Wednesday, 28 March 2012


I was asked last week by a teenage American girl if I was from Ecuador and just spoke really good English! It really made me laugh, thinking about how un-Ecuadorian I look!

Do I look Ecuadorian!?

Stop. Reflect

I have kept myself busy today and now that it is quiet, I can reflect on today.

Today was a great morning, explaining some of my Speech and Language Therapy resources to the teachers in the school. It was great to again, impart some of what I know and have learnt in the UK, to others who don’t know. It is part of why I came here. Following this we had a great time of conversation and laughing and joking together. I really liked the fact that I could now understand conversations and have enough Spanish to join in.

2 of the younger children washing each others feet

Can you guess who won the game!?
After a quick stop for lunch, I went back out, to Orphaids. This week I am helping at an afternoon club. The kids love it; games, stories, craft etc. They are all so excited and it is infectious. Tiring, but good! We are working through the story of Jesus, leading up to his death and resurrection; the Easter story. Today we washed each other’s feet and thought about the last supper Jesus shared with his friends.
Banner that was made the first day

Now, in a time of quiet, I can really think about my friends and family at home. The struggles that they are going through. The challenges life presents to them. It seems like daily news that another person has cancer or illnesses. Treatments that have been tried, Surgeries undertaken, Doctor’s reports that no more medical treatment can be offered. People struggling, new illnesses occurring, broken ankles, flooded kitchens, and struggles at work. Life is not easy. It is not easy for people here in Ecuador. Equally, it is not easy in England either.
I left my work this morning, with a real sense of wondering why I am leaving at the end of April. I so want to stay longer working in this school; working with the teachers, working together to help these children have a better life. Now at the end of the day, I wonder if some of why I need to go home is to support a few people? Just being with people, visiting people, drinking tea, chatting about life, asking questions, encouraging, supporting and just being there. I guess it doesn’t matter where you are, you can be an encouragement? 

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Easter chicks

Very cute and fluffy
 I came back to the house today for lunch. As I entered, a small cardboard box was thrust into my hands. I immediately became suspicious of this box with air holes, tied up with string. My suspicions were correct. It was something alive. As I opened it up, out popped a little beak and tiny soft yellow feathers. There sat 6 little chicks chirping away at me! The Dad of the family I live with has been buying chicks and now has 17. They are all growing nicely and enjoying a very great life in a lovely little garden. I won’t go into details of what will happen to them when they are big, strong and juicy 6 week old chickens. For now, they are having a great “free range” life!
The 5 day old chicks

Monday, 26 March 2012

It is never what you expect

This country never ceases to fascinate and amaze me. I wake up each day with some idea of what I might be doing that day. However, each day is far more unexpected or interesting than I could ever imagine. Sunday was a full day.

I went to the Baptist church for the 8:30 service. It was really good to chat with a few people about the beach camp that I went on with the youth from the church. After that I went to a different church. The family I live with go to a different church so I went to see what their church was like. It was a constant joke throughout the day of how spiritual I was, going to 2 services! We then ended up having nice meal of pork, potatoes, mote, salad and a whole load of other stuff that was yummy. When I say pork, I 100% knew it was pork (sometimes you are never sure what meat it is, or what part of the animal it is, but you eat it anyway). I know this because very often they take a whole pig and cook it on the side of the road. The lady then cuts off some of the best bits for you. Delicious!

So following this I visited my boss to make she was ok as she had hurt her back. We ended up chatting the whole afternoon which was really nice. I returned home to find the girls in the family heading out for a walk and so I joined them. We got no further than the entrance to the community we live in, and then it started raining. When it rains in Santo Domingo you have to find shelter immediately or you get soaked. We waited for the rain to pass, in a closed restaurant that belongs to their friends.

We then set off on this walk to visit some “sick people”. Who knows what that meant but I presumed we would visit a family friend in their home. We walked for miles and eventually got to a clinic in the middle of town. As we went up to the waiting room we were greeted by loads of people who were also visiting. It is very much part of the culture here to visit the sick. The more the merrier! As I went in to the clinic room there were 2 guys there, in their twenties. One with a broken arm, the other with a broken leg, both with neck braces and drips in their arms. I knew one of the boys from when we went to the swimming pool for Carnival. They had had a really serious car crash, totally wrecking their new car. After they had had their accident and were rushed to hospital they realised that all of their identifications, mobile phones and money had been stolen from the car. Apparently when people find out there has been a crash, people go to see what they can steal. Shocking. From the photo of the car, they were very fortunate to be alive.

