Day Four ~ Last Day

   Posted by: Dean White   in Ecuador


  • Escuela Enrique Ponce (Elementary School)
  • Shopping!
  • A Great Dinner

Purpose:  Travel to an ‘unreached’ community and enjoy our last day.

Tomorrow:  Heading home

Highlights from today:

  • A Forgotten Village
  • Some Misc Interesting Facts on Ecuador
  • Working in the Jungle  …hopefully my next stop!

Quote of the Day: “What about the poor children? Can’t we do something for them?” said by an impoverished boy who got a box and had compassion for others who have even less.

Today as we jumped on the bus and started heading out to our first destination, we were halted by a school parade.  The children were dressed up in all sorts of costumes and the band played in sync.  I think they were celebrating a children’s author, like we do with Dr. Seuss in the states but I am not positive.  You will love the photos below.

Forgotten no more!

Samaritan’s Purse will be sending 100,000 shoe boxes of love to Ecuador this year.  8.2 million boxes globally.  These shoe boxes are part of a yearly program where churches and organizations throughout the world collect boxes in November and December. 5.2 million come from the US and 3 million from other countries.  Some people just go to the website and send their box directly into Samaritan’s Purse.  This week our team had the privilege to hand out about 740 of these shoe boxes to children.  In some cases, the free shoe box is the open door to a closed off community.  There are those who want to help closed communities but often people are not trusting and are either ashamed of their community or the main person of the community doesn’t want to lose the power they have over the community.  In remote villages, this person is a witch doctor or shaman.  In rural Ecuador this person can be an older man or woman that the community sees as the wise one.

Today we were able to go into one of these forgotten communities.  A nearby pastor has wanted to bring in aid and it was the gift of the shoe boxes working through the school that opened the door.  The school put on a program (with clowns again …didn’t realize clowns and gift giving are synonymous here) and the pastor spoke about how he and his friends want to come in and help provide for this community.  The village looked like it had been a thriving small city at one time and now the dust blows through there like it is a ghost town.  The parents leave the area for work daily, and leave their children with the school.  Therefore, the school actually educates about 200 children.  We met only a few parents and there was no one in the streets.  Even the ‘wise woman’ could not be found today.  The school, though at one time had all the working plumbing, did not have running water.  There was a large container that gets filled with water and connects to the water fountain.

A good portion of the kids had on some simple jump suits …maybe they were uniforms of the school.  I am sure those who can buy their kids this uniform do so and many others are not able.  In some schools a uniform is mandatory.  If the parents can afford a uniform then the child gets free education, lunch, and child care.  This school welcomed all children in the area with or without a uniform.  Though I didn’t get to go up the river, into the jungle and dodge spears in order to bring in shoe boxes (I would have jumped at the opportunity to do so and hope to one day), it was extremely rewarding to know that our team got to be part of the solution for this hurting community.  And that this town will now have outside help from a pastor who has prayed for many years for them. He will work on providing food, water, health care, job training and the good news of Jesus.

Fun Facts

I have some miscellaneous facts that I wanted to toss in about Ecuador and this trip.  For one, I can now say that I have not only jumped from a plane from over 12k feet (I went sky diving some years ago), I have also jumped from bus from over 10k feet!  Quito has about 14 active volcanoes in its surrounding area.  I was able to see one of them from the hotel today.  There is a photo below.  Guinea Pig is a delicacy here.  I saw a picture of some people eating one on a stick.  Can’t say I had the chance to do the same but the picture of the guinea on a stick and someone biting in was …alarming.  Roses are everywhere.  You can buy a dozen for about $2.00.  They grow them in this area and they are a key export. We needed to call information to help a lost old man and found out that you must know the person’s two last names in order to get info.  It is custom to put popcorn and corn nuts in your ceviche (a Mexican dish where lime juice actually cooks the raw fish). They use American currency since the year 2000.  A village may not have electricity or running water but they will have a church or a school. Very few adult children live on their own.  For this reason even colleges do not have dormitories.  The seat belt law requires the driver to wear a seat belt …but you are allowed as many people in the car you can fit!  See pics below.

