Wednesday, 30 November 2011


When I came home this evening and walked in my room, I heard nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just total silence. It was really strange. It is never silent here. There are always dogs barking, noise from the stadium nearby, cars racing down the road, alarms going off etc. etc. Although it doesn’t really bother me as I just tend to filter out all those noises, the silence was such a stark contrast to what life is normally like. It made me want to just sit, for a minute to take in the stillness. I never do that and actually, I didn’t. I carried on with pottering about. I love it. I always have something to do. Making something for someone, writing an email, sorting things for school etc. I try to just “be” but I find it really difficult. I have made myself a note that sits on my bedside table that reminds me to “be” rather than “do”. To take a photo of it, I had to sift through all the other bits of papers, books and lists that were on top of it to try and find it. I think I will move it to be at the top of my “to-do” list!

All in all, today has been a pretty good day

I love the fact that a day here will NEVER go as planned. Something will happen that is unexpected. At times it can be frustrated especially when you don’t achieve all you planned to do but other days, the surprises throughout the day make the day really good!

Today, Tuesday, as I write this thinking back upon the day, has been really good. As my swimming lessons have been permanently cancelled (very sad face) I have taken up jogging in the mornings, around the park near my house. I am not a fan of jogging. My legs hate it and I don’t like anything about it, but I do feel a whole load better afterwards. So after breakfast, I started work in the special school. Whislt thinking about what therapy I would do with the children that day, all of a sudden the teacher/director of the school fainted. I then had to try and pre-occupy the older class of children. We played a number matching game, one that was donated by friends in England and the children loved it. We must have played it for nearly an hour! Although it was hard work keeping the children focused some of the time, i enjoyed that time with that class. Afterwards we then went to break and we have introduced some role play activities into the break time and the children really enjoy it. A couple of them pretend to own a shop and the rest of us buy things. It is so great for communication between the group. The rest of the morning we completed Christmas activities (it still feels so weird preparing for Christmas as each day gets hotter and hotter, rather than colder and colder like in the UK).

I had lunch in town and happend to meet a lady there who I work with in a children’s group in Orphaids. It made me realise that I really love bumping into people that I know here and it makes me feel more at home.

Afterwards, I walked to the Baptist church school and waited for the children to turn up for their therapy, and the 2 children didn’t, which was annoying but I felt I used the time productively. I studied a few bible passages in Mark and was reminded of how amazing Jesus’ miracles were. I then met 2 friends for a drink, bought a secret Santa present, walked home and got ready for an exercise class. It was brutal. It is a mix of aerobics and dancing. I obviously stuck out like a sore thumb, being so tall and white and then increasingly glowing red as the class progressed. The Ecuadorians seem to have this inbuilt ability to dance well, right from birth it seems. The English don’t seem to have it so much! So after that I came home tired but feeling like it had been a good day!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Are you living the dream?

I was thinking of this question as I walked to school on Tuesday afternoon this week. I wondered how I would answer the question? I walked to school in the sun, wearing shorts and flip flops. I love it. No long dark winter mornings, driving to work in the dark. No dark cold winter evenings, driving home in the dark.

I am here and I think I am partly living the dream. There are some things that make the dream incomplete. I have lots of unachievable dreams, things I would like to see happen in the World, things I would like to be part of, help set up, help improve the lives of so many children and families. I am not doing most of those things, however, I am here, working with some very poor and fairly needy children and I love it.

(I had a real breakthrough with one of the children in Laura Flores this week. She paid attention for so much of the session and I was so proud of her, when before I just couldn’t seem to support her to concentrate on anything, let alone take turns.)   

I have a friend who trying to live her dream, she is almost there! She dreams of being famous, of millions of people listening to her music, of being signed up by a record label and making it big. She has fought hard to get where she is today and she is living the dream…making music. I admire her for her determination to keep going, perusing her dreams, even when it has been hard work.

