Abuelitos de la Calle – -Grandparents of the Street

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Entrance at Abuelitos

An organization aimed at assisting elderly with or without families, in need of a place to spend time out of the house or off the street, a warm meal, some clothes and a little bit of health care. Some of these people do have a family but with little resources or interest in caring for an elderly person. Many are alone, living who knows where and how. The social assistance pay of 50 USD/month may perhaps allow you to rent a shabby room but not much else. The “grandparents” travel up to 2 hours from all corners of Quito, usually on foot, some may take the bus if it stops or if they can afford the tickets.

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Josina (in blue) and one of her many friends

The centre opens around 7 am and the administrator Josina De Wit welcomes them to breakfast. There is also a lunch at 1pm. Most of the food is donated, meaning there is either too much of the same or not enough of anything. Josina was telling us she got donated numerous kilos of salt lately and is wondering what she could possibly do with it!

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Peter and his cast are creating quite a stir!

The bigger room hosts different activities (if there are volunteers to run them) or people are just socializing. Today they were making Valentine’s Day Cards for a surprise event tomorrow (a local musical group is coming to play) and everyone is smiling and welcoming us. Peter’s cast was examined and opinions about fractures were exchanged. Mona created quite a stir being so tall – some ladies at the centre barely reach her waist!

We promised to return and look at the most pressing needs of the organization. It is unsure if we can stay in Quito more than another 2 weeks (Peter’s fracture may require surgery) so we would like to help a little if possible.  Hopefully by next week Josina will have an idea of how we can help in the most effective way.

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