Dinner & the Jungle

After our stop to the ghost town and a long drive back, we went shopping in Quito.  I love the whole bartering for the sale system.  If you have never gone to Mexico and bartered for something you are missing out.  They expect you to barter and in fact, really respect you if you are good at it.  I know enough Spanish to help others and I had a blast going back and forth talking the sale down from $28 to $15.  But it was here that the shoe shine boy spotted me.  He swore he recognized me from a TV show and when he asked where I was from and hearing California, it was just enough to confirm his suspicions.

We then headed back to the hotel and for our evening programs.  We met up with the other teams and shared our adventures. There were so many amazing stories.  For instance, a lady who put a box together with her kids back in November and sent it into Samaritan’s Purse, saw it pop up on this trip, in her distribution! What are the odds?! There was the kid who got the box full of dinosaurs and wondered, ‘what in the heck are these?’ and the volunteer that just happened to be in that distribution, whose son wants to be a paleontologist and happens to know every name of every dinosaur. And then there was my favorite.  A little boy who came from a very impoverished area got a shoe box.  Feeling the sense that he now has more than others, said to his mom, “But what about the poor children, how can we help them.”  How is it that those with nothing often are the most generous?

We had a wonderful dinner at the hotel and heard how Samaritan’s Purse is partnering up with Mission Aviation Fellowship to reach villages that are deep within the jungle.  They showed pictures and the ‘grandfather’ of one of the village spoke about his encounter with the ‘white man’ for the first time many years ago.  He spoke how his people knew there had to be a God but really didn’t think much about it.  But now they know God and His Son who died for their sins. There are a few movies about this story, one is called “at the end of the spear” the other is “through the gates of splendor.”  I got a picture with ‘grandfather’ and will be posting it as soon as they send it to me.   This is the Jim Elliott story for those who have heard.  Grandfather spoke in his native tribal language and through an interpreter he said, “You may not have a feather in your hat but God wants to give you a mansion in Heaven.  His way is full of life and full of blessings.  To be free from the penalty of sin is the greatest gift of all.”

Thought for the day:

Where is your contribution?  Where do you see your greatest thumb print on this life?  What will you be remembered for?  These words are a constant battle for me.  For some, their greatest contribution in this life will be their children, for some it will be their work and for others it will be how they gave a little so others could have much.  A simple box of love.  Giving just a little so others can have much.  That is what Samaritan’s Purse is all about.  People from all around the globe giving a little time to run to the dollar store, filling a shoe box with toys, school supplies, prayer, and love, just so a child can feel they have won the lottery.  8.2 million children will be blessed this year.  Many will find more than just toys and school supplies in their box …many will find salvation and a reason for life.


Thank you to all of  those who made this trip possible for me: Samaritan’s Purse & Steve Rutenbar for getting me on the trip;  those who financially supported me: Jane Lamar, my wife Kerri, sisters Debra and Dori, Pat Campbell, Helen Lind, Stephanie Koontz and Cheryl Moranville;  and for the countless people who have prayed for this trip and have read my blog.  I have appreciated your comments, thoughts and …tears. In many ways we have traveled this week together, sharing the same heart for these children, wanting more for them as we look deeper within ourselves.

¡Hasta pronto, Te extrañare!


This entry was posted on Thursday, March 4th, 2010 at 11:47 pm and is filed under Ecuador. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 comments so far


Sounds like a great last day for the Purple Team! Glad to be a part of the week.

March 6th, 2010 at 7:15 am
Wayne Purcell

Is that guina pig in the stew photo above? Did you have a chance to try any? Sounds like a GREAT TRIP!

March 6th, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Once again I am so touched and humbled by your trip and the great work of Samaritan’s Purse, and you’ve left me in tears again! What is my contribution? Clearly not enough, something I hope to soon remedy. Thanks for what you’ve done to contribute – so much to so many sweet little faces and lives!

March 10th, 2010 at 2:50 pm

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