Friday April 21, 5 pm (ish)
Hello and thank you for your prayers for this amazing adventure. Currently, I am sitting at my desk at the Center for Working Boys. I’m looking out my window watching children play basketball, standing in formation practicing music, kicking soccer balls, and just being kids. There are joyful noises and smiling faces. The air is fresh and cooler than Guayaquil. The mountains and city surround the Center. It is beautiful, safe and nurturing.
Our flights were uneventful into Guayaquil and our group bonded easily. There are smiles, chatter, laughter and helping hands. The BVMs and Associates are doing marvelous at organizing, being flexible and keeping us ‘on task.’ The rest of us are trying to keep ‘them’ out of jail or other trouble??.
Sr. Annie of Damien House is an amazing woman full of compassion and love. All of us experienced her energy and confident ability that has made her mission so successful. We met the 26 Hansen’s Disease patients at her center. We heard stories of their lives that seemed hopeless but now are full of hope and joy. Most of Annie’s staff have benefitted from Mary Frances Clarke Scholarships to work in healthcare, administration, and finance. We met doctors who have been screening the patients for future surgeries that will improve their quality of life. This all was visible signs of God’s works of mercy.
In addition to Damien House, we spent time at the Center for Nutrition in the barrio of Duran. This work is spearheaded by two women religious (Gladys and Fannie). They help women and children (ages 1-5). There sre signs of progress, but at a slow pace. These women have great courage.
On our way to the center we witnessed great poverty. The ‘streets’ were flooded and trash was everywhere. The homes seemed barely inhabitable. The Center is doing important work in an area of tremendous need.
We also visited Nuevo Munro school. The importance of education as a way out of poverty and injustice was evident. Tuition-paying students attend grades 1 through 10 until 1:30 pm. Then students who are unable to pay tuition arrive and participate until evening. They share the same wonderful faculty, staff and facility as the tuition-paying students. Everyone we met was so dedicated to the success of the school.