Today as I came home from working in Orphaids, the sun was setting. The banana trees in the foreground were silhouettes as the sun set. It was beautiful. I left feeling content and that yes.. I think I am partly living the dream.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Upon reflection

Upon reflection, today has been a really good day. Despite it being Monday and the first proper day back at work after the holidays, it hasn’t been as bad as I had thought. I woke up to the sun shining in Santo- such a rare sighting but it was so nice to wake up to the sun. I put on my shorts, school t shirt and flip flops and began my day. That’s certainly not a usual start to my day in England, especially as it is the end of November! I love it. The children seemed to work really well hard today and I felt really proud of them. One boy who normally is quite stubborn in his attitude and work and not affectionate at all, had a really great day. I was asked to do some Christmas singing with the older class for the last part of the morning. I just smiled so much and said “yeh that’s fine” and all the time wondering what on earth I would do, not knowing any Christmas songs in Spanish. Still, the children were great. They loved listening to the same song over and over again, joining in with the chorus and then making Christmas decorations, helping each other out. The children in the Baptist church school loved the monkey tree game, which was donated to me from England, so I think they had a fun afternoon! So, the sun is setting and it will be dark by 6:30, as it always is and I can know that I have had a blessed and enjoyable day, working with the children.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Prayer changes things

Sunday 20.11.11

Today I watched a DVD made by CMS, the organisation that I am linked with in the UK. It was an interview with one of the Chilean miners, Jose Henriquez who was rescued in 2010. It was amazing to hear something of his story, especially how many answers to prayers he saw (mainly being rescued!) Whilst trapped in the mine, Jose began to tell people about his faith in God, pray for the others and teach them about what the bible had to say in their lives. Through this one man, being open and honest, many of the miners became Christians. The DVD was really uplifting and made me realise again how big and powerful God is. It reminded me that I am part of something bigger than just me and my life, that God can do amazing things through normal people. This weekend I felt a bit down, wondering if I was wasting my time here. I know that I am not going to change the World but I would like to think that I was making some sort of difference, however small. This afternoon I visited a place that is just a completely different world to what I am used to. I went to Laura Flores and joined a march with other young people from church. The march was a campaign against sexual abuse on children. We handed out leaflets which made people aware of what sexual abuse is and who they can go to for help. An astonishing 21.4% of children and teenagers in Ecuador have suffered sexual abuse. It was really shocking. I felt privileged to be part of something that can make a difference. At the end I sat down on a rock and looked around me; looking at all the rubbish on the floor, the filthy, dusty dirt road, the houses made of concrete blocks or wood/bamboo and the tin roofs. Many people have their Christmas trees up and their houses decorated. I wonder what their Christmas will be like. I just can’t believe that right here, in this place, statistically over 20% of the children in this place would have suffered sexual abuse and have to live in such basic conditions. By faith, I know that prayer changes things but in these dreadful conditions, sometimes it is hard to see any way out for these children and I certainly don't know what I can do to help.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Hows your Spanish?

This is a question that I get asked a lot by my friends and family in England. My Spanish could be a lot better if I really studied more and more every day. I feel I have hit a point where my understanding is a lot higher than the amount I can say and gets a bit frustrating at times. I know what I want to say but can’t get it out. I can understand more about what it is like for the children I work with, who have difficulties with their talking. Last night I watched a documentary on stammering and the frustrations the children had. They knew exactly what they wanted to say but the words just couldn’t come out.

I know my Spanish is pretty childlike and often does not make sense, but the other week I was asked to give a very short presentation in church about England/Christianity and other religions. I managed to do it which I never could have imagined doing this time 6 months ago.

