After our arrival at the Working Boys’ Center in Quito, our first reflection had us looking at the four BVM Core Values: Freedom, Charity, Education and Justice. It will be our job to find real and meaningful actions that express these four values.
We awakened on Earth Day, Saturday morning, to Mother Earth showing her beautiful face to us on our all day bus trip through the Andes mountains. With months of non-stop rains, we were blessed with a pleasant, sunny day and vistas of Coto Paxi, Ecuador’s largest and still active volcano. Our destination towns along the Pan Americans Highway, which stretches from Alaska to Chile, were San Antonio for its wood products, Cuicocha for its leather and, our final stop, Otavalo, for the vast Indian open air Saturday Market. Locals are wearing indigenous dress and women wear head cloths called fachalinas. We did our best to support the local economy!
Along the way, we sampled a fruit called cherimoya and our bus driver Osvaldo treated us to bizcochos (a cheese biscuit). We passed through densely populated towns with urban growth crowding the mountain sides. Cows and sheep grazed in the rich pastures and the year-round corn crop was being farmed in every stage, from freshly planted to ready-to-harvest. Large areas of greenhouses filled the valley floors, with fruit, vegetables and flowers. The roses are their most successful world trade commodities.
Today, on the day we celebrate our connectedness to Mother Earth, we have experienced the abundance of God’s blessing:
-in the beauty of creation;
-in the company of our companions;
-in the visible abundance of the earth’s bounty;
-and in the handiwork of the local artisans and individuals we met.
Our evening reflection was “Soles for Souls.” Both soles/souls are necessary for a full life rooted in our Lord.