This blog is courtesy of current volunteer, Aspen Peterson. She is serving in Cuenca, Ecuador and has documented her first week as a volunteer. Enjoy!
January 11, 2018
After 24 hours of traveling, I finally made it to Ecuador. I experienced a little culture shock when I found out Ecuadorians don’t flush the TP (toilet paper)! Much different than I’m used to.
Keenan and Sasha took us on a tour of the orphanage today. Definitely not what I expected. I am a little overwhelmed at the extent of care these kids need, but am ready to help however I can.
January 12, 2018
Love is an interesting emotion. It seems to sneak up on you in the most unexpected times and ways.
Hours of playing with the kids and receiving no encouraging reaction had me a little down. So to get away for a bit, I did therapy with one of the kiddos from OSSO A. Physical therapy was first (had absolutely no clue what I was doing) and then developmental therapy. I sat him between my legs and helped him hold a tambourine as I sang “You are my Sunshine” to him. The sweet sound of a giggle filled the room and I watched his smile grow wider as I kept singing to him.
That was when it snuck up on me. Love. Now it seems like I can’t stop the love that’s growing for each of these kids. They’re stealing my heart. I’m coming to realize that that is the most important part of OSSO, loving the kids.
However, my Sunshine boy will always have a special place in my heart.
January 13, 2018
Oh, I wish I could speak Spanish.
January 14, 2018
My first morning at OSSO. To say I was confused and shocked and useless and overwhelmed might be a bit of an understatement. I walked away from the orphanage to get ready for church in a daze.
Little M helped me recover on our way to church. He loved it when I squeezed him tight in a big hug. He laughed (he snorts when he laughs and it is hilarious) and kept asking for more squeezes. The kids always seem to know exactly what you’re feeling and know just how to help.
January 15, 2018
Ate some street vendor chicken today. Or it could have been llama. Or dog. Who knows. They called it pollo though so I think I’m safe……
January 16, 2018
“There’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man.”
The kids proved this true with how big their smiles were as they did their horse therapy. It was like a wave of calm came over them as soon as they were lifted on the horse. I could relate to that calm. We all need a little horse therapy sometimes.
Emma and I went into the city for our shift off. Taxis are definitely nerve racking when you can’t communicate with the driver, but after today, I feel pretty confident in my abilities of giving them a piece of paper saying where I need to go. Communication problem solved.
I also felt confident that I dressed warm enough with a t-shirt and cardigan to go into town…until it dumped rain on us. Lesson learned. Always take a rain jacket. There’s a reason they call it the wet season.
January 17, 2018
Happy one week! And Happy City Tour Day!
Ecuadorians have a rich history and a beautiful country. I had my phone out taking pictures of everyone and everything half the day. Then I realized that while pictures are great to look back on and reminisce, I also needed to live in the moment. I put my camera away and started taking snapshots in my mind and let myself revel in the memories I was making with Keenan, Sasha and the other volunteers.
Those mental snapshots are what I’ll keep forever.