Ecuadorians love to celebrate and St. Valentine’s Day is no exception. The day before one sees on every street corner a vendedore of roses and balloons. This year, because St Valentine’s Day occurred on a day when the Abuelitos y Abuelitas de las Calles is closed, we celebrated the day on the Friday, some one hundred and fifty came to dance, to play games and to enjoy a chicken dinner, a rare treat for many.
During the year many volunteers, both local and foreign visit the centre, some visit just for a week, others for longer. This year I met Dr. Imke Krahle, a newly graduated doctor from Germany who spent six weeks at the centre where she put a lot of effort into organizing exercise programs, games and talks related to nutrition and hygiene.
Her ever present smile and her willingness to take time to listen to the elderly endeared her to all.
Every day when the centre is open a small snack and a lunch are served. The numbers served varies but for special occasions Josina de Witt allows for two hundred attendees. This year some one hundred and fifty came. A small kitchen, volunteer staff but it all comes together and all are fed. The stock response as one places the food on the table is “Dios se lo pague” God will repay you.
ABRAZOS CANADA has limited funds but we do have the advantage of being on the spot and able identify pressing needs where a small amount of money makes a difference. This has been the case at the centre where our funds helped to provide hot water for showers and a much needed freezer which very appropriately arrived on the day of celebration.
Those who come to the centre may be advanced in years but once the music starts the feet start to tap, the hands clap, and couples find themselves trying to hold a balloon head to head while maintaining the rhythm. Fortunately no one invited me to be a partner!