Tuesday, April 22, 2008

By Nicole Duciaume, Documentation and Sponsorship Support Officer

As my last blog entry for Ecuador before boarding a plane at some unkind hour (leaving the hotel at 3:30 a.m.), I want to take a minute to reflect on the highlights and moments that capture the imagination and the spirit of the trip.

I remember walking through the winding dust-filled streets, with children clamoring for photos shouting in limited English – their eyes lit with a fire of self-value and respect. They giggle when you turn the camera so they can see themselves. Each wants to be the first and the loudest to tell you his/her name and in their enthusiasm, their shouts rise louder and louder. They hold your hands and tell you their favorite activity. They tell you where their sponsor lives sometimes ask if we can ask their sponsor to send a letter.

I remember a father’s pride etched in a smile at his garden teeming with tomatoes, lettuce and other assorted vegetables. CCF has demonstrative farms to teach the families how to better irrigate and grow crops using organic methods that are safe for their families and the environment. You can feel the palpable pride as the parents show you their produce, their hard work, their dedication and you understand that their children will be properly nourished and that they can sell the surplus to have sufficient income to pay for their family’s basic needs.

I remember the National Director playing with a group of young children in the window of a nearby CCF preschool. The kids know him and they have a rapport that is more comfortable than any I have seen in my other travels. There is a song that they sing together, chorus after chorus booming and echoing. Their energy is intoxicating….the alphabet, the numbers and the alphabet again.

I remember a community representative telling me about a strange trend right now in Cotopaxi: after decades of families emigrating from the area in search of better jobs, security, and ultimately improved futures for their children, now families are moving back into the area because of improved economic opportunities, improved water/sanitation facilities and improved access to education and healthcare. There is still much work to be done, but families who have moved away after giving up hope are finding their ways back because of the improved opportunities for their children, thanks in part to CCF’s contributions and partnerships.

I remember so much more….one young lady becoming emotional as she talked about how CCF programs helped her when she was being abused by an employer and was facing a future without education. I remember listening to children read one of their favorite story-books in the corner of a room dedicated to their expressions, thoughts, feelings and emotions. I remember seeing community members talk about their water filtration system and that it means clean water for consumption, growth and irrigation.

I remember one young girl, Karen, mustering the confidence to bring a bean collage of the Corpus Cristi celebration to me and ask that I take it back to my country to show everyone I know.

She was excited when I told her that my mom’s name is Karen too.

The memories are so vivid…the names, the faces, the places, the emotions….everything is so quintessentially Ecuador. It is never easy to leave a country; it is never easy to adequately share the experiences once you return home.

1 comment:

Frankie said...

The joy of knowing you have made a lasting difference in the lives of those you've touched with CCF's love cannot be underestimated! Perhaps knowing this will help.

Frankie L. Perdue
United Methodist Clergy - Disabled