A Day Inside

Above is Amanda, a special needs child at Casa de Fe who had the most amazing laugh and smile. Working with Amanda brought out my biggest smile and laugh, but will also made me really appreciate this SALTs trip. She absolutely melted my heart and made your day.

As a group of us work hard outside, three of us get the opportunity to work with the children all day. A day inside consists of therapy with the children of Casa de Fe, starting with the infants. Each child has their own needs in which the therapy is catered to. I had the opportunity to work with a 2 year old named Sol who had fluid in the back of her brain that was inhibiting her sensory and motor skills. Because of these things she was still on the bottle and had difficulties grabbing things that she wanted, things such as a toy. We worked on these areas by brushing around and in her mouth, and by working on grabbing things in front of her. The workers at Casa de Fe said that she has come along very well and continues to show progress. She was such a cutie and had an adorable smirk when she was happy.
Once therapy with the infant was over, we then had the opportunity to work with an older child who also had therapy needs. I had the opportunity to work with a 6 year old girl who had a condition in which she was not expected to live past the age of 3. This condition really inhibited my ability to communicate with her because she was blind and unable to see. Touch was about the only way in which I could try and show her comfort. Together we worked on stretching. If I remember correctly, both of her hips were out of her sockets. And yet with this her legs were very stiff and fully extending her knees, ankles, and toes were quite the challenge. I personally had a difficult time stretching her because the resistance her body was having, but also because I could see an occasional tear fall from her left eye. I can imagine I had occasionally put her through great pain. That was very challenging for me but I still enjoyed the opportunity to work with this gorgeous eyed girl with the longest eyelashes I have ever seen. 
Then we took a break for lunch, returning after to work with the special needs children. This experience especially touched my heart. At this time I was able to work with a beautiful girl named Amanda. Man, was she fantastic. I have never seen a smile so big and a laugh so beautiful. Amanda had two conditions, one was smooth brain and the other one’s name escapes me. But her therapy consisted of stretching (similar to the things I had just explained in the previous paragraph), grasping toys in front of her, and some back exercises. During these things she would frequently she would show her big and beautiful smile and it was the most amazing thing to me. As soon as I showed her a smile back she would feed off of it and bust out laughing. She is a truly special girl and someone who had spoke to my heart, all without even speaking a word. Experiences like these are why we came to Casa de Fe. And it is through this experiences that we all will come back with a new perspective on life.

Morgan

"I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, 'Give me a light, Give me a Light, Give me a Light that I may tread safely into the unknown.' The man who stood at the gate of the year said, ‘ put your hand into the hand of God, He is better than a light and truer than a known way.’” ~ Anonymous

Making Cement

At Casa De Fe on Monday we had our first day working outside with the Maestros, Jaime and Hernan. We had many small tasks to complete at the home. One of the tasks we had to complete was due to the heavy rainfall that happened on Monday. The storm had washed three trunks into the stream that ran through the property. The trunks had gotten stuck next to the bridge that crossed the stream and had caused a barrier for the water movement. A few of our team members and Jaime had to get those trunks out of the stream and bring them up the hill to the brush pile. While that group was working at the stream, another group was moving a pile of large tires from outside the Maestros work shed to the edge of the rainforest. They had to do this so the area would be clean and we could reach the fish ponds later in the day. The remainder of our group was inside Casa De Fe working with the children. They helped with physical therapy for some of the children and made necklaces and played games with the children. During the morning it rained on and off making for very muddy work outdoors. We walked to Alexander’s for lunch after our morning work was done. In the afternoon, the outdoor group mainly worked with the fish pond. We are trying to restore the fish pond so Casa can grow their fish. They had built the ponds about 5 years ago but the fish kept dying or getting stolen, so they ended up draining it. We cemented the remaining posts for the fence around the ponds in the ground. We had to make our own cement, which is what is being done in the picture. While some of our group was working on the posts, others were cleaning out the ponds. They had to peel the fish nets off of the sides of the ponds and pull weeds from in between the rocks. Many new types of insects and worms were seen while working inside the ponds. Once we were done with our work outside, we got to go and play with the kids for about 15 minutes until we left. For dinner we went to Johnny’s with a missionary family. Of course, after dinner we had ice cream after a walk in the park.

