Day Two

   Posted by: Dean White   in Ecuador


  • Driving to the southern part of Quito
  • La Victoria School
  • Dulce Regufio Church

Purpose: To understand the culture of Ecuador, work on a school and pass out shoe boxes to children.

Tomorrow: Going to another school and a church to distribute more shoe boxes!

Highlights from today:

  • Catching a glimpse of Quito, Ecuador
  • Working in my element
  • Gifts, gifts and more gifts

Quote of the Day: “Quito es el balcon del Ceilo.” Quito is Heaven’s Balcony.”

Throughout the day I am writing down notes so I won’t miss anything to comment on in my blog.  Yet each day is filled with many emotions, dozens of stories and hundreds of faces.  How does a painter choose what colors to add to his pallet? How do I capture the thrill and the joy and leave room for the touching? By the time I sit down to write and edit pictures, it is about 11pm my time, which is 8pm in California.  I wish I could just transport everyone here … it would be worth it.

Driving through Quito

Quito is what I would describe as Ecuador’s Grand Canyon.  Picture the Grand Canyon, then slam it together so you have many steep mountains right next to each other.  Add deep forest green all around and pour a bucket of housing in the valleys.  Ok … now for the interesting part, …add housing that looks like different bright colored Legos up and down the sides of the slopes of the mountains, now stack those Legos 4 stories high.  Colors you should choose are orange, purple, yellow, red and green.  All bright.  Draw a few windy roads through the valleys so you can get from point to point.  And there you have it, Quito.

They natives call Quito, Heaven’s Balcony because it is surrounded by mountains.  When driving you can’t help but look out and up to see the many eye catching mountain tops.  But you have to look quickly; the view will be blocked by another mountain before you turn the bend.  There is a huge stature of the Virgin Mary stepping on a dragon on one summit and a huge Roman Catholic Cathedral on another.  Then you blink and you are looking at an active volcano with steam coming from its top wondering if that is a cloud.

Our driver took to the twisty roads as if he was the designer of the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland.  Quito is also filled with ½ built buildings.  I think this is typical of Mexico in general and 2nd & 3rd world countries.  Though they say the recession of 1986 really put Quito in hardship and left many things undone.  All buildings are built with cement bricks.  Most are not painted but when they are, they are bright.

Some facts:

  • You are 2 pounds lighter in Ecuador.
  • Quito is 45 mins away from the equator.
  • Time actually last longer here … just kidding.
  • 3 million people live in Quito.
  • They natives say the city is female because the weather is moody.  It may start out beautiful but can change at a moment and begin to rain for no reason.  I don’t think the ladies on my group appreciated hearing that.

La Victoria

La Victoria is a school in southern Quito and provides education to approximately 400 children in the nearby area.  Southern Quito is semi-rural.  In fact, most people still grow corn on their property.   It is hear that many families live on less than $200 a month and some even live on less than $2.00 a day. When they figure a lunch is about 2 bucks, you can see how poverty has truly struck over 38% of the inhabitants.

La Victoria is a project where two churches and Samaritan’s Purse have come together and are building a 4 story school (3/4th finished!) to aid this community.  Our job was to paint, install ceiling tiles and fix some electricity.  We also got a few minutes with the ninos in between classes.  One person in our group said, “Wow, even though I don’t speak a lick of Spanish, all I did was sit down and all the kids came around me and wanted to play…one even gave me a cookie from her snack.”  Children here are truly wonderful.  They share, appreciate the smallest thing, and just want to spend time with you.

My job that I quickly agreed to, was to climb the scaffolding and paint the middle portion of the building.  I took to this like a clean pig takes to warm mud.  One, I love heights and two, I love a little danger.  This scaffolding was on a slope, supported by misc pieces of odd cut brick to ‘even it out’ and then you got to walk on planks that wobbled when you shifted your weight at all.  Needless to say I had a blast scaring everyone.

Magic and Gifts

After leaving La Victoria we drove to the ‘Dulce Regufio’  which I found out translates to ‘Sweet Shelter Church’ … that made a bit more sense.  But before we got there we stopped for a bit to eat in the bus alongside of a community street.  A public school had just let out and a number of children were walking past our bus shouting and waving.  Four stopped and started asking me a few questions from my window.  I decided to pull out some magic from my backpack and did a little impromptu magic show… still in my seat, just hung out the window a bit.  Before you knew it there were around 50 kids watching!

We arrived about a half hour later at the two story church …bright orange of course.  Upstairs we went with approximately 250 shoe boxes.  We originally planned for only 180 kids but word got out and the children came from everywhere.  The small room was packed to the max.  Comfortably you could sit about 140 people, today there were well over 300!  We had to be in that little room for about 3 hours.  The humidity level was so high I think I saw water droplets begin to appear on the ceiling.  We sang songs with the kids, some were chosen to go on stage and compete in a few games, I did some magic, the pastor gave a message to the kids and their families, and just when you thought the first victim would pass out, we began giving out the shoe boxes.  All the kids had to wait to open them …they were so good and patient, until each child had one and then all at once they opened their gifts!

The boxes were filled with all sorts of gifts.  I saw silly puddy, slinkies, a telescope, crayons, dolls, candy, and everything else one could imagine.  The children and their parents were so extremely appreciative.  Afterwards, a man gave a hug to one of the volunteers. The pastor noticed it and told the volunteer that to receive a hug from that man is extremely rare and better than any words he could have expressed.

Thought for the day:

It is amazing to see the value of a gift.  One that nothing is expected in return.  To give a gift like that fills ones heart.  I know, it is just a simple shoe box.  The contents are not worth all that much.  Yet the right gift in the right hand reaps fortunes we could never imagine.  A kind word, a little bit more patience, a smile, a card, a hug and yes, even a shoe box, may just mean all the difference in a person’s life today.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 at 10:26 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


Already I’m tearing up reading your blog (the part about the hug from the man! So touching!) Thank you for sharing your very special trip. Know that my thoughts are with you, sharing my hugs & kisses to all those little children through you!

March 3rd, 2010 at 9:47 am

It is so touching what you are doing. Those children are lucky that there are people in this world like you.

March 3rd, 2010 at 12:34 pm

This brings back many memories of trips to Mexico. I am so proud to be your cousin and can’t wait to hear the stories in person.

March 3rd, 2010 at 5:11 pm

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