So I returned home physically and emotionally tired. It had been a good day. It had been a very unexpected day. I continually learn new things here. I love the unexpectedness of each day here. I wonder what tomorrow will bring!?

11 down, 1 to go

After my first month of being here, someone reassured my Mum saying “1 month down, only 11 to go until she is home!” Now I can say “11 down only 1 month to go”. Crazy!
Writing this brings such mixed emotions. I am so excited to see my family again and live near them. I can’t wait to travel around the UK and visit friends, drink lots of tea and chat with them, catching up on life with them. I can’t wait to see England again; the green Countryside and beautiful coastline.
However, I am sad to move on from this beautiful Country. So many people here who now have a place in my heart. A sadness of knowing I may never see them again. A worry about what life may hold for them, as they live in such uncertainty, looking for a good education or a stable job.
But underlying all these emotions is a deep sense of peace. I know that God has good things in store, for people here in Ecuador and for the next stage of my life in England.
I am not worried about where I will live or work or exactly what I will do.

I am excited to fully enjoy this last month here.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Beach camp

Last week I was invited to a beach camp for the youth from Santo Domingo. The camp was run by a group of Americans from Oklahoma. There was a big group of us from Santo Domingo and 2 other churches in the South of Ecuador. The week was amazing. Right on the edge of a stunning beach. Personally for me, being a bit older than the rest of the youth, I had different experiences to them. However it was so good for everyone. The Ecuadorians learnt loads about God and learnt from the Americans. The Americans, coming from a completely different background, learnt from the Ecuadorians.
For me, it was a chance to go to a new place, meet new people, get to know the Ecuadorian youth better and chill out in a beautiful setting. I loved the conversations I had and was challenged by the talks I heard and challenged to put my Spanish/English translation skills to the test infront of groups of people.
I think what I experienced the most was how amazingly powerful God is. I think I learnt a bit more about my place in life. To realise that I am not in control but I can trust in this big God. The beach we were at had a very dangerous current and the waves were really strong. We had to be careful. Even as a confident swimmer I knew the waves could still pull me out. But still, I think I enjoyed myself most in the sea, especially as the sun was setting. To experience such beauty of the sea and to cool off in the water and have fun with friends here....a good week. Back to Santo Domingo and the reality of work now!   

The beach at sunset

Playing games

So close to the beach!

Swimming in the sea at sunset

A walk to the next town along


Our walk to Montanita, the next town along
Another beautiful sunset!

Group photo

Tuesday, 20 March 2012


The World is a pretty beautiful place. Creation is amazing.
I have come to realise that more and more

Monday, 19 March 2012

I don't want to make you feel guilty but I do want to make you feel

The more I learn, the more stories I hear, the more people I get to know, the more I see poverty everywhere I turn, I realise the World is a messed up place. I could recount stories that would make you cry, would make you feel sick or make you speechless. Stories of people I have met here who have lived such hard lives. I can’t explain why they have had to live in such suffering and poverty. I read a blog entry today that summed up some of why I am here. Below are some extracts from the blog. (To read it all click here)

“We cannot imagine a better world without acting. We cannot merely dream of the solution; we must be the solution. I believe in hope — that there is purpose to pain and reason for suffering.

No, I do not think we can understand or explain away the tragedies in our lives.

But I believe that even these things shall pass. I believe in Something More.

And this hope motivates my art and compels me to act.

It invites me to not turn a blind eye to the pain the world, but to usher in the promise of a better future now. To announce a season of life and hope where death and despair once reigned.

We have a responsibility

To open our mouths. To move, to speak, to act.

It begins now. People are waiting. To find hope and experience life to the full. Maybe for the first time.

I don’t know what this means for you. But I hope it means that you’ll think twice before turning on the television tonight and slipping into a coma of self-indulgence.

I don’t want to make anyone feel guilty, but I do want to make you feel.”