"In the beginning of a change, the PATRIOT is a scarce man, and brave and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it cost nothing to be a PATRIOT.” ~ Mark Twain 1904

Happy Mother's Day!

Mary Margaret, Happy Mother’s Day Mama!!!! Hope your day was lovely even though you were missing two children. Ecuador has been super fun so far. Miss you bunches, like rose bunches. hehe. I love you!!! Amelia Leigh

Mom and Momsie, Happy Mother’s day! I’m not sure you are going to see this, but, I miss you both! I will come home with all of my limbs attached and no extra children. Love you, Alex

Mamasita Jeanne, Happy Mother’s Day Mom!! I hope you and grandma had a wonderful mother’s day and day shopping. I miss you already and I love you so much! Thank you so much for everything you do for me, I wouldn’t be where I am today in life without you. Love you bunches, Megan

Mom(Carolyn) Happy Mother’s Day!! I hope your day was fantastic. Thank you for all that you do for me. Love and miss you tons! Good Luck with everything tomorrow I wish I could be there! Say hi to Dad for me…McEwan can wait haha Love you so much, Kelsie

Momma Gail, Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you had an amazing day and I am so sorry I cannot spend it with you! I miss you guys very much and hope all is well. Everything is going great here and I am excited to share it all with you guys. Again have a great day and I will make it up to you when I get back! Love you much, Morgy

Momma RaNae, Happy Mother’s Day to the most beautiful lady I know! I’m sure you are so relieved to know I am alive :) I wish I could have spent the day with you, but I hope you spent some time relaxing. Thank you for always being a constant supporter of mine, because I would not be where I am today without you! Can’t wait to see you! Love you momma, Marlee

Mamma Carla, Happy Mother’s Day!!! I wanted to say a quick thank you for everything you have done! I would not be the person I am today without you! Hope you had a great day, even though both of your children were gone. Wish G-ma a happy mother’s day for me too! Love you and miss you, Kaya

Momma Renee, Happy Mother’s Day and Happy belated birthday! I want to say thank you for all of the love and support you’ve given me and Jake and Tate. I would not be where I am today without you. Tell Grandma happy mother’s day from me too. I hope you are having a fabulous, relaxing weekend. I am having a fabulous time in Ecuador; I already have so many stories but I miss you already! Love you more, Karli

Cheryl and Maureen A very happy Mother’s day. Maureen, thank you for two wonderful daughters. Cheryl, a very happy day and hope Wyatt and Cassidy are as awesome as you and Erin.

Mummsy, I hope you had a great Mother’s Day. Sorry I couldn’t be there to celebrate with you. Dorian and I are lucky to have you as a mother. Also, you have an awesome son. Am I right? Nick and Erin

"Happiness is only real when shared." ~ Into the Wild

Sunday in Shell

First of all, we would like to say Happy Mother’s Day to all of our beautiful mothers! We are all happy and healthy and enjoying our time in Shell.

Today was a day filled with fun and faith. In the morning we brought the children from Casa de Fe to the pool. I think we had just as much fun as they did! In the afternoon we met one of the local missionary families for lunch (this is where the photo was taken). The food was absolutely delicious and reminded me of home! Following lunch we headed up the hill to Casa de Fe for church. It was a blast to sing and dance with the children.

We look forward to the week ahead, where God will put us to work using our hands!

Marlee

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." ~ Helen Keller

Four Square at Casa Gabriel

On our first day in Quito we stopped by at Casa Gabriel, and Casa Adalia. Casa Gabriel is a home for boys who previously had been living on the street. This home gives the boys better opportunities for education and overall having a more successful life. At Casa Gabriel we met with some of the boys and listened to their testimonies. After learning a little about the program one of the boy’s mother made us lunch. We toured the house, played some four square, and met the house dog.

After Casa Gabriel we went to visit Casa Adalia. Casa Adalia is a home for girls who have escaped trafficking. Here, we met with some of the girls, and learned about the life they live there. We helped with some yard work and also helped some of the girls make fried plantains and hot chocolate.

The programs at Casa Gabriel and Casa Adalia are so incredible. They allow second chances to people who otherwise may not have received them. This day was an amazing start to our mission trip. We look forward to seeing what else is to come.

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world, for indeed, that is all that ever did.” ~ Anonymous