Fun times.... I love it here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

10 Reasons Why I Love Ecuador....

1. new addiction. These are fried plantain chips that are like potato chips...but MUCH better.

2. Ants everywhere...I've found that they especially love peanut butter. They often magically appear in my coffee cup in the morning as well.

3. Rainbows... we get to see a rainbow at least once a week, if not more. You also can often see where it touches the earth at both ends. The beauty fo the landscape here is just awesome.

4. The simple tv, walking everywhere, reading more books than I can count... I love the peace and quiet.

5. MOLD... on my Bible cover, leather sandals, wooden mirror, suitcases... nothing is safe from the mold here.

6. Buenos dias, tardes and noches...When you walk around town, everyone greets each other. I love it! Shell is a great community, and this culture is so warm and inviting.

7. Jungle lice...This is what my friends and I named them as we combed them out of each other's hair the other night. They are AT LEAST 5 times bigger than the ones in the States. ugh...

8. $2 Almuerzo (Lunch) that includes 5 courses...$10 for the best steak of your life.... $3 Tablitas with yuca fries and grilled barbecue... Oh my... the list goes on.

9. 3 inch long cockroaches... They enjoy waiting for me in the kitchen especially...even like to surprise me as I open the silverware drawer. They also enjoy hiding in Bible covers in case you were unaware. Fabulous.

10. Hearing Dwight scream as we killed a spider together the other night was pretty priceless.

Ok...there are more than 10...

11. 56 children who can't wait to wrap their arms around my neck every time I see them. It just can't get any better than that!

Really.... I can't begin to think of all of the things that I love about this place. It is so refreshing to be a part of a culture that does not focus on so many of the things that consume America right now. Life is still very simple here, and Dwight and I are loving our time here. We feel like we've been on a honeymoon since we got married! We feel so blessed, b/c we know that if we were in the States...we would never get this much time together! We're so thankful that God has put us here for the time being!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Spread the word!

I keep forgetting to mention this...

We are in desperate need of someone who is bilingual to come teach next year! The oldest class really needs a teacher who can speak both Spanish & Engligh.

In addition...we're hoping to expand the school with more extracurricular activities as well. Anyone who's interested in volunteering in music, arts, P.E., etc.... We would love to have you!

Please spread the word! Our teachers last year did not have any teaching experience, but they did have willing hearts! We just need people who love the Lord and want to love and teach these kids.

Pray about it, and pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested.


Too much fun...

SO much has been happening! I feel like I need to dedicate a week to catch up on the blog. Sorry for the lack of communication lately!

We've continued to have groups and individuals arrive every week, and it's so great to have all of the help! Last Friday we moved Patti Sue into her new house, and Dwight has been working there for the last couple of weeks. He just returned to the property today. I had some help yesterday, and we finally got the office here set up. I can't even think of what all has happened....

This past Saturday was our first entire day "off" in over a month, and it was MUCH needed! Dwight and I were enjoying just talking over our morning coffee when we got a phone call from Dan Whitehead, one of the MAF pilots. He had an emergency flight to the jungle, so we got to ride along. It was an awesome unexpected blessing for the day! The pilots have called Dwight 2 other times, but he's never been able to go. This worked out perfectly, and we were both able to go.

We flew out to the jungle to pick up a young pregnant lady who was having complications- I think the baby was breech. We climbed into the plane after Dan told us this. I was sitting in the back, and there was a stretcher on the floor beside me. I was envisioning this lady lying on the stretcher in full-blown labor. Wow... Needless to say, that was not the case. We flew out to the community, and she came walking out to the plane like she wasn't even pregnant.

The town we went to is one of the biggest in the jungle, because there's a military base there. There are around 500 people in that community. I was bummed, because I was hoping to see the community! The airstrip was kind of isolated, so the people just came out to meet us. They were all barefoot. We picked up the pregnant woman (who looked to be about 16) and her tia/aunt. The aunt sat beside me in the plane, and she was terrified! She had her eyes squeezed shut and kept grabbing at the sides of the plane if we so much as bumped in the air. I just kept patting her on the shoulder and smiling.

I so badly wanted to take a picture of them, but it just feels wrong when you're in the moment. It makes it seem like they are just something on display to be gawked at, and I didn't want them to feel like that.

Overall, it was a great experience! It was cool to see what so many of our friends here are involved in with MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship). Hopefully we'll get to do more in the future!

Here are some pics from the last week or so.