Thursday, 17 November 2011



If you donated anything via my parents, to the work of the charity, then THANKYOU! Everything was so gratefully received. Whether you donated money, clothes, chocolate, DVDs, balloons, toys or sent a little note, it was all so kind and generous. Thank you


Yesterday, Victoria and I went horse riding. As always it was a real Ecuadorian adventure. One of many that we seem to find ourselves on! Always has some part in it that we embarrass ourselves but I think we have both become so used to that it barely bothers us. So we went horse riding, both of us with little experience and set off through a little town with every Ecuadorian person staring at us as we held on for dear life. We set off for the beach and rode for about 2 hours along the sea line. It was so beautiful. It wasn’t a particularly sunny afternoon but it was warm. The waves of the sea were big and powerful, the pelican birds were flying and diving in and out of the sea for fish, the horse owners dogs were running alongside with us, playing in the sand. It was just us and nature. No noises of cars, traffic, no “to do” lists to be completed, no chores, no children to work with, just horse riding along the Ecuadorian sandy beach looking out across the Pacific Ocean.

Searching for blessings


I recently wrote on my blog about feeling blessed and how it is easy to say that on a good day. Well today hasn’t been the best day ever and I am trying to say that I am blessed, even despite today.

Today, with my parents, we visited some of the work that I have been involved in.

Blessing No. 1 My parents are here.

We visited the special school and the PEPE classes (Classes for pre-school children in Laura Flores) and in both places the kids LOVED my parents. They loved these tall white giants and it brought me joy to see that, so that’s blessing No. 2.

We were able to buy some UNO cards and some sweets and took them to Orphaids to visit the charity and the children there. The children loved my parents there too and were so excited to play UNO with them (blessing No. 3)

The gifts were bought with a bit of donated money that I was given. Even though it was only a very small gift, the kids loved it (blessing No. 4)

One girl loved chatting to my mum and she could practise her English with her.

After that we took a trip to the post office (no post) and had some cake (blessing No. 5)

In the evening I headed for a swim which I was really looking forward to but found out that the evening classes are going to be suspended. I was so devastated. Swimming is my “time out” time from the chaotic Santo Domingo life. Life is so busy with thinking and talking in Spanish, living and working in another culture and having to adopt new customs and routines, following the culture here and being careful not to offend anyone. It is really tiring and difficult. Can’t seem to find a blessing in that and now I’m sat listening to some music my friend has made and it makes me miss them so I am struggling to find a blessing there! I guess I am privileged to know them, so that’s blessing No. 5.

It has been such an up and down day and I feel very tired but looking back, I can see my day has been full of blessings. Some days you just need to look harder for the blessings than others.

Pipe dreams

Pipe Dreams

I just love having long conversations with people, getting past the casual chit chat and really down to deeper, real life things. I love dreaming about what could be and where. Today I chatted with a friend and we chatted about setting up some therapy services in one of the most beautiful places here in Ecuador. We had ideas, what kind of people it would be for, what kind of therapy we could offer, who else would want to work with us etc etc. My mind went into over drive as I thought more and more about it. For the children with special needs that I would work with, they could come for some respite or therapy. The location would be amazing; it is just outside the capital city so would be a welcome break for the busy city families. The children would have the rivers to explore, the colours and stimulation of the amazing butterflies and birds, the tranquil setting amongst the trees/forest, the smells, textures, sights and colours to stimulate the senses and the safety of a small town.

Of course it would never happen. The money for starters is not there and most of the dreams I have are impractical. It’s just a dream, but an amazing one at that!



Today I am feeling a little fragile. It is definitely one of those days that I have been close to tears the whole day. The kind of day when you know someone is going to be the one to make you cry (and you kind of feel a bit sorry for them being the one that you cry on!)

 My parents left this morning. After a really amazing and memorable few weeks with them, they left, to head home and I won’t see them for several months now. It was a great privilege to have them here and to introduce them to people that I know here. I was proud that they were willing to come here. My mum, in her generosity, kindly shared her cold with my Dad and I. It is the kind of cold that blocks your ears so none of us have been able to hear anything for the past 24 hours! 

