This year Peter restricted his traveling to one place: Ecuador but once there he decided (true to his nature!) to do many things at the same time. Here they are, with links to our past blogs, to jog your memory:
INSTITUTO FISCAL DE DISCAPACIDAD MOTRIZ (INSFIDIM)
Due to the retirement of one teacher, Peter is now helping with a mixed “basic knowledge” class for grades 4, 6, and 7 comprising 6 children between the ages of 10-13. These children have widely different intellectual capacities and physical disabilities and “provide a challenge to the teacher and to this elderly gringo.”
After a short reprieve for lots and lots (and lots!) of Christmas celebrations and visits form other organizations, classes resume in January with more or less enthusiasm.
Abrazos has assisted with a variety of repairs in the past; this year it looks like a computer upgrade may be needed.
FUNDACIÓN ABUELOS Y ABUELAS DE LA CALLE
The organization continues to support and feed a “floating population of seniors that on one occasion could number thirty and on another one hundred and thirty“.
This is mainly possible through the love and dedication of the administrator (Josina de Wit) who struggles to plan and accomplish this gargantuan task despite minimal funding that comes in unpredictable drops. Christmas is particularly difficult: the tradition calls for chicken lunches for the 5 days preceding December 25th; then comes the actual Christmas feast (with a little offering for a total of 300 people, whose names Josina has duly recorded)
As Peter so well put it: “It is humbling to know that for some this is the only time of the year when they would have a meal of chicken. “Dios se lo pague” (God will repay you) is the standard reply when one places a meal in front of an elder.”
In the past, Abrazos has supported the purchase of kitchen equipment (remember those enormous pots and the fridge?) https://abrazoscanada.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/parting-from-abuelitos/ but this year In view of the difficulties at hand, we are have decided to help Josina purchase the food needed for all the “abuelitos and abuelitas”.
FUNDACIÓN HERMANO MIGUEL
Here, Peter spends one day a week or more alongside Christian, the occupational therapist who works with infants with a wide range of disabilities. Each session lasts 45 minutes and the cost, this year, is $15 U.S which is too expensive for the majority of Ecuadorean families. The Foundation does have a system of subsidies for those unable to afford the fee, but this involves paperwork and approval of the application. Few seem to take advantage of the subsidy and as a consequence the service offered by Christian is under-utilized, which is a pity. During a morning he would see perhaps two children whereas he would have time for four.