His phrase “I don’t want to make anyone feel guilty, but I do want to make you feel“ sums up some of my journey here. I want to share what I am learning, seeing and feeling. I want you to realise how much you have, or realise that you are not alone in your sufferings. I want you to see something of a completely different culture and country through what I share with you. Maybe it will make you realise there is a bigger World out there to just all that you know and see. I don’t want to make you feel guilty. That is not a healthy feeling. I just want to make you feel. As a result maybe you might feel lead to working abroad, or giving a bit of money to the work of a charity or supporting the charity in Ecuador with children with disabilities or helping the abused women. Maybe you want to pray. “We have a responsibility. To open our mouths. To move, to speak, to act.”

Were the last 2 weeks a dream!?

A trip to the Jungle
I don’t know if you have ever woken up and wondered if you were still in your dream or reality? The last 2 weeks I had 2 friends come and visit me. It was crazy! We had such a funny 2 weeks together that now I am sat back in Santo Domingo, living my “normal” life, the past 2 weeks don’t feel like they really happened!. To be honest, just before my friends arrived I felt really guilty for taking the time off to spend with them. I worried about what people would think me having some more “holiday time”. I didn’t come here to “travel” but came to work with the children and get to know the culture. Almost immediately after spending a short time with my friends did I realise what a blessing they are to me and maybe some of the reasons why they came. I hadn’t realised how nice it was to spend real quality time with people who knew me well. Even though I have some great new friends and a sense of family here, it isn’t quite the same as those good friends who pretty know you inside out and who have travelled large parts of their lives with you. The time with these great girls was full of laughs. There were a couple of times where I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. 

On a trip down an Amazonian river, in a canoe in monsoon rain.
Possibly the funniest moment of the trip

I was constantly reminded of the verse in the bible that instructs us to “live life to the full” (John 10v10). The time gave me space to relax, switch off from “normal” life here and have some quiet time. I always wanted my time here to not only impact/change my life but also others too. I think my friends learnt lots and were challenged in new ways too. They learnt more about this culture and definately had many new experiences. I have realised how much I have got used to the Ecuadorian culture here and the past 2 weeks has increased my desire to make the most of my last 6 weeks here. I realised how much a blessing friends can be. In my quiet times, I didn’t have a flash of inspiration about what I should do when I return to England. To be honest I am not worried about it. I came here knowing I should be here for this year. I will return certain that I should be in England definitely for the next few months and just wait and see what the next step should be after that.

The Equator line

Hot chocolate and cheese.
Only in Ecuador!

Another new experience... guinea pig

Maracuya fruit.

A beautiful view

You can teach crafts in any language

One of my friends who came to visit me is a very talented lady. With a wealth of knowledge on all things art, crafts and textiles, and experience of leading workshops, she gave a workshop to the women in Laura Flores. Being Laura Flores of course you never know what to expect. How many women, how many kids, would they be interested, would it be too easy/difficult? Despite not knowing any answers to the questions, the workshop was a big success.

Sewing/craft workshop with women, children and stray dogs!
My friend had brought lots of ideas of things the women could make and sell to make some money. She explained in English how to do each bit, I translated, the best I could and then a wonderful Ecuadorian lady re-explained everything in good Spanish. I can communicate with people but don’t know words for sew, stitch, stitch this edge with loose stitches, fold this over etc. To make matters worse I kept forgetting the verb “to sew” and confused it with the verb “to cook” so totally baffled the women. They loved my friend though and she demonstrated everything to each women, giving them the time and encouragement they needed. They loved it. I felt very proud of my friends to come and meet and serve the women of Laura Flores.
Teaching the women how to make ribbon roses

Some finished flowers

Sunday, 18 March 2012


Today is Mother’s Day. I have a great Mum. She is a great blessing to me. I know I am very privileged to have a supportive mum, and in particular, one who is so kind, caring and patient. I think she is pretty unique!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


A poem I recieved today:

"There was a reason nothing could keep her down.

Clearly her heart was filled with hope.

Your heart is beautiful and our God is faithful.

I can’t wait to see his best for you come true

The God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing" (Romans 15v13)


Want to hear a bit more about what I do here in Ecuador? Press HERE to listen to an interview