So after leaving them, I then got on a really busy bus and had my bag slashed open and my phone stolen. I didn’t realise at the time but once I did find out I realised how blessed I was that they only took my phone as I had my purse, camera and ID card in the bag too. Once I realised what had happened, I was sat on my last bus home and then just ended up crying. I totally freaked out the man sat next to me. Firstly, it is not every day that he sits on the bus next to a white girl and especially not a crying one at that! He was really sweet and kept telling me to stop crying and when we stopped to pick up more people he went and got me some tissues. He was a real blessing, trying to keep talking to me, to stop me thinking of my parents. I would have looked forward to going home and having a swim this evening however, the manager of the pool has decided to stop the adult evening swimming lessons, permanently. I’m gutted.

So, I eventually made it home and went out for lunch with the mum of the family I live with. Here in Ecuador the set lunch always comes with a drink and today it was Mora (like a blackberry). My favourite! Just a little blessing to finish the day!

Amazing Experiences

I have seen some once in a lifetime things since being here on holiday with my parents. There are so many experiences which I want to share, but here is just a glimpse into our holiday.

-          Sitting outside for breakfast, whilst watching hummingbirds feeding and that is was so quiet I could hear their wings humming

-          Going to sleep and waking up to the noise of the sea

-          Seeing turtles swimming next to the boat I was in

-          Snorkelling in clear turquoise blue sea with sun rays streaking through the water whilst swimming with multi-coloured tropical fish, swimming above the coral sea bed

-          Sleeping in the top part of a wooden cabin with lots of windows, feeling like I was sleeping under the stars, surrounded by beautiful trees

-          Going up in a cable car nearly to the highest part of Quito to look out upon the whole of the Capital City of Ecuador, looking out with my parents and a good friend with me.

-          Sat in a beach hammock watching the waves wash in, with pelicans flying over the waves.

-          Climbing Cotopaxi in the snow (but  not even seeing it)

-          Watching my parents play with bubbles in the water museum!

-          Standing on the Equator line

-          Horse riding along the beach

-          Going bird watching at 4:30 in the morning (eating breakfast whilst waiting for the birds)

-          Completely disrupting 2 classes of 4 year old children in Laura Flores and the children being so excited to seeing my Mum and Dad

-          Dragging Dad around every market in Ecuador whilst he stood and waited and kept asking “have you got all you need now!?”

        Watching blue footed boobies and their chicks


Sitting next to a 16 year boy on a bus whilst he looked after his 1 week old orphaned parrot in a box

-          Watching the sun set over Quito on my parents last night in Ecuador

-          Taking a taxi half an hour to go to a cash machine to find that it didn’t work and having to beg and borrow money

-          Watching Dad’s amazement as he discovered all the different ways a banana can be cooked!

Saturday, 5 November 2011


I was recently asked to share 4 things abut my week:

1. Something that has been good
2. Something that has been bad
3. Something that is an answer to prayer
4. Something to pray about.

I enjoyed thinking about these 4 things and wanted to share them.

1. The good thing is that my parents have arrived here safely. After a long journey over they arrived and had with them extra luggage FULL of many blessings. People donated clothes, toys, chocolate, presents etc for the children and adults that i work with. It was so kind and i was amazed and the generosity. It felt like Christmas to recieve things. Although most of it was not for me, it felt like it was for me as it blesses me to give it away. I also feel blessed because i recieved loads of encouragements. Most days i am here it is great to be working here. However, often some days are really hard work. I send out my newsletters and don't hear much back and it can feel like you are a bit forgotton. However, the amount of encouragements i have recieved through my parents passing on messages and kind words has been so over whelming. So thank you for your thoughts, prayers and kind words.

2. Something that has been bad was that i went with my parents to see a well known Volcano called cotapaxi. Everyone goes to visit it when they come over and you hope for a sunny day when you can take your photo infront of the beautiful volcano. It is picture perfect. However, we went on the cloudiest day possible so didn't not get that photo! (still we did make it up to 4810 metres!)

3. An answer to prayer is that we have been safe when travelling around.

4. A prayer request would be for energy when travelling, translating and organsing the rest of my parents stay here.

I am very blessed. It is easy to say that when i am having a good day. I hope that i will be able to say that even when i am